Pelagic trips

Want a top notch birding trip from a New Zealand port? Check out the options below and email us at to reserve your place now. As well as being BIRDERS, we really know our marine wildlife and take pride in providing a full service trip, from whales, and dolphins, to sharks and other fish.


See what the pelagic experts have to say about us…

New Zealand has a special place in my heart, having experienced its outrageous wealth of seabirds, truly amazing endemics, and spectacular scenery. I have been down under NZ several times and am champing at the bit to get back there, especially to soak up more of the pelagic birds – albatrosses gliding effortlessly overhead, pterodromas wheeling around the boat, shearwaters scrapping for chum, prions circling the slick, and storm-petrels deftly dancing with waves as they feed nearby. For those of you mulling it over, shall we, shan’t we?, take a piece of advice from me – stop mulling and get booking.  For the very best experience when you get to NZ, I recommend Wrybill Birding Tours, for their itineraries and quality guides. I have birded with Brent Stephenson several times and can with confidence tell you that Brent is passionate for his birds, skilled in his art, and a special person. Brent has a wide knowledge, communicates with birders of all capabilities, is very approachable, and I find him to be great fun.  I hear first hand that the other guides, not surprisingly, are equally talented. I strongly recommend New Zealand and Wrybill Birding Tours.

Bob Flood, author "Multimedia Guide to North Atlantic Seabirds: Storm-petrels & Bulwer's Petrel" and leader of seabird tours

New Zealand is widely regarded as seabirding Mecca, with its unrivaled variety of albatrosses plus a great assortment of petrels, shearwaters, and storm-petrels, including, of course, the iconic and eponymous New Zealand Storm-Petrel. Besides Kaikoura, on the South Island, which is a must even for the casual seabirder, there are a number of lesser-known pelagic hotspots on the North Island. Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ is the leading pelagic tour operator to these hotspots, and with good reason. They offer good value trips, use the best boats and skippers, and have experienced and passionate leaders who know what they are seeing. I had two great trips with Wrybill on my last visit to NZ, and am looking forward to more next time.”

Steve N. G. Howell. Author and Senior Leader, WINGS Birdwatching Tours Worldwide.

What we can expect from kiwi seabirders like Brent Stephenson and Sav Saville…: just 10 years ago while doing my own observations on seabirds in New Zealand and its subantarctic islands I met the younger Brent for the first time, and when he asked me “what kind of camera I can recommend him to use and who and where he should do pelagic trips around New Zealand”; well, now I can regard him as no less than the seabird-master of New Zealand, which already achieved to be a co-finder of the ‘extinct’ New Zealand Storm Petrel (with Sav), a truly field ornithologist, conservationist and scientist in seabirds, and above all observer and leader with sharp eye with field experience in New Zealand seabirds that is impossible to match with – after witnessing how he operated pelagic trip few years back off the Northern Island! For me they are the best seabird operators in the region and one of the top in the world – I am highly recommend anyone to join their New Zealand trips…, which soon or later I will be on them too…

Hadoram Shiriahi, Sep 2011

I want to thank Brent and Sav for their tremendous hospitality during the New Zealand portion of this venture. They went out of their way to be helpful and graciously facilitated key aspects of this adventure including pelagic day trips to the Mercury Islands and the Huaraki Gulf.
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ has built a strong international reputation for their peerless knowledge of birding in New Zealand. This combined with flawless logistics, and a fun and enthusiastic approach make them the overwhelming first choice for birding tours in New Zealand . Their now extremely popular (and often sold out) “21-day tours” are undoubtedly the best way to see all the (possible) wonderful New Zealand endemics. This comprehensive tour includes a remarkable 4-5 pelagic trips and they regularly find 25-30sp. of tubenoses.
If you want to do some fantastic seabirding get in touch with Brent or Sav. They will go out of their way to make your birding experience in New Zealand a success.

Kirk Zufelt


Salvin’s albatross, Thalassarche salvini, photographed during a Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ tour around New Zealand in January 2005. A New Zealand pelagic is a real experience, and you’ll soon learn why New Zealand really is the seabird capital of the World!

Pelagic trips out of Houhora and Three Kings

Heading north on a stay aboard trip.

Currently we don't have another planned departure, but please email us to register your interest.

Pelagic trips out of Warkworth

Leaving from Sandspit and heading out into the Hauraki Gulf. Please note these trips are organised and operated by us, and we do not operate tours on a minimum numbers basis. The trips are part of our 21-day tour schedule, and so will ONLY be cancelled by bad weather conditions. See New Zealand storm-petrel with the team that rediscovered this amazing bird!  Other highlights we hope to see are Cook’s, black (Parkinson’s), grey-faced (Oct-Dec), and common-diving petrels, white-faced storm-petrel, Buller’s, fluttering, and little shearwaters, and grey noddy (mid-late Nov onwards).

1 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
8 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
15 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
20 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
22 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
17 January - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
31 January - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person
14 February - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$290 per person

Pelagic trips out of Whitianga

Whitianga is located on the Coromandel Peninsula, and we head out of here into and beyond Mercury Bay primarily to target Pycroft’s petrel.  However, this pelagic gives some of the same species seen in the Hauraki Gulf, and generally better chances of little shearwater. The trip leaves port around 1pm, returning around 7pm, allowing us to see Pycroft’s petrels as they come back in towards the breeding islands.

4 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person
11 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person
18 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person
25 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person

20 January - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person
3 February - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person
17 February - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$260 per person

Pelagic trips out of the Chatham Islands

Currently we don't have another planned departure, but please email us to register your interest.

Pelagic trips out of Stewart Island

Generally our trips out of Stewart Island are now full day tours, unless otherwise stated. Half day tours visit the Muttonbird Islands and Wreck Reef, with chumming at Wreck Reef and cruising around the islands. Full day tours do this and then depending on the weather and sea conditions may head to South Cape and Port Pegasus, with several chumming stops.  However, this makes for a lot of travel time, and sometimes we find it best to spend more time chumming, than traveling. This pelagic is the best opportunity to see Antarctic terns (if we go deep south), 100s of albatross, mottled petrel, broad-billed prions and storm-petrels. The full day option is outstanding value and one of the best pelagics in New Zealand. Contact us for more information, and if the dates below do not suit your plans.

16 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
23 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
30 November - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
2 December - SPACES AVAILABLE - HALF DAYNZ$220 per person
7 December - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
1 February 2019 - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
15 February 2019 - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
1 March 2019 - SPACES AVAILABLENZ$330 per person
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