Services & Tours
Pelagic Day Trips
Since 2002 we have developed regular pelagic birding trips out of several New Zealand ports – primarily out of Sandspit (near Warkworth in the Hauraki Gulf), Whitianga in the Coromandel Peninsula, and Stewart Island. See our scheduled tours on the Pelagic day trips page. We do sometimes also run pelagic trips out of other ports, so if you are looking for a trip out of a particular port, then email us, we may be able to help.
See our Trip Reports section for info on previous pelagic trips.
This is our original and signature 21-day New Zealand tour, which we have been running since we started operating in 2002. The tour takes in as much of New Zealand’s spectacular scenery as possible, whilst maximising our chances of locating as many of the New Zealand endemic and native birds as possible. We have structured the tour to be 21-days so that we have enough time to see the things we need to see without a hectic pace. Our tour aims to see members of the six endemic New Zealand families – the kiwi (aiming at four taxa, plus hearing a fifth), the New Zealand parrots (Strigopoidea, aiming at both kaka subsp. and kea), the New Zealand wrens (aiming for both of the two extant species), the New Zealand wattlebirds (aiming for all of the three extant species), the newly revised stitchbird now in its own family, the Notiomystidae, and the New Zealand creepers, the Mohouidae (all three species). Our Birding Tour trip list generally boasts around 155+ species, with around 65 endemic breeding species and 25 – 30 tubenose species. We consistently have the highest species tallies for any New Zealand birding tour, no one else even comes close, with the record set in November 2015 (172 species).
If you feel this might be a little too oriented towards birding and your focus is more on photography and you would like a tour with an emphasis on photographing New Zealand’s amazing birds and scenery, the ask us about our Photo Tour itinerary.
If you are interested in this tour, please check the full information on the Birding Tour page.
We have developed a Photo Tour that is designed first and foremost for photographers who are interested in capturing as much of New Zealand’s wildlife, particularly the endemic and native birds, and scenic beauty as possible. Therefore, we will be up earlier, out later, and spend longer in fewer locations per day to maximise our chance of capturing incredible images. If you are a keen photographer, and want to also encounter great photographic opportunities with New Zealand birds, marine mammals, and scenery then this is the tour for you! If you feel this tour might be a little too oriented towards photography and your primary passion is birding, and you want to absolutely maximise the number of endemic and native species you see, then ask us about our Birding Tour itinerary.
If you are interested in this tour, please check the full information on the Photo Tour page.
We have developed a Wildlife Tour that is designed for people who have a general interest in all things Natural History – that is both flora and fauna – but also have an interest in seeing New Zealand’s spectacular scenery, and getting to see a little of its geological and cultural background. If you feel this tour might lack the birding focus you want, and maximising the number of endemic and native bird species you will see, then ask us about our Birding Tour itinerary. Likewise, if photography is a passion and you would like a tour with an emphasis on photographing New Zealand’s amazing birds and scenery, then ask us about our Photo Tour itinerary.
Currently we do not schedule these tours, but run them on an as needed basis. If you are interested in this tour, please check the full information on the Wildlife Tour page.
Planned and custom-built tours
We offer a range of tours for up to 8 people at a time, as outlined above, and these all have a schedule of planned tour dates on each of their relevant web pages. See those pages for scheduled dates.
However, we can custom-build tours of any length around New Zealand, and even put together something to include the Chatham Islands or other New Zealand Sub-antarctic islands (see below). We would like to emphasise that our aim is to provide the travelling birder, wildlife enthusiast, or photographer with whatever it is that they desire. Thus, small parties (of 2 – 4, or more) are welcome, and we can offer a variety of accommodation types (from backpackers to luxury) to suit your needs, and indeed, your pocket. Obviously, prices will vary with tour length, location, and number of people, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how little you need to spend to take advantage of our services – we really do represent excellent value for money.
Custom-made tours are availability dependent – during the peak season (Nov-Feb) all of our guides may already be busy, so it pays to contact us as far in advance as possible. But the benefit is you will have the chance to tailor the trip to concentrate on aspects of your choice. Perhaps you are a seabird fanatic and want to do a series of pelagic trips, a shorebird nut that wants to ensure a good variety of waders, or someone solely interested in our endemic landbirds – how about a tour dedicated to finding the 5 generally recognised species of Kiwi? The options are virtually endless and we are more than happy to accommodate whatever plan suits you best.
Since many of New Zealand’s special birds and wildlife occur in places of great natural beauty, we shall always be able to show off our scenic splendour, and all our guides have a wide interest in natural history – so will be keen to show you native fauna and flora as well as the birds which are our main targets. We are birders first and foremost and have an unrivalled, up to date, knowledge of where the birds are and how to find them, but we all love other wildlife and New Zealand’s incredible scenery. Email us and tell us how you would like to see this wonderful country and it’s birds – and we will make it happen for you.
The New Zealand Sub-antarctic is an incredible place to visit, with incredible seabird colonies, history, spectacular isolation, and the great Southern Ocean! All this makes for a very memorable trip! We have worked for a number of years onboard ships operating in this region, and just love getting back there. There are a range of options available, so please email us with your interest and we will make it happen for you. Sub-antarctic trips include visits to the following islands, with tours of varying lengths, visiting different island groups. The ‘best’ trip is one that includes all of them, generally planned for November of each year –
- The Snares
- Auckland Islands
- Campbell Island
- Macquarie Island
- The Antipodes
- The Bounties
- Chatham Islands
Seeing New Zealand by Cruise Ship is becoming more and more popular, and often these trips allow Guests to leave the ship for most of the day in various Ports. We have a number of Guides based around New Zealand, who are able to offer day-tours from various cities, and these include –
- Kerikeri/Bay of Islands
- Christchurch (Lyttelton & Akaroa)
- Stewart Island
Pre-trip planning and site advice
Good birding sites come and go, populations ebb and flow. Printed site guides are woefully inadequate, inaccurate, and quickly out of date. Many visiting birders will not feel the need to use a full guiding service, but our up-to-the-minute New Zealand birding knowledge will be invaluable, and is available in the form of a Pre-trip consultancy. We are willing and able to provide a range of services as detailed below:
- Full itinerary planning: Let us know how long you have in New Zealand, what your birding aims are, and the style of accommodation required. We will do the rest.
- Additional site/species information once you have an itinerary: We can advise on fine tuning an itinerary that you have made, with specific site information – particularly useful for avoiding wild goose chases to sites no longer supporting ‘advertised’ species, or pointing out extra (or better) sites nearer to a planned route.
- Difficult species advice: How to maximise your chances of finding the more elusive New Zealand endemics. Tell us which species are important to you, and we will tell you how to find them.
- NZ Rarities: Though many NZ rarities have more appeal to New Zealand birders, there are several that will be of great interest to visitors. For example, few would want to drive past a vagrant Penguin of any species, and many visitors will desire some of the rare migrant shorebirds that are often present for whole seasons. We have a finger on the pulse of the NZ rarity scene better than anyone, and will share that knowledge with you, even going so far as to call or email you as you do your tour.
- General advice: Weather, tide times, driving times, accommodation, best time of day for a site, alternative routes/sites when plans have to change, there are a multitude of things that you might want to know – and we have all the answers.
- Post-trip – What was that bird? If you want our opinion on any birds that you are unable to identify, or are uncertain about, please email us during a trip, or after your trip and we will do our best. (No charge for this).
Our charges for these services are worked out on a basis of how much work we put in, at a rate of NZ$50 per hour. Tell us exactly what you want and we will quote a price for the service.
Email us for more information.