Take a look below to see comments from some of our happy clients…
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.
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…
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.
I arrived in Auckland on Feb 28th and I was picked up by Brent Stephenson the next day for the 4 hour drive up to the North Cape for the annual Three Kings Pelagic Trip run by Brent and Sav Saville the owner/operators of Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ.
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 Hauraki 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.
New Zealand is a great destination for birders. It is easy to drive in the country, the language is English, the food is delicious, and one can drink the water! But nothing enhances a visit to New Zealand like local knowledge. Experienced birders know the value of local knowledge, and are well aware of the problems caused when trying to bird without it. Many birders attempt to plan their trips themselves and visit New Zealand unassisted, generally to save money. I believe this is a mistake, because any savings will be quickly offset by wasted time, missed species, and the frustration of not knowing what to do in the event of a disruption of the plan. The cost of getting to New Zealand is not low, and so opportunities to see New Zealand’s endemic species can’t afford to be lost. I heartily recommend Wrybill Tours NZ Ltd, operated by my friends Sav Saville and Brent Stephenson, as a local tour operator to assist with your visit to New Zealand. As you know, glitches on birding trips are almost inevitable, but Sav and Brent are masters at overcoming these with almost no inconvenience. Even major weather-related problems, such as gale force winds on our 2011 tour that cost us a day, were overcome by Sav to the extent that we didn’t miss any species on Stewart Island. I have run 9 birding trips to New Zealand, the last 3 with Wrybill, and the trips just get better and better. If you use the services of Wrybill Tours, you will maximize your New Zealand birding experience.
We had a superb tour with Neil and David. So impressed with their knowledge and especially the calm, organised approach by Neil. They worked their socks off for us! Words can’t relay just how much we enjoyed the tour, it went beyond our expectations both in the number of birds seen and the beauty of New Zealand.
I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our birding experience with Andrew. Andrew is clearly very knowledgeable of the flora and fauna in New Zealand. Having worked so closely with the governing bodies in New Zealand, he is also able to provide an interesting insight into the travails of habitat preservation. It was a very informative and fun trip. Andrew is a good companion as well as guide. He worked very hard to get us to key South Island species and even when we didn’t find the bird, the chase was fun.
The South Island territory we traveled was exceptionally beautiful. There are few times I have seen as many stars as we did on a moonless night in the Mackinzie Basin. I’m sure we will visit New Zealand again and with more time to spend doing it.
Thanks for putting together a memorable experience for us.
Thank you for a terrific holiday , I cannot fault it at all . The Stewart Island Pelagic was my favourite day and all your special birds exceeded my expectations. The scenery was fantastic, specially those ancient forests.
My wife and I together with another couple, have just returned from an amazing 4-week birding trip to New Zealand.
We self-guided and drove ourselves, but Sav from Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ, booked: 2 Kiwi tours, a boat trip into the Marlborough Sounds and the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi for us in advance. Sav also provided a lot of site information and advice on how to get the most out of our trip, as well as up to date info whilst we were on the tour itself.
I would certainly recommend using Sav and Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ, with help in planning a trip to New Zealand.
Can’t imagine a better birder to lead a trip than Sav, and with the best connections, at the best sites across the country. And if you have an ‘interesting’ trip like ours, you want to go with Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ, because like a good pilot, he always has, or will find, a solution….whether it is flooded roads, highways blocked by landslides, or the chaos caused by all major highways being closed due to flooding. In the latter case, he knew the main airports would be jammed, so he found us seats on a private charter service to get us to our connecting flights to get back to the States.
And as an aside – always good food, good lodging, and great conversations throughout. Oh, yeah….we found some birds too!! I’d recommend Sav and Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ to anyone that wants a great tour.
Thanks so much!
Together with my brother and a friend I made an extensive 4-week birding trip to New Zealand. I can only say that without the assistance and organisation of Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ and especially Sav Saville this trip would certainly not have been so successful.
They organised 4 pelagic trips, the boat trip into the Marlborough sound, the trip to Ulva Island from Stewart Island , the Kiwi tour on Stewart Island and booked our stay at Tiritiri Matangi. Further they provided us with plenty of practical, logistical info and the latest info about birding sites.
I can highly recommend Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ to any serious birder planning to bird this country.
I cannot describe how helpful this approach was, and more specifically how helpful Sav was. Brilliant. Thanks again Sav!
Barb and I want to let you (Brent) know what a great time we had on the recent 21 Day New Zealand Bird Tour we took with you. It was everything we expected and more. While the tour schedule was busy it was well worth the sacrifice. New Zealand is a unique and wonderful country and we could not think of a better way to experience it. Our trip included 162 bird species! There is no way we could have done this ourselves. Your experience, knowledge and passion for New Zealand and its wildlife made this possible. Thank you very much!
We got home yesterday to more than a foot of snow and cold temperatures. Perhaps we should have stayed in New Zealand a bit longer…..
If you’re contemplating a birding trip to New Zealand, go with the experts: Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ. Sav, our guide, was excellent, not only at finding the birds, but ensuring an enjoyable trip.
Sav Saville has this 21-day birding tour of New Zealand down to a science. Accommodations and meals were excellent, birding and scenery exceeded all expectations.
Sav Saville of Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ, helped us plan our very successful birding trip to New Zealand in November/December 2018. He gave us detailed information on our optimum itinerary and recommendations on accommodation throughout. All this together with extremely helpful information on where to find the special birds we were after. We also joined the excellent Wrybill pelagic trip in the Hauraki Gulf (the Whitianga pelagic we had also booked was sadly cancelled due to bad weather – next time ! ).
Sav and Matt Jones also provided us with valuable real time birding information while we were in New Zealand on a couple of key species.
We would not hesitate to recommend Wrybill very strongly to anyone thinking of planning a DIY birding trip to New Zealand. Their pelagics are also highly recommended. Wrybill’s wealth of experience and first rate knowledge of their territory is all made available at a very reasonable price.
As you predicted, the 21-Day Bird Tour I took recently was terrific. The tour itself, my travel companions and, especially, our guide Neil, exceeded my expectations. We saw all I’d hoped to see and more. Neil worked very hard to make sure we all got good looks at all the birds, so that each sighting was a quality experience.
We used Wrybill Tours Birding Tours, NZ for planning our highly succesful birding trip to New Zealand. They were extremely helpful and replied to eMails always very soon. We also participated on Wrybill pelagic trips at Whitianga and Stewart Island.
Sav provided us with itinerary for the whole tour and directions to birding sites. We were also in contact during our trip and got up-to-date information on a few species. He was also extremely helpful in providing quickly a plan B when there were some mostly weather-related problems during the trip and saved valuable birding time.
I can warmly recommend Sav and Wrybill Birding Tours when planning a trip to New Zealand. Also the pelagic trips by Wrybill tours – they are awesome and undoubtly worth the money!
It was our first time in New Zealand and we wanted to plan a birding and hiking adventure. Sav Saville helped us draft an itinerary that met our needs. He provided lodging recommendations, information about hiking, and great information on where to see birds (particularly endemics) in the places we were going. Even while we were in New Zealand traveling he helped us out. It was an amazing service and made planning our vacation and the vacation itself so easy and fun. Plus we saw lots of birds! Thanks Wrybill!
I didn’t want more time to go by before telling you what a delightful time we had with Phil Hammond. Prior to arrival, he was quick to respond to all of my emails (which is so appreciated when trying to plan such a trip) and the logistics he suggested worked out perfectly. Not only is he an expert on your NZ birds, but a pleasure to be around. The whole Tiritiri Matangi experience was great but, then, after our return to the mainland he generously followed us all the way back to our hotel near the airport and took us to see Wrybills! We had missed these special birds and we are so appreciate his extra efforts.
I spent three weeks birding in NZ. I belonged to a Wrybill group guided by Sav Saville. The tour was extremely well organized and guided. Thanks to this we found almost all possible important species. What I believe was exceptional is that we all now know almost all the species which we saw. For an amateur birder like me this has not been normal on my other birding tours. For this we can thank Sav who was able to teach us the differences between different species.
Besides birding we had a chance to know and learn about an amazingly beautiful country and it’s delicious food. in total the tour was a great experience to me.
Thank you for one of the best tours which I have had.
The experience met and exceeded all my expectations. Phil Hammond was professional, friendly, helpful, patient and a truly excellent birder – always enthusiastic and diligent in ensuring we saw all the endemics and specials. I will always remember the Fiordland crested penguin as a particular highlight – but one of many.
Thanks to Wrybill Birding Tours, our trip to New Zealand in October 2013 was a great success and great fun. Sav Saville created a mostly self-guided itinerary that allowed us to make the most of the visit, both in terms of seeing the country’s specialty birds and spectacular scenery. From pre-trip planning to up-to-date site advice and several days of guided birding by members of the Wrybill team along the way, we were deeply impressed by the expertise, professionalism and friendly support throughout. Thanks to everyone involved!
