With its picturesque mountains, meadows, and fjords, New Zealand, or "the land of the long white cloud" ("Aotearoa" in Maori) is an enchanting land that has remained isolated for millions of years, a fact reflected in the near-absence of native land mammals and in the ancient derivation of its avifauna. This is the home of such primitive and endemic families of birds as the amazing kiwis, New Zealand wattlebirds, and the New Zealand wrens.
Our tour visits some of the wildest and loveliest parts of the islands, with an emphasis on the endemic landbirds, seabirds, and shorebirds. Although New Zealand supports relatively few species of landbirds, it boasts some forty-five endemics, some of which, such as Saddleback, Kokako, and Stitchbird (itself a new family), are among the most endangered birds on Earth. It's also richly endowed with seabirds and one of the cradles of seabird evolution. Boat trips off North and Stewart islands and visits to several coastal sites will allow us to experience close at hand the tremendous variety of marine birds and mammals of this region. The short sea-trip off Kaikoura is one of the best pelagics in the world, just minutes from shore.
Our travels will take us to many places of great scenic beauty on both North and South islands, from incredible glacier-ringed Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park to the deep-water upwellings off the seaward Kaikouras, the wild and remote Stewart Island, and the Northern Royal Albatross nesting colony at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula.
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If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with: