FAQ's / Terms & Conditions

Please see our most Frequently Asked Questions and Terms & Conditions below. If we’ve missed your question, want more information, or just want to speak to someone from our team, you can email us at [email protected] or call us on (03) 7018 2302

What kind of tours do we offer?

We offer a variety of wildlife watching, photography and nature tours across Victoria, Australia and overseas. Some of our most popular trips include birding, mammal watching, spotlighting, wildlife photography weekends, photography classes/courses, and extended wildlife watching tours. We also have a variety of exclusive events such as pelagic seabird/whale watching tours, birdwatching for beginner workshops, photography classes at the zoo, fungi and orchid tours, and more. For a full list of our current tour options, please visit our Tours Page.

Can I customise a tour? Or organise my own custom event?

Absolutely! A high percentage of Treeswift Wildlife & Nature bookings are custom events. If you have a tour or target species/location in mind, we can help you arrange it. Whether you want to tweak one of our existing options or have a particularly niche set of preferences, we are more than happy to help you out. Some of our most regular custom requests include specific sets of species (eg. missing species from a life list, or targets from a number of different areas), budget requirements, physical preferences and/or disability needs, group numbers, and lots more. To speak with a Tour Consultant, call us on (03) 7018 2302 or email us at [email protected]

How many people are there on a Treeswift Wildlife Tour?

We specialise in running small groups and private tours so that our guides may best serve the needs of our guests, whilst also offering minimal disturbance to the wildlife and habitats we are visiting. All of our Wildlife Photography Weekends, Extended Wildlife Tours, Photography Days/Courses, and Multi-Day Events are capped at 4-10 people. Events such as our Pelagics, Birdwatching for Beginners, and various fundraisers have fluctuating availability and is best checked by visiting the specific tour pages.

For our private tours, we will happily accept bookings of all numbers and are equally happy to prepare itineraries for single participants or other numbers as required. Please note, more than 4x pp may require us to bring 2x guides/vehicles.

How physically demanding are Treeswift Wildlife tours?

We consider all of our experiences to be very accessible with only moderate walking required. Participants with good health and moderate fitness should be capable of attending all Treeswift Wildlife experiences. Some events demand more walking and time in the field than others, or may have specialist requirements such as walking along a beach, spending several hours in the field, walking at night, or wading in shallows. These will be mentioned on each tour page specifically, though can be clarified with the Treeswift Wildlife team by phone or email. Most importantly, we strive to give you the best encounters we can with the natural world, which sometimes means longer walks, time out at night, and other requirements.

For our private bookings, the trips can be as hardcore (or not!) as you would like. Want to start at 5.00am, then drive 2 hours, hike up a forest, cross a small river, and set up camp without reception? All for that one little endemic bird? No problem! Want to start after breakfast, go for an easy walk along the beach, have an afternoon kip, and then enjoy some forest watching from the car? Also, no problem!

It should be noted that on out extended, ‘mega tours’, and more specialised wildlife encounter tours and events, we expect participants to be able to complete walks of several kilometres across variable terrain, and where necessary, accept weather conditions such as sunshine, rain, wind, cold and heat. Some destinations and species encounters require long periods of searching and not necessarily on paved tracks or may require early starts and late returns. If you have any concerns, it is worth clarifying with the Treeswift Wildlife team before making your booking.

What services do you get when you book with Treeswift Wildlife & Nature?

No matter what event or tour you have booked with us, you can be sure that you’re receiving quality service, comfortable conditions, expert guidance in the field, and a dedicated team committed to ensuring that all of your requests, needs, interests, and questions are always met. No large group mentalities here – all of our guests (and their interests) are equally important to us.

What do you get when you book with Treeswift Wildlife & Nature?

Besides a unique and unforgettable experience, we practice and encourage Wildlife Watching Ethics, contribute to various conservation organisations, and ensure that all of our guests are welcomed, treated with respect, kept safe in the field, and get the most out of their time with us. 

All of our events are a little bit different, however we usually offer the following inclusions: travel in a large SUV/4WD that is equipped with First Aid supplies, water, GPS tracking, and emergency equipment. Access to tea/coffee/snacks/water/soft drinks. Field equipment such as spotting scopes, tripods, spotlighting equipment (for nocturnal tours), checklists (in your chosen taxonomy), field guides live on the tour, access to eBird/iNaturalist lists and observations, and field items such as spare hats, rain jackets, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitiser, covid-19 masks, etc.

Camera & Binocular Hire:

For some events, Treeswift Wildlife & Nature may be able to offer hire of equipment such as a camera or pair of binoculars. This should be organised prior to the trip and is best organised via email.

Are your tours available in other languages?

One of our key ideas at Treeswift Wildlife & Nature is to make wildlife watching more accessible to the global community, and as such, we pride ourselves in having a large multi-lingual team. Currently, we can offer tours in English, Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt), Mandarin (中文), French (Français), German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), and Japanese (日本) though this will depend on tour location and guide availability. As default, our tours in Australia are conducted in English and Vietnamese when in Vietnam.

Don’t see your language above? Ask us about organising a specialist translator just for your tour!

Do we offer single supplement on your group tours?

The short answer is yes. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that your requirements are met. The single supplement is a premium charged to solo travellers when they do not share a room during the tour and is levied by the accommodation establishments. The single supplement cost will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation whilst on one of our group tours.

Would my non-wildlife watching spouse/family enjoy a Treeswift Tour?
 

Of course! Who doesn’t enjoy getting out in nature? More seriously, this is a common request and the best answer depends on your spouse/families interest and the kind of experience you are booking on. If you have specific questions, or want help designing a custom tour to suit you and your family/partner’s needs, contact us at [email protected]

Does a Treeswift Wildlife & Nature tour include non-wildlife watching activities such as sightseeing and local attractions?

This depends on the tour, but the short answer is yes. We will always try to stop and point out significant natural sites, historical landmarks, rare plants/wildlife, and unique sights to help enrich your experience whilst with us. On certain tours, landmarks/sightseeing is including in the itinerary, whereas private or smaller tours, these experiences may be incidental or upon the request of the guest.

Accommodation & Transport Summary:

All of our local & private tours are conducted in a modern and comfortable 4WD or SUV with a 5-star ANCAP car safety rating – fully equipped with field guides, emergency equipment, first aid, outdoor equipment, tea/coffee/snacks, and everything else you could possible need (or want) when out in the field.

For our extended or multi-day tours, we typically hire a modern transit vehicle (12-seater) or take 2x 4WD’s. This is tour dependant and is best clarified by speaking with our team.

When embarking on extended multi-day tours, accommodation options include (but may be limited due to season/location) – standard motel/hotel rooms, camping/caravan options, and more high-end luxury options. As above this will depend on the tour or guest requirements on private bookings.

What should you bring & wear on a Treeswift Wildlife & Nature tour?

We will send you a recommended list of clothing and/or equipment upon confirmation of your tour/event. These recommendations will be trip and season specific – for example, gumboots for frogging in wetlands, waterproof pants for whale-watching boat trips, spare batteries for photography classes, etc.

Typically, we recommend the following:

  • Light-weight and neutrally coloured clothing (bright whites/colours can frighten away animals) that will fully protect and covered your arms and legs. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will help protect you against sunburn, plants/long grass, insects, etc
  • Hiking boots, walking shoes (waterproof if possible)
  • Hat (preferably wide brim, cap’s don’t protect your neck in the sun)
  • Jumper/thermals for all nocturnal tours – even in summer it can get very cold at night!

Equipment, like clothing, can depend on the tour – though we typically recommend the following:

  • Binoculars & Spotting Scope
  • Camera (+ spare batteries/memories cards)
  • Backpack with water bottle/snacks
  • Chargers, etc

For more details, please check the tour/event specific pages or get in contact with us.

What is our Covid-19 Policy?

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature is committed to the highest safety practices and protection against Covid-19. In this, we follow the Covid-Safe initiatives as currently outlined by the Australian Government. Given the ever-changing landscape of Covid-19, the following information is subject to change, and should be checked by speaking directly to the Treeswift team prior to a trip departure.

Whilst you are no longer required to be vaccinated or wear a mask on our outdoor-only activities, we may encourage social distancing and refuse to guide you if you are displaying Covid-19 symptoms. At the time of writing, we still require all guests travelling in our vehicles or attending our extended/multi-day tours to be vaccinated against Covid-19. This is for the protection of both our other guests and our own staff.

What you need to know:

  • The entire team at Treeswift Wildlife & Nature is vaccinated against Covid-19
  • All equipment and vehicles are cleaned and disinfected before each tour
  • Guests will have access to hand sanitiser, gloves, and masks
  • Treeswift Wildlife & Nature may refuse to guide you if you are ill or showing any flu-like symptoms
  • Guest will be required to comply with all Covid-Safe requirements whilst on Treeswift Wildlife events
  • Guests may be required to provide proof of vaccinated prior to departure on extended/multi-day tours
  • Guests may be required to take Rapid Antigen Tests within 24hrs before multi-day or extended tours

What if I get Covid-19 just before or during my trip? (Extended/Multiday Tours)

From around 7 days after contracting COVID-19 you are generally considered “non-infectious”, so if you test positive after that time you may be able to obtain a Medical Exemption Letter from your GP to state that you are safe to travel. If you test positive during the tour you will be required to remain at the accommodation and comply with the relevant local health directions regarding self-isolating. Any costs will be at your own expense. For our extended/multi-day tours especially, we strongly recommend you purchase Travel Insurance to cover you for any unforeseen changes.

What if I get Covid-19 just before or during my trip? (Day Trips / Single Outings)

As above, from around 7 days after contracting COVID-19 you are generally considered “non-infectious”, so if you test positive after that time you may be able to obtain a Medical Exemption Letter from your GP to state that you are safe to attend one of our outdoor events.

However, if you are still infectious, COVID positive, or displaying symptoms just prior to your Treeswift Wildlife event you will not be able to attend. This is to ensure that we protect both our other guests and guiding team from infection, as is in line with our Covid-Safe Policy. On some occasions, we may be able to offer a transfer of date/event, however this is not always possible due to minimum number requirements at events, date & staff availability, and other company logistics.

A juvenile Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) from our Far North Queensland Wildlife Tour

A Grey-headed Flying Fox feeding her pup from our one of mammal watching tours. 

About Us:

Who are we?

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature is a wildlife watching and nature adventure organisation, committed to helping people connect with the natural world.

We specialise in world-class nature tours around Victoria, Australia, and Southeast Asia, offering a diverse variety of trips ranging from birding, mammal watching, spotlighting, photography courses, multi-day tours, extended wildlife watching tours, pelagic trips, and other unique nature experiences. We also feature guiding and customised tours to suit all your target needs.

Beyond touring, Treeswift also manages and partners with various conservation projects, coordinates education programs, and maintains this website, a resource for birders, mammal watchers, herpers, nature-lovers, and to all those who seek the wild!

Where are we based?

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature has a base of operations in both Melbourne, Australia and in Đà Nẵng, Vietnam. Currently, we offer tours Australia-wide, though most of our events are based in Melbourne, Victoria. For more information about our Vietnam branch, please contact us via email.

Our team:

The Treeswift Wildlife & Nature organisation is supported by a dedicated team of naturalists, guides, office staff, conservationists, and wildlife lovers from around the globe. We speak several languages, have travelled to over 40 countries, and together, aim to provide world-class nature tours, and create a more ecologically sound world through our efforts in conservation, education, and the promotion of Ethical Wildlife Watching. You can learn more about our team on our About Us page.

Our Safety Practices:

All of our guides have current First Aid and CPR training. First Aid equipment is carried on every tour.

How does Treeswift Wildlife & Nature contribute to conservation?

Directly, we support a number of local conservation efforts and make a monthly contribution to WWF Australia as part of the Partners in Purpose Program. In directly, all of our events teach and encourage conservation, Wildlife Watching Ethics, and help people to understand how they better contribute to protecting our planet.

Conservation Projects:

In the coming months, we will be launching ‘The Treeswift Rewilding & Conservation Foundation”, a charitable organisation dedicated to protecting the rapidly decreasing ecosystems of our planet. The foundation’s initial projects will be based in southern Vietnam and will concentrate on both protecting large areas of land to support critically endangered wildlife and flora, as well as rewilding ecosystems that have been previously harmed by agriculture and human development. For more information, please contact us at [email protected] and stay tuned for updates.

Want to learn more?

Visit our ‘About’ page for further details, or contact us at [email protected]

A group of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (Zanda funerea) enjoying lunch on our Great Ocean Road: Mega Animal Tour

Terms & Conditions:

How to make a booking with us?

  1. The easiest way to book with us is by following the prompts on the Tours Page and completing the Booking Form. Otherwise, you can email us at [email protected] or call us on (03) 7018 2302. Ensure you have read our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.
  2. You will receive an email from us confirming that we have received your reservation, further information on your tour/event, and details on how to make your payment or deposit.
  3. You will be required to make payment in order to confirm your date and position. Please note that your place or chosen date is not guaranteed until we received the correct deposit or payment and sent you a written confirmation. Because of this, it is in your best interest to book and pay early to avoid disappointment. Please always include your name in the Bank Transfer so that we may easily match your payment as this may hold up your confirmation.
  4. Depending on the tour/event you will receive either a text message, email reminder or both in the lead up to your event. Public events and general tours will receive a 1x week reminder email. Private events will receive a 2x day text message reminder. Multi-day/extended tours will receive a 6-month reminder email, a 1x month reminder email, and a 3x day text message confirmation.
  5. After your tour, you will receive a full summary of your experience including tour highlights, species, itinerary, and any relevant details.