Just a note to say thanks for organising our recent trip to NZ. Object of the exercise was to see as many endems as possible & we certainly managed this with Wrybill’s help. All of Sav’s logistics worked well & the accommodation was just where we needed to be for our next target species. Really enjoyed our Stewart Island Pelagic with Brent, one of our many trip highlights. No hesitation in recommending Wrybill to anybody else contemplating a similar trip.
First of all I want to thank our Audubon Society for meeting, interviewing and travelling with Brent and then writing to tell us readers about his discovery.
Right from the start Brent was professional, informative, instructive, patient and even funny. What more can one ask for – his ability to locate birds – amazing. Overall the best birding experience of my life. Brent went above and beyond to make this possible. I wish ‘Wrybill’ the very best with all their future endeavours.
I had a chance to go on a birding trip to New Zealand in November 2011. If anyone wants to see New Zealand endemic species and/or southern hemisphere seabirds, I highly recommend you use Wrybill Birding Tours. Sav Saville of Wrybill Birding Tours was our leader and is an extremely accomplished bird finder, identifier, and organizer overall. Our accommodations were all clean, generally spacious and in ideal scenic locations. The places arranged for us to eat all served excellent food and included a variety of ethnic cuisine. All of the pelagic trips were successful in getting close up views of at least 8 albatross species, excellent looks at storm petrels, shearwaters, prions, skuas and penguins. We had good looks at four of the five kiwi species, rock wren, brown creeper, stitchbird, both saddleback species and the rare New Zealand dotterel and shore plover to name a few. The best experience I have had with a birding tour company.
Following your recommendation to do an independent camper car birding tour with organizational help of Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ was a perfect decision and a lot of value for very little money. We enjoyed visiting all the great birding places all over New Zealand. Without the help of you we might have been able to find several of the good sites, but we never would have been that successful in finding all the birds within the three weeks (e.g. we would have failed on Buff-banded Rail, Australasian Grebe, Black Stilt and several others). Highlights were clearly the Kiwi tours and especially the pelagics. Without the incredible experience and persistence of Brent most likely we would be still running around Tiritiri Matangi and searching for the Little spotted Kiwi. Doing the pelagics with Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ was clearly the very best decision we could make. Not only the organization of the 5 boat trips was very efficient and saved a lot of time but having Brent as a world class seabirding expert on board and therefore being able to see much more birds and learn to distinguish tricky species was an impressive experience. Last but not least Frauke and I enjoyed it during the full three weeks to meet Brent (again and again on the tour 🙂 ) with his special sense of humor.
My husband and I spent three weeks birding New Zealand with Sav Saville as our guide. He knew where every species was to be found and although some required more effort than others we saw all the endemic species and many more. The pelagic tours are unrivaled elsewhere. The boat operators knew where to go and the petrels, shearwaters, albatross and more were there. The sheer number of albatross seen around the boat at one time on the Stewart Island tour was amazing. Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ and Sav Saville can’t be beat.
Great food, great wine.
We got rewarding views of difficult endemics because of Sav’s expertise and patience.
Fun country, fun trip.
Our New Zealand birding tour was booked with Wrybill after an internet search on NZ birding. In addition to birding we wanted to see the country and experience some of the culture. We found the tour exceeded our expectations. Sav Saville is an expert birder, especially on seabirds, and is also very knowledgeable on New Zealand and the life there. We sense that his tours can be adapted to any level of birding. The tour accommodations, travel, lodging and dining were very comfortable and a good value. The tour was one of the best we have encountered and we highly recommend Wrybill Tours.
An excellent birding trip to NZ was had with Wrybill Tours led by Sav Saville. All of the available endemics (including 4 species of Kiwi’s) were seen well in a thoroughly professional yet relaxed manner. Unbelieveable views of seabirds including 10 NZ storm petrels. – Highly recommended.
With “Wrybill” birders are birding often on the brink of extinction with so many endemics and endangered birds on offer. We were able to see all the available endemics on this trip plus fantastic pelagics seeing at close quarters NZ Stormy, 4 species of Kiwi with a 5th heard, and great food, drink and accommodation. Wrybill offer birding to suit most budgets and itineraries either for 3 weeks or just a few days. We would recommend Wrybill to any birders, they are clearly the best NZ Birding Tour operators!
