Most New Zealand tourism on offer doesn’t do justice to this theme. We consider wildlife to be an important part of the country.
Except for the rare, but nevertheless endearing, kiwi birds that are mostly hidden in the remote native forest, wildlife in New Zealand revolves around a strong ocean connection and kilometres of coastlines.
Hector’s dolphins and yellow-eyed penguins are fascinating endemic species. Whales, Fiordland crested penguins, blue penguins, fur seals, albatrosses and many birds are also worth being on your watch list.
We could add possums to the list, but seeing them alive is rare - most of them are dead on the road.
You might find New Zealanders are little harsh on the subject. They are fond of saying that a good possum is a dead possum. Introducing them to New Zealand for their fur in 1838 was a mistake as they have flourished here without any predators to keep their numbers in check. They are now a major scourge on the country's flora and fauna, each possum eating around 1kg of new plant growth per night. They also attack native bird's nests, eating their eggs.
Visiting the habitats of rare or endangered wild animals such as the different species of penguins, seals, whales and dolphins will take you to magical and isolated places. It will give you an opportunity to visit towns and cities that are often overlooked, like Akaroa, Oamaru, Napier, Dunedin or Invercargill.
By participating in the following activities you will be helping to support both public and private initiatives looking to safeguard and protect our natural heritage.
Note. These tours are not in zoos but rely on the presence and behaviour of wild animals. You will not always have the same sightings and very occasionally you may not get to see the intended species. It's all part of the adventure and excitement!
New Zealand isn't particularly well known overseas for its wildlife but there are a wide variety of animals to see. The animal life that you can find in the North and South islands is quite different so if you're a big nature lover we recommend exploring them both.Find out more
Have fun on this easy two hour kayak safari, to photograph the royal spoonbill and find out more about the other birds of this wetland habitat.Find out more
You can't get much more off the beaten path in New Zealand than the Catlins Coast and its remoteness is a huge part of its charm. It's a reasonably small and fairly isolated region tucked away down in the south east corner of the South Island, below Dunedin and to the east of InvercargillFind out more
Banks Track is incredibly varied; from the elevated farmland at the start of the track that overlooks Akaroa and the Caldera, to the bays we passed through to end up in the bush. This walk is well-known amongst locals but escapes the attention of most overseas tourists.Find out more
Just an hour north of Auckland is a special opportunity to spot kiwis in their natural environment. Pam and Tristan from Habitat Tours got in contact with our team in October 2014, to explain their idea of proposing kiwi spotting tours and we jumped on this incredible experience.Find out more
The Otago Peninsula is known for its wildlife and is one of the best places to see the endemic yellow-eyed penguin or "hoiho". There are several companies offering tours but our approach is always to work with the provider who can benefit the most from the financial support.Find out more
The perfect family holiday without a tablet screen in sight! Experience the best of the South Island with a whole heap of wildlife and the outdoors included.Discover More
An awesome trip itinerary for anyone wanting to cover the best of the South Island in very little time, with some adventure and wildlife thrown in!Discover More
The trip of a lifetime for honeymooners or couples wanting to discover the traditional highlights of New Zealand along with some real hidden treasures.Discover More
Every detail was just right. Once Upon A Trip made our New Zealand experience an absolute delight. All of the places we over-nighted, the camper we rented and the excursions the... - Shelley Sweeney, USARead all reviews