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Wildlife & Nature suggestion

The Essence of New Zealand

14 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

13 day Southern Family Adventure

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Motels

9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

18 Day Forests and Coasts Walking Experience

18 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

7 day Auckland to Christchurch Essential Highlights

7 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

The Natural South Island

19 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Auckland to Queenstown 25 day Garden Experience

25 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

The Essential South Island National Parks Tour

13 days starting in Queenstown, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

10 Day Northern Adventure

10 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Apartments

30 day North to South Ultimate Adventure

30 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

 

Wildlife & Nature

You're spoilt for choice, if you are looking for natural wonders and wildlife encounters in New Zealand. There are many opportunities to see New Zealand’s unique native wildlife as part of your vacation.

From the kiwi, our flightless icon, to the world's only mainland Royal Albatross colony. The world's rarest penguin and the world's smallest dolphin. New Zealand offers the wildlife enthusiast a once in a lifetime experience.

Explore the wonderful choices we've gathered together for you here ...

Activity ideas: Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch Kaikoura

New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up close encounter with the giant sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen.
 
You’ll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one. More »

Activity ideas: Wildlife Cruise and Yellow Eyed Penguins Tour
Wildlife Cruise and Yellow Eyed Penguins Tour

A half day tour of the Otago Peninsula and its unique wildlife including a cruise through Dunedin Harbour. A unique environment, this tour includes a visit to The Penguin Place to view the rare and unique yellow eyed penguin. The tour also includes a scenic bus tour and the wading bird wetlands. More »

Activity ideas: Akaroa Harbour Nature cruise
Akaroa Harbour Nature cruise

A leisurely 2 hour cruise in the sheltered Akaroa Harbour. Cruising aboard a modern catamaran, the 60 feet / 20 meter Black Cat is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of the harbour. The vessel is the largest and most luxurious on the harbour. There's lots of space on the 2 decks for unimpeded viewing and inside you will find a bar and toilets. The vessel offers comfortable, safe and stable comfort.

The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. More »

Activity ideas: Otago Peninsula Wildlife tour and Larnach Castle
Otago Peninsula Wildlife tour and Larnach Castle

This premier package includes the full Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head wildlife cruise, scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour, and guided tours of the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve and a visit to wading bird habitats. Also includes either a tour of Larnach Castle, one of Dunedin’s great landmarks or a visit to the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre with its absorbing display of local sea life. More »

Activity ideas: Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley – just 10 minutes from the central city.

Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost.

Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley – so your chances of seeing one is very good. More »

Activity ideas: Gannet Safaris
Gannet Safaris

Drive along the scenic coast from Napier to Te Awanga and join Gannet Safaris Overland and the world’s largest, most accessible gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Gannet Safaris has been guiding visitors over Cape Kidnappers for over 35 years and their safaris are the only way to be driven right to within a few feet of these remarkable birds. You will travel in comfort in air conditioned 4 x 4 wheeled vehicles, through Cape Kidnappers Station - traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breath-taking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to Mahia peninsular. The 36km, three hour trip includes a commentary by your tour guide / driver on the farming operation on Cape Kidnappers Station and an introduction to the gannets. On arrival at the gannets you can stretch your legs and take in the scenery from your position at the brink of the cliffs edge - 100 metres above the ocean. Here your driver / guide will serve you refreshments whilst you enjoy watching the gannets perform around you. More »

Activity ideas: Penguin Place
Penguin Place

Learn about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. The project is entirely funded by guided tours which allows the conservation team to engage in habitat restoration, predator control, a research program and on-site rehabilitation care for the sick starving and wounded birds. More »

Activity ideas: Monarch Wildlife Cruise from Wellers Rock
Monarch Wildlife Cruise from Wellers Rock

An unforgettable experience viewing rare and fascinating wildlife. Board the Monarch Boat and take in the fascinating sight of the Northern Royal Albatross as it comes in to nest on spectacular cliffs of Taiaroa, Otago Peninsula. You’ll also see eight other species of birds including sooty shearwaters and petrels as well as sea lions and fur seals  - and if youre really lucky - dolphins and whales. More »

Activity ideas: Albatross Encounter Kaikoura
Albatross Encounter Kaikoura

A world renowned marine reserve, Kaikoura is brimming with marine life and ocean-going birds. It is the Albatross capital of the world and has up to 14 different species visiting the area throughout the year. You’ll be taken by boat, 15 minutes off the coast where a huge range of elusive and usually inaccessible albatross can be sighted. You’ll also see penguins, gannets, skuas, shearwaters petrels and terns. You’ll travel in a dedicated albatross encounter vessel, adapted specifically for maximum wildlife viewing opportunities. More »

Activity ideas: Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Premium Evening Viewing
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Premium Evening Viewing

Oamaru's Blue Penguins nest close to town under the cliffs along the Historic Harbour foreshore. The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is just beyond the Victorian Heritage Precinct and you are within walking distance of the town centre, close to shops, restaurants and accommodation. More »

Activity ideas: Tiritiri Matangi Island and guided walk
Tiritiri Matangi Island and guided walk

Situated in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf only a 75 minute ferry trip from Auckland is Tiritiri Matangi Island. One of the world’s most successful volunteer conservation projects, it has been re-vegetated with over 300,000 native trees as well as several different species of endangered birds and reptiles. Tiritiri Matangi meaning ‘tossed by wind’ is an open scientific reserve managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in partnership with the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi. More »

Activity ideas: Zealandia - Karori Sanctuary
Zealandia - Karori Sanctuary

Welcome to the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary – a conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native animals. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild within a beautiful 225ha (one square mile) valley – just 10 minutes from central Wellington.   Around 40 native and endemic species of birds can be found at Zealandia. Kākā – the playful forest parrots – have made an impressive comeback to the area and are lots of fun to watch at their supplementary feeder stations. Endangered hihi (stitchbird), tīeke (saddleback), kākāriki and kiwi are flourishing here and the pair of critically threatened takahē are often seen at the wetlands. Zealandia provides routes for everyone from wheelchair-users to all-day trampers. You can choose from various fascinating guided tours and feeding talks (all free with admission), or simply roam at your leisure to find the valley’s remarkable native wildlife living free.  The scenic café Rata, is a great place refreshments before or after your walk.  Zealandia is open every day except Christmas Day from 10am to 5pm, last entry is at 4pm.  You can catch the free shuttle from various Wellington locations including outside the i-SITE and Te Papa. More »

Activity ideas: Wings over Whales Kaikoura
Wings over Whales Kaikoura

In a typical 30 minute flight you will see the majestic Sperm Whale preparing for his next dive and up to 500 Dusky Dolphins cavorting with each other. On occasion sightings include Southern Right, Humpback, Fin, Sei, Brydes, Pilot, Southern Bottlenose and the mighty Blue Whales, and also Common, Hectors, Risso's and Southern Right Whale Dolphins and of course, Orca, although these are all less frequent visitors to the area.

You may also fly over the Kaikoura Peninsula and see evidence of Maori fortifications (Pa sites), New Zealand Fur Seals resting and the Kaikoura township itself. More »

Activity ideas: Seal Coast Safari
Seal Coast Safari

Your guide for the day will introduce you to the other guests, check he has enough gourmet muffins to satisfy your hunger pangs, and set off, pointing the powerful Landcruiser in the direction of the ocean.  Within minutes you have left the city behind and your 4WD adventure has begun!  You traverse a private farm to access the sea, enjoying spectacular views and scenery along the way. The highlight of the safari is the New Zealand Fur Seals, Arctocephelous forsteri, or Kekeno as they are known in MaoriThese large, furry marine mammals used to be common all around the coastline of New Zealand , but with human impact their numbers dwindled.   But the good news is that they are increasing in numbers every year. Fur seals spend a lot of their time on rocky shores, at sites called haul-outs. Every year, these sociable animals return to the same area for the breeding season. More »

Activity ideas: Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounter
Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounter

This multi-award winning, scheduled, daily, 'small group' tour departs from Dunedin city in the mid-afternoon for the Otago Peninsula wildlife 'hotspots'. The tour combines tourism and conservation in a symbiotic relationship and provides absolutely unrivaled viewing of estuarine and marine wildlife. Your knowledgeable guides will inform you of activity being viewed and visit places where the best possible viewing of Hooker's Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals and Royal Albatross can be had. A further 25-30 other estuarine and marine bird species are seen during the experience. Close up unobtrusive viewing from beach locations and strategically placed observation hides is guaranteed . More »

Activity ideas: Royal Albatross Colony Albatross Tour
Royal Albatross Colony Albatross Tour

This 60 minute tour focuses on the Royal Albatrosses and wildlife that inhabit Pukekura (Taiaroa Head). Begin with a short film, then enjoy the informative commentary provided by your guide about albatrosses as you visit the observatory to see nesting albatross in their natural habitat. More »

Activity ideas: Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour
Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour

This is our premium product and the best way to experience Pukekura, its history and wildlife. The fully guided tour will begin with an introduction, plus a short film on the albatrosses and the history of Taiaroa Head’s unique environment followed by a visit to the Viewing Observatory to see the nesting albatrosses inside the nature reserve. The tour continues with an opportunity to learn about the unique periods of use by both Maori and European on the Headland. More »

Activity ideas: White Heron Sanctuary Tours
White Heron Sanctuary Tours

View the magnificent Kotuku (White Heron), the Kotuku Ngutu Papa (Royal Spoonbill), the Kawapaka (Little Black Shag) and other Bird life - all in their natural environment.

Tours to the White Heron Colony open late October and the Kotuku disperse from the colony about the end of February/Early March each year.  A unique experience to New Zealand's only Kotuku (White Heron) nesting site, in the Waitangi Roto Nature reserve, the Kotuku Ngutu Papa (Royal Spoonbill) also nests here. More »

Activity ideas: Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventures
Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventures

On this unique four hour eco-adventure you will get to experience one of the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colonies in the world. You’ll be pulled on a trailer from the back of a vintage tractor along the beach to the Black Reef Colony - where you’ll have the chance to see the birds in their natural habitat. Depending on the season, visitors can witness new-born chicks through to four month old gannets preparing for their first ever flight, which will take them all the way to Australia.Continuing on to the Cape, you'll break for 90 minutes which enables visitors the chance to picnic, swim or enjoy a scenic walk to the Plateau Colony. More »

Activity ideas: Farewell Spit Eco Tour including picnic lunch
Farewell Spit Eco Tour including picnic lunch

Farewell Spit Nature Reserve is a bird sanctuary and wetland of international importance, around 35km long and public access is restricted to the first 4km. More strictly protected than a national park, vehicle access is granted only to supervised tours. Onetahua is the Maori name for Farewell Spit and translated means "heaped up sand".

The Farewell Spit Eco Tour which, as well as exploring the spit, stops in Puponga and at the most northern point on the South island, Cape Farewell. From the cliff top, seals and their pups can be seen all year basking on the rocks below. More »

Activity ideas: Underwater Observatory
Underwater Observatory

Engage with the history and hardships of those who built the Milford Road and Homer Tunnel, and the struggles of Milford’s first settlers. Find out more about our Sinbad Sanctuary project – how Southern Discoveries is working to preserve and enhance our environment for generations to come and other environmental initiatives underway in the fiord. Then descend 10m underwater into a spacious viewing chamber with uninterrupted 360-degree views of a rich marine ecosystem unparalleled anywhere else in the world. It’s a world of primeval creatures and exotic habitats, including rare Black Coral. Due to its unique underwater environment, Milford Sound is home to species of Black Coral usually found at depths of 500m or more, including magnificent 300-year-old coral ‘trees’. More »

Activity ideas: Otago Peninsula Wildlife Premier Tour
Otago Peninsula Wildlife Premier Tour

This premier package includes the full Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head wildlife cruise, scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour, and guided tours of the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve and a visit to wading bird habitats. More »

Activity ideas: Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari
Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Depart from central Auckland and you'll be amazed at the array of marine mammals and other marine life to be seen a short boat ride away from the CBD. More »

Activity ideas: Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park
Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park