Recommended for the seasoned veteran as well as the budding rookie birder. I’m definitely a member of the latter group. I’ll go out birding with my wife and others, but I often have trouble viewing the birds as well as others and can rarely identify anything. Sav’s trip was much better than I’d expected. He’s a master at finding the different bird species and makes sure that everyone in the group gets a good look at the birds he’s found. And the trip wasn’t “birds, birds, birds” 24 hours a day. Every place we went there was a chance to enjoy New Zealand’s magnificent scenery and to learn something about the history of this amazing island country. I came away from the trip with an enhanced appreciation for birding as well as a deep respect for those who have taken up this activity. If you get a chance, don’t miss this tour — you’ll never regret it.
I had the great pleasure of spending a month birding New Zealand in November and December, 2007. I felt privileged to have Sav Saville as a guide. His knowledge of New Zealand’s birds is unmatched. And his ability to show them utilizing his “ten foot rule” is amazing. This is to say, you’ll see most birds within a range of ten feet!
As wonderful as these skills are, I was also very impressed by Sav’s logistical skills. Our trip was well-planned and thought out. But never rigid, Sav was able to deviate from our schedule when a good bird showed up.
Acting as our driver also, our group was constantly entertained by endless tales recounted by a master entertainer.
Sav worked hard to show our group the birds of New Zealand. In fact, our group set a trip list record of 158. This simply wouldn’t have happened without his effort.
I am personally grateful to Sav for his work with our group and would strongly recommend him to anyone seeking a premiere experience in New Zealand.
We just finished three of the best weeks that I have ever spent, birding all of New Zealand with Sav. Every aspect of the trip was organized to the fullest, so all of our time could be spent birding. As a result, we set a new record of 158 species seen in a three week period. Sav is extremely knowledgeable about all of New Zealand and the birds there, especially the pelagic birds. Were I to take another trip to NZ, I’d go with Sav. “Nuff” said!!!
Several years ago, I made it my goal to find every bird family. Because I was getting very close, it was with particular care and diligent research that I chose Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ to help me with my quest. New Zealand was to bring me down to three bird families to go. There could not have been a better decision. Brent and Sav are professional, dedicated, excellent birders. They know every nook and cranny of New Zealand and just never gave up. We spent 21 days seeing everything we could have hoped to see and more. I especially appreciated the amount of time that both Brent and Sav spent teaching us about the birds, especially on the pelagic trips we took. I learned so much! It is my firm belief that our group was so very fortunate to have birded with the two best birders, and had so much fun along the way. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Wrybill and hope to be back again.
We not only saw the birds we had hoped to, we saw them very well.
Thank you Sav for one of the best holidays I have had – great birds and scenery and as for the weather!
The best birding trip I’ve ever had – the birds, the scenery and amazing value for money. Sav’s in-depth knowledge of where to find the birds was superb. A totally unforgettable experience.
We just spent 18 days with WBT and saw nearly every possible species in NZ. Brent and Sav were great leaders – so knowledgeable and so much fun to be with. Choosing Wrybill was the right decision and we will recommend them to all our friends. Thanks so much.
We enjoyed our week with Brent very much. He is a superior birder.
Excellent experience with a professional birder and photographer. Brent is also concerned about the welfare of the birds and environment. Definitely will recommend to others.
My husband and I are amateur and inexperienced birders. Brent was able to give us a fun and educational tour that made us want to learn more. I recommend his services for anyone from beginner to enthusiast, to scholar.
Highly recommended. Brent showed us around most of the North & South Islands over a two-week period. He is very professional, very knowledgeable about NZ natural history as well as a terrific birder. Consequently, we saw most every bird there is to see. Best of all he is a great guy and we had lots of fun.
My experience with Wrybill Tours was nothing but positive. The two days of guided birding were a huge success, and your itinerary reflected your up-to-the-minute knowledge of the nation’s birding scene. Thank you for devising the perfect trip for my particular birding style.
Well done, guys! Our tour was professionally run and the bird finding and knowledge of the birds was excellent. Brent was a joy to bird with and loads of fun to boot!
Due to limitations on birding time during my vacation in NZ, I contacted Wrybill Birding Tours to assist me on a dedicated days birding in the Napier area of the North Island. Brent accompanied me on the day and took me to places I wouldn’t have even considered. Our day was from estuary to inland forest where his valued identification experience and local knowledge contributed to a most successful and exciting day which included 20 endemic species.
We were very pleased and impressed with your level of expertise and also liked that we could take our time.’
‘You located lots of birds, brought many of them right to us for easy viewing, are extremely knowledgeable about local places to find them, were resourceful about finding them, you were fun and interesting and easy to be with’
‘Starting the trip out with your guidance gave us a strong base and the confidence to go out and bird on our own, which was very helpful.