There are few places in the world where, within the space of one day, you can experience mountain vistas, ancient forests, volcanic landscapes and stunning coastline – all whilst spotting New Zealand wildlife found nowhere else on earth.
Natural spectacles and unique wildlife encounters are two of New Zealand’s biggest draw-cards.
As one of the leading wildlife destinations in the world, New Zealand offers wildlife lovers a truly unique experience. There are few places in the world where, within the space of one day, you can experience mountain vistas, ancient forests, volcanic landscapes and stunning coastline – all whilst spotting New Zealand wildlife found nowhere else on earth.
It is almost impossible to travel around New Zealand and not be impressed by its natural beauty. New Zealand was one of the last lands to be settled by humans and during its long isolation, developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The north and south islands are blessed with amazing landscapes, highly unusual plants and trees, and a wealth of birds and marine mammals.
Before humans settled in New Zealand, it would have been an extremely noisy place! Large tracts of lush native forest supported an incredible variety of bird life. As they evolved, wings became unnecessary for some birds, as they had no natural predators to fly away from. As a result, several of New Zealand’s native birds became flightless, including the kiwi, the kakapo parrot, the takahe, and the world’s largest bird, the (now extinct) moa.
New Zealand also has an abundant and diverse marine life, and whale watching and swimming with dolphins are two of our most highly recommended experiences. The small Hector’s dolphin is the world’s rarest dolphin and only found in New Zealand waters. Seals, penguins and a whole host of fish and shellfish also thrive in New Zealand’s fertile marine environment.
New Zealand’s high rainfall and many sunshine hours also gives the country a lush and diverse flora with 80% of flora being native.
New Zealand has its own ‘Small 5’ – search for the rare Hector’s dolphin, observe the intriguing yellow-eyed penguin, tiptoe along a beach at night to find the iconic kiwi bird, hunt for the ancient tuatara lizard and watch the brilliantly coloured kea soar overhead for wildlife encounters you’ll never forget.
Near Wellington is Zealandia: the Karori Sanctuary Experience, home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife, including kiwis, parrots and tuataras. Further north, you can swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands or dive with the profuse marine life of the Poor Knights Islands off the coast of Northland.
On South Island, Kaikoura is New Zealand’s centre for whale watching – take a boat trip in search of big bull sperm whales and dusky dolphins. The rugged West Coast is home to fur seals, blue penguins, rare black petrels and white herons. In Fiordland National Park, Milford and Doubtful Sound cut deep into the heart of providing a rich haven for dolphins, seals and countless birds and an awe-inspiring venue for kayaking or cruising.
Some of the country’s best wildlife viewing can be found in the southern tip of South Island. The wildlife of the scenic Otago Peninsula is a big draw including yellow-eyed penguins, little blue penguins, albatross colonies and fur seals. New Zealand’s hidden gem, Stewart Island, is home to the brown kiwi and the only place in New Zealand where these timid nocturnal birds can be reliably seen in the wild.
An island of unbelievable animal encounters, the collection of wildlife and nature holidays including birdwatching experiences are truely out of this world.