Paradise Valley Springs is a beautifully presented wildlife park, featuring wild trout, animals and birdlife. All set amongst native bush and ferns with many sparkling pools, springs and a natural wetland for New Zealand's water birds. At Paradise Valley Springs, visitors can interact with a variety of introduced and native wildlife that is found throughout New Zealand.  Animals such as Deer, Pigs, Thar and Wallabies may be hand fed. See Rainbow and Brown Trout in the crystal-clear pools and wild in the Ngongotaha Stream that winds through the park. Get up close to friendly farm animals including Alpacas, Goats and Sheep to name a few. View native New Zealand birds, waterfowl on the beautiful wetlands and walk-through with the native alpine parrot enclosure to meet the cheeky Kea. Experience the elevated rainforest treetops walkway, hidden six metres high amongst bush and huge native trees. Paradise Valley is also home to a pride of lions and the park allows you to get very close to these fascinating animals.  You can also view the lion feeding which takes place at 2.30pm every day. More »

Activity ideas: Wildfilm Workshops
Wildfilm Workshops

Enjoy a day exploring the Otago Peninsula incorporating photography and South Island wildlife.  The opportunity to see Yellow Eyed Penguins, the Albatross Colony and Sea Lions.  Lunch is included. More »

Activity ideas: Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Guided Day Tour
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Guided Day Tour

Oamaru's Blue Penguins nest close to town under the cliffs along the Historic Harbour foreshore. The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is just beyond the Victorian Heritage Precinct and you are within walking distance of the town centre, close to shops, restaurants and accommodation. More »

Activity ideas: Wildlife Cruise, Larnach Castle Tour and Yellow Eyed Penguins Tour
Wildlife Cruise, Larnach Castle Tour and Yellow Eyed Penguins Tour

Today you’ll explore the wildlife and history of the Otago Peninsula.  You’ll be welcomed the mv Monarch for a wildlife cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world’s only mainland nesting site for royal albatross.  Scattered along the rocks you’ll also see New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun and possibly New Zealand sealions on the beach.  In the water you may also see penguins, dolphins and other marine birds.  Back on land you’ll take a guided tour of New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle built in 1871.  Learn of the scandals and history of the castle and explore the beautiful garden of international significance.  Your final stop of the day is to Penguin Place, a natural nesting site for the rarest penguin in the world, the yellow eyed penguin. More »

Activity ideas: Kaikoura Tour - Hassle Free Tours
Kaikoura Tour - Hassle Free Tours

Get up and close with the locals in the beautiful seaside town of Kaikoura. This full day tour includes a scenic drive from Christchurch over the Canterbury plains before arriving in Kaikoura. Once in Kaikoura, you will visit a lookout to enjoy the breath-taking views. Next you will make your way around to a Seal colony before heading into Kaikoura for some free time to explore and enjoy lunch. Board a modern catamaran for an exciting Whale Watch tour. This tour offers up-close encounters with the Giant Sperm Whale. A typical Whale Watch encounter may include Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and endangered Wandering Albatross. To finish the day you will enjoy the scenic drive back to your Christchurch accommodation. More »

Activity ideas: Orokonui Ecosanctuary Forest Explorer Guided Tour
Orokonui Ecosanctuary Forest Explorer Guided Tour

Orokonui Ecosanctuary is the flagship biodiversity project for the South Island where multiple species of plants and animals are protected from predators. A predator fence surrounds 307 hectares of Coastal Otago forest, pests have been removed, habitat enhanced with weed control and planting, and many rare and endangered species re-introduced.

Join one of the ecosanctuary’s expert and friendly guides on this 2 hour forest explorer walking tour. You will experience the sights and sounds of the enchanting native New Zealand forest. Your ticket includes a complimentary self-guided walking permit allowing you to explore the ecosanctuary further at the completion of your tour. More »

Activity ideas: Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounter MAX Tour
Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounter MAX Tour

For the wildlife enthusiast, the MAX tour is an 8 hour immersive wildlife experience. Combining a boat cruise aboard the 'Monarch', a Royal Albatross nesting area tour and our award winning peninsula encounter tour into one 'total wildlife' tour. This tour will allow you a unique opportunity to combine the best possible viewing from land and sea. More »

Activity ideas: Royal Albatross Sundowner Package
Royal Albatross Sundowner Package

This excellent Sundowner package includes Royal Albatross Colony viewing from sea and land, a delicious Hāngi style dinner, Blue Penguin Pukekura reserve tour plus transport to and from Dunedin. Make the most of your only chance to see the world’s only mainland Albatross breeding colony and the world’s smallest penguin. More »

Activity ideas: Royal Albatross Little Blue Penguin Tiki Tour
Royal Albatross Little Blue Penguin Tiki Tour

Discover Kororā, the Little Blue Penguin with transportation to and from the Royal Albatross Centre located 30kms from the Dunedin city at the tip of the Otago Peninsula. View the world’s smallest penguin, in their natural habitat – scurrying up to their cliff-face burrows at Pilots Beach on the Otago Peninsula. After a day at sea, the penguins congregate in groups known as “rafts” not far offshore where they often can be heard vocalising – usually short, loud squawks. At dusk penguins come ashore and make their way to their nests where they feed their chicks. More »

Activity ideas: Monarch Otago Peninsula Wildlife Half Day Tour
Monarch Otago Peninsula Wildlife Half Day Tour

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Careys Bay and the working port of Port Chalmers. Continue your tour to the tip of the Otago Peninsula for the One Hour Wildlife Cruise. Enjoy unrivalled wildlife viewing. See what cannot be seen from land: Albatross, New Zealand Fur Seals and up to 20 species of bird and marine life in their undisturbed and otherwise inaccessible environment. Learn the fascinating history and geology of the area. Take a scenic drive along the Otago Peninsula, enjoying spectacular harbour and ocean views. More »

Activity ideas: Wildlife Cruise and Larnach Castle Tour
Wildlife Cruise and Larnach Castle Tour

Journey back in time into the rich, turbulent and scandalous lives of the Larnach family. Enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of NZ’s only castle. Climb to the parapets for 360 degree views and explore the lovely gardens of international significance. Enjoy Monarch's fascinating Wildlife Cruise . More »

Activity ideas: Swimming with the dolphins
Swimming with the dolphins

Akaroa Harbour formed as a result of an extinct volcanic crater being flooded by the Pacific Ocean. It's a beautiful place with sheer cliffs and the picturesque township of Akaroa at its heart. New Zealand's only native dolphin, Hectors dolphin, makes this sheltered harbour its home and its here you can take a 2 ½ tour to see and if you wish actually swim with these incredible creatures. Following a ½ hour briefing you depart on a 2 hour cruise of which around 1 hour is spent in the water with the dolphins. Black Cat Cruises has been operating since 1985 and their success rate at sighting dolphins is over 98%. Swimming with dolphins is not always possible either due to sea conditions, the dolphins' willingness to stay and play and other environmental reasons such as not swimming when there are babies around. They still manage to swim though on over 80% of their tours. All equipment is provided and all you need to bring along is your swimming costume and a towel. More »

Activity ideas: Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter

On this tour you will have the opportunity to experience dolphins in their natural habitat. Cruise the picturesque islands dotting the harbour as your crew keeps a lookout for dolphin pods. Once a pod has been spotted, If you’re lucky and Department of Conservation regulations allow, you may have the opportunity to swim with these inquisitive mammals. Swimming is optional, but you do need to be a confident swimmer. More »

Activity ideas: Swimming with the Dolphins
Swimming with the Dolphins

Experience a magical swimming encounter with dusky dolphins off the coast Kaikoura. You’ll be taken out in the catamaran and have the chance to swim in the water with these wild mammals in an completely natural environment. The dusky dolphin inhabits the waters around Kaikoura for most of the year - making it one of the only places in the world where dolphins can be encountered every day. More »

Activity ideas: Seal Swim Kaikoura
Seal Swim Kaikoura

As well as its whale population, Kaikoura is also famous for its resident seals. Established colonies can be found along the entire length of the Kaikoura Coastline and a large population can be found at the tip of the peninsular. Seal Swim Kaikoura is the original Seal Swim company offering an exciting and adventurous encounter with these curious animals. Part of a small group you are provided with warm wetsuits and guided on either a land based or boat based snorkelling tour. You are guided on this unique experience is guided by qualified operators who ensure you enjoy a safe environment and who ensure that the activity doesn’t interfere or disturb with the natural behaviour patterns of the seals. More »