Do you have a booking cut off period?

Bookings are welcome up to the last minute if there are vacancies available.

Are there minimum numbers required for our Extended Tours, Multi-day Tours, or Group Events?

Yes, but this is dependent on the tour and the specific details are outlined in your initial booking form. To date, Treeswift Wildlife have never not met the minimum numbers required to run an advertised event.

What happens if I can’t attend the dates listed for an event I want to do?

Please get in contact and we will advise you on other upcoming dates.

What happens if I need to change my dates for an event/tour I have already booked on?

We pride ourselves on being flexible and ultimately want to help you get out into the field. If you have booked on one of our Regular or Private Tours, we can usually help shift dates around to suit you. Of course this isn’t always possible, but the best way to sort it out is to contact our team as soon as possible – preferably by email so we have your request in writing.

If you have booked on one of our group or extended tours, dates unfortunately are not flexible and you may have to cancel your booking.

What happens if a group/extended tour I want is filled?

You will be added to our ‘Wait List’ and advised if there are any cancellations. Additionally, we will also record your interest and details, and contact you for the next available dates.

What is our Deposit & Payment Policy?

For most of our standard day tours, classes, and short events, full payment is required at the time of booking. Provisional bookings can be noted via telephone or email, but as stated above, must be followed up with a completed booking form and payment in order to confirm your place and/or dates.

For our extended, multi-day, and similar events, a 50% deposit will be required to secure your seat. Full payment is always required prior to departure.

For extended, multi-day, or similar tours/events, full payment is due 60-90 days before departure. For most standard tours, photography courses, private bookings, and similar events, full payment is 30-60 days before commencement. For short events and similar, full payment is ~30 days before the tour date. Relevant payment schedules will be outlined upon your reservation.

Making Your Payment:

Payment must be made by Bank Transfer to Treeswift Wildlife & Nature, the details of which will be included in your reservation email. We accept payment in Australian Dollars (for Australian and most international tours) or Vietnamese Dong (for Vietnam based tours). With payment, please include your name in the description so that we may easily locate your payment.

Cancellation Policy:

To cancel the booking, you must email us at [email protected]. Please include details of your booking to help us to identify it. Your cancellation is effective on the date you send us the email. It is important to note that verbal communications, text messages, and similar will not be viewed as an acceptable form of cancellation and that your email in writing will be still be required.  

If We Cancel the Tour:

If we make the decision to cancel a tour, then all payments will be refunded in full. It should be noted that Treeswift Wildlife & Nature reserve the right to cancel any tour or event due to weather, natural disaster, war, pandemic, and other events out of our control. It should be noted that an event is not considered cancelled until Treeswift Wildlife & Nature have made that decision in writing via email or text message correspondence. We will not be liable or responsible for any failure to perform, or delay in performance of, any of our obligations which is caused by any act or event beyond our reasonable control (Event Outside Our Control).

If an Event Outside Our Control takes place that affects the performance of our obligations:
(i) We will contact you as soon as reasonably possible to notify you; and
(ii) We will arrange a new date for the Tour with you after the Event Outside Our Control is over.

Please note that single outing events will be postponed rather than cancelled – please see below.

Event Postponement:

If the decision is made to postpone an event or tour due to poor weather, sickness, or other unforeseen circumstances, Treeswift Wildlife & Nature will contact all participants and offer either a new date(s), credit to a new event/tour, or a substitute into another event.

Refund Policy:

Depending on the date on which you notify us of your cancellation (and its proximity to departure), we may deduct a refund that corresponds to the tour that you have booked. See the details as follows:

All Extended, Multi-Day, Private and Other Tours that have a deposit payment option upon booking:

– More than 3 months prior to event: you are eligible for a 50% refund of your initial deposit, minus a $40 administration fee
– Between 2-3 months prior to event: you are not eligible for any refund
– Less than 1 month prior to event: full tour price is due and payable, even if you have yet to pay in full

All Other Tours, Events, Workshops, and Classes that are paid in full upon booking:

– More than 3 months prior to event: You are eligible for a 100% refund
– More than 2 months prior to departure: You are eligible for a 50% refund, minus a $40 administration fee
– Between 1-2 months prior to departure: You are not eligible for any refund
– Less than 1 month prior to departure: Full tour price is due and payable, even if you have yet to pay in full

Please note, there are no refunds on our Birdwatching For Beginners Workshops. In the event that you are no longer able to attend, we may be able to transfer you into a future session as long as you contact us at least 2 weeks prior the event date. 