Activity ideas: Kiwi Birdlife Park
Kiwi Birdlife Park

The Kiwi Birdlife Park offers live conservation shows. This New Zealand first features the country’s native stars alongside qualified and experienced zoologists.At the live conservation show we give you the opportunity to meet the birds and creatures who have roamed the country’s forests and shorelines for thousands of years, in a close-up environment where their comfort is paramount, and your access is unparalleled. More »

Activity ideas: Te Anau Wildlife Centre
Te Anau Wildlife Centre

Fiordland is home to a wonderful variety of native birds, whose habitat ranges from the rugged mountain and forest environments to the wild west coast seashore. The Te Anau Wildlife Centre is the ideal setting to learn about some of Fiordland's wildlife. The centre offers the opportunity to view the rare flightless takahē, now restricted to the tussock grasslands of the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland. Native waterfowl, weka, parakeets, tui, kea, kākā and pigeons are all part of the setting. The centre's main aviary houses a number of native birds. The native pigeon, tui, kea and kaka or bush parrot can be seen here. Another aviary houses native parakeets. More »

Activity ideas: National Aquarium of New Zealand
National Aquarium of New Zealand

New Zealand's largest display of aquatic life and unique New Zealand wildlife, including sharks, stingrays, living coral, kiwi, tuatara and a huge range of fish species.  An underwater travelator takes you beneath the massive oceanarium as hundreds of fish swim and feed above and around you. Almost within touching distance are kiwi foraging on the forest floor of their enclosure and tuatara, the unique New Zealand lizard considered a living dinosaur found only in islands off the New Zealand mainland.

There is also the opportunity to swim with the sharks and other amazing marine life in the oceanarium. This is a snorkelling experience that is fully supervised at all times.

  More »

Activity ideas: Kiwi House Otorohanga
Kiwi House Otorohanga

The Kiwi House and native bird park in Otorohanga is owned and operated by the Otorohanga Zoological Society, Inc., a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's native wildlife through education, display and breeding programs. Within the park you will find nocturnal kiwi houses, New Zealand's largest aviary, Live Tuataras and many of New Zealand native and endangered birds. You could encounter kiwi, morepork, pukeko and wekas. Also New Zealand's native parrots such as kea, kaka and kakariki. The park offers a chance to see many native animals you might not necessarily get to encounter in the wild. More »

Activity ideas: Orana Wildlife Park
Orana Wildlife Park

Set in 80 hectares of tranquil grounds, within a 15 minute drive from Christchurch Airport, Orana Wildlife Park is New Zealand’s only open range zoo. Orana specialises in providing unique animal encounters in an open range setting. Get up close and personal with the wonderful animals! Experience the thrill of hand feeding a majestic giraffe, seeing a tiger search for food, or travelling through a pride of lions (for ticket prices and conditions of the Lion Encounter click here). Visitors can meet endangered New Zealand native wildlife such as kiwi (New Zealand’s national icon), tuatara (a unique native reptile) and kea (the world’s only mountain parrot). View a wide range of native gecko species and pet friendly domestic animals in the Farmyard area. Fifteen scheduled animal feeds occur daily and each presentation is accompanied by a talk from a wildlife guide. At Orana Wildlife Park there is something to entertain everyone. For admission prices and hours, visit www.oranawildlifepark.co.nz. More »

Activity ideas: Takapu Refuge (Gannet Colony)
Takapu Refuge (Gannet Colony)

Otakamiro Point, the headland between Maori Bay and Muriwai Beach is home to New Zealand's northernmost gannet colony: the Takapu Refuge. Here you can see these remarkable birds soaring overhead with wingspans of up to 2 metres.

Feeding is a unique and extraordinary sight as the birds dive into the sea from 30 metres above reaching speeds of up to 145 kph! Between July and October many gannets re-establish contact with their life long mates. Just one egg is laid which is incubated by both birds who take shifts. December is the time to see the chicks but the birds can be seen here all year round. More »

Activity ideas: Pukaha Mount Bruce
Pukaha Mount Bruce

Pukaha Mount Bruce is New Zealand's National Wildlife Centre for conservation of some of our most endangered wildlife. It is also a centre for environmental education and an eco tourism destination. Kiwi, kokako, kaka and other wildlife are now being restored to the forest with the support of the local community. It is here that you will become knowledgeable about New Zealand's unique conservation history. The National Wildlife Centre at Pukaha Mount Bruce is a nationally and internationally recognized captive breeding facility for a number of threatened bird species. It has worked successfully to save some of the rarest bird species in the world. More »

Activity ideas: Tawharanui Marine Reserve
Tawharanui Marine Reserve

The abundance of fish and edible plants in Tawharanui has provided food to its occupants for the last 1000 years. When Europeans purchased the land in 1873 the timber was milled and the land farmed as well as some parts of it quarried. The parks boundaries were extended in 1981 to create New Zealand's first Marine Protected Area. This prohibits the taking of any marine life from the region and provides a unique environment for snorkellers and divers to experience the many and varied forms of wildlife in this environment. The New Zealand dotterel nests in the sand dunes here and there are many other birds such as the coastal reef heron and spotless crake that also make this place home. More »

Activity ideas: Kaikoura Whale Watch day trip
Kaikoura Whale Watch day trip

Spend your day getting close to nature. Travel by road through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury, enjoying the beauty of its rural pastoral scenes, to Kaikoura where mountains meet sea. Kaikoura is world renowned for the variety of marine mammals which can be seen, not least of all the giant sperm whales and the acrobatic Dusky Dolphins. On your arrival in Kaikoura you will be transferred to a whale watch tour. In the afternoon you will visit a seal colony where fur seals may be viewed at close quarters. Your return journey from Kaikoura to Christchurch is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Your Coastal Pacific train travel will take you through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas. The Coastal Pacific includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air. This service also includes a fully licensed café car and professional Train Managers who provide informative commentary to ensure a totally unique experience. More »

Activity ideas: Kaikoura Whale Watch day trip by coach
Kaikoura Whale Watch day trip by coach

Spend your day getting close to nature. Travel by coach through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury, enjoying the beauty of its rural pastoral scenes, to Kaikoura where mountains meet sea. Kaikoura is world renowned for the variety of marine mammals which can be seen, not least of all the giant sperm whales and the acrobatic Dusky Dolphins.  On your arrival in Kaikoura you will be transferred to a whale watch tour with Kaikoura Whale Watch. In the afternoon you will visit a seal colony where fur seals may be viewed at close quarters. On your return to Christchurch a stop will be made at a North Canterbury vineyard where you can enjoy some local wine tasting. More »

Activity ideas: Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour
Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour

This tour takes you on a sightseeing tour north of Christchurch, to Kaikoura, a traditional fishing village nestled between the Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean, to enjoy the ultimate marine experience - a close encounter with a giant Sperm Whale.  Your Whale Watch Tour by boat is a unique experience and sightings vary.  On a typical Whale Watch Tour, with up to 2.5 hours on the water, you should sight the giant Sperm Whales.  You may also encounter New Zealand Fur Seals and Dusky Dolphins.  Kaikoura also attracts a great concentration of seabirds, including Petrel, Shearwater and the endangered wandering Albatross. More »

Activity ideas: Kaikoura Whale Watch and Coastal Pacific Train Private Tour
Kaikoura Whale Watch and Coastal Pacific Train Private Tour

Spend your day getting close to nature. Travel by road through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury, enjoying the beauty of its rural pastoral scenes, to Kaikoura where mountains meet sea. Kaikoura is world renowned for the variety of marine mammals which can be seen, not least of all the giant sperm whales and the acrobatic Dusky Dolphins. On your arrival in Kaikoura you will be transferred to a whale watch tour. After your whale encounter you’ll visit a local café for lunch (own cost). In the afternoon you will visit a seal colony where fur seals may be viewed at close quarters. Your return journey from Kaikoura to Christchurch is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Your Coastal Pacific train travel will take you through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas. The Coastal Pacific includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air. This service also includes a fully licensed café car and professional Train Managers who provide informative commentary to ensure a totally unique experience. More »