No refunds will be considered for any unutilized services on the tour (this includes accommodation, meals, flights, permits, and tour excursions). If you wish to transfer your booking to another Treeswift tour, this will be considered as a cancellation and rebooking, and the cancellation policy will apply UNLESS a replacement is found for your original booking by you or us. We recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance for all of our extended tours and multi-day bookings, to cover any financial losses due to cancellation for whatever reason.

Participants will not be entitled for a refund on failing to see a target species whilst on a Treeswift Wildlife & Nature event.

What happens if I need to leave a tour early?

We will do everything we can to assist you in this regard, but please note that we would not be liable for any damage, losses or expenses suffered by any participant as a result of sickness, quarantine, weather conditions, war, strikes, riots or any other cause beyond our control. If sickness or accident interrupts a tour, we shall not be liable for any loss or expense arising therefrom, save only to the extent that such sickness or accident was caused by Treeswift’s wilful act or gross negligence. For our extended/multi-day/international tours, we strongly recommended that you take out comprehensive travel insurance upon booking, to cover any financial losses due to cancellation for whatever reason.

What happens if a border closure or other government-imposed restrictions impact my trip?

If your tour can’t proceed due to government-imposed restrictions and we are unable to reschedule the tour, we are required to provide a credit voucher to the value of all of your payments to date. This will be valid for the next 2 years to use against re-booking the same tour or a different one. Credit Vouchers are non-transferable.

Passports, Visa Requirements, Vaccinations:

For our international and certain external territory tours, it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that they have an up-to-date passport, necessary visas, and have had the relevant immunisations and/or vaccinations (malaria, etc). Treeswift Wildlife & Nature will not be responsible for any costs that arise from failure to comply.

Health & Fitness Whilst On Tour:

As outlined in our FAQ’s, we expect all participants to have a moderate level of fitness and be prepared to be on their feet and walking whilst on Treeswift Wildlife & Nature events. Because of this, we reserve the right to refuse to guide participants on parts or on all of an event if we deem their fitness or health to be at risk. Specific recommendations as per event are outlined on the relevant tour pages.

Guest Participant and/or Removal:

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature reserves the right to accept or deny any person(s) or booking(s). We also reserve the right to remove a participant from a tour/event for any reason. It should be noted that we have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, racism, discrimination (of any kind), disruptive or offensive behaviour, conduct that may negatively affect the experience of our other guests, property damage, theft, and any breach of our Wildlife Watching Ethics, damage to habitat, etc.

If a guest is asked to leave a tour early, Treeswift Wildlife & Nature will not be responsible or liable for any costs incurred by the client.

Tour Alterations:

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature reserve the right to make changes to a tour experience including but not limited to the itinerary, accommodation, number of participants, leaders, vehicles, experiences, etc both prior and during the tour. If a change must be made during a tour, where possible it will be discussed with the group, though the Tour Leader will have the final say.

Treeswift Wildlife & Nature will not be liable for any costs incurred by the client if a tour must return earlier or arrive later due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, transport issues, flight changes, natural disasters etc.

Price Amendments:

The price for all our tours and events is organised and advertised in advanced and is unlikely to change. However, occasional price fluctuations of factors outside of our control such as fuel, boat hire, vehicle hire, flight pricing, visa charges, etc, may occasionally require us to alter the price of a tour. Treeswift Wildlife & Nature reserve the right to increase or decrease tour costings by a maximum of 10%, however if it is more than 10% participants will have the option to cancel the tour with a full refund.

Liability:

All of our participants agree Treeswift Wildlife & Nature are not liable for injury, death, damage, monetary loss or loss of property as a result of participating in any tour. Participants should make their own health and travel insurance arrangements. Travel insurance should cover unplanned costs. For and in consideration of the opportunity to participate in the tour, each tour participant agrees to release, indemnify, and hold harmless Treeswift Wildlife & Nature, its agents, servants, employees, shareholders, officers, directors, solicitors and contractors as set forth herewith. Treeswift Wildlife & Nature acts only as an agent for the passenger in regard to travel, whether by bus, boat, airplane, or by other means, and assumes no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity caused by defect in such vehicles or for any reason whatsoever, including the acts, defaults, or bankruptcies of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in the carrying out the arrangements of the tour.

Complaints:

In the unlikely event that you have an issue pre, post or during your time with us, please either notify your Tour Leader, or get in touch with us via email. If your issue remains unresolved or you are unhappy with our response, please get in contact with our head office team as soon as possible.

The critically endangered Plains Wanderer, one of most difficult endemic species in the world – a highlight from a recent birding tour

Still have more questions?

Send us a message, and we’ll get right back to you!