By watching whales and dolphins up close or meeting an elusive flightless kiwi bird, these animal encounters bring New Zealand wildlife closer to you than ever.
Swim with wild dusky dolphins off Kaikoura or spot Hector’s dolphin (the world’s smallest) on a marine mammal cruise! Or experience various fascinating animals at Auckland Zoo or Pukaha National Wildlife Centre.
Whale watching tours in New Zealand are a must-do experience for any visitor to this island nation, as its waters comprise the fourth-largest marine territory on the globe and form part of their migration route. From watching Giant Sperm Whales perform in Kaikoura all year-round to Orcas jumping around Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park; whales of all sizes await!
Get on board a 65ft (20m) catamaran conveniently docked at Viaduct Basin in central Auckland for an amazing eco-safari in Hauraki Gulf Marine Park! Relax on its spacious deck or comfortable lounges as you pass iconic Auckland landmarks including Auckland city, Harbour Bridge, North Head/Devonport and Rangitoto Island en route. Be on the lookout for Bottlenose Dolphins, Orca Whales as well as Seals and rare seabirds along this amazing journey.
Join an enthusiastic marine research team on board and witness first-hand their efforts to safeguard Auckland’s whales and dolphins for future generations. Get involved with activities such as secchi disc drops, plankton scooping and microplastic sampling to collect important scientific data.
Experience Hector’s Dolphins – New Zealand’s rare and endangered dolphin species – firsthand by swimming with them at Akaroa Harbour. You’re guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime encounter that’ll leave you smiling with lasting memories!
Experience New Zealand’s stunning marine wildlife up close on this world-class whale and dolphin safari, departing daily from downtown Auckland for a four hour cruise into Hauraki Gulf Marine Park – one of the world’s best hotspots for marine mammal watching – where you can spot over 10 species, such as humpback, Bryde’s southern right dolphin, minke pilot Hector bottlenose dolphins as well as seals and rare seabirds!
Discover Auckland’s tranquil waters aboard the comfortable 65ft (20m) catamaran ‘Dolphin Explorer’ to spot whales, dolphins, seals and other marine wildlife! Learn from on-board marine-research scientists as you participate in interactive studies such as secchi disc drops, plankton sampling or micro plastic sampling; every ticket purchased through Dolphin Explorer contributes towards marine-mammal conservation efforts!
Make time to explore the stunning Bay of Islands, home to an abundance of marine life in its warm, sheltered waters. Spotting common and bottlenose dolphins – as well as Hector’s and mackerel dolphins that may be rarer – as well as geothermal wonders at Maori villages is easy, while Tiritiri Matangi Island provides an opportunity to discover rare species unique to this natural paradise. Plus you’ll visit Weta Workshop for an exclusive tour behind Hollywood blockbusters Lord of The Rings and Avatar in Wellington on an exclusive tour at Weta Workshop!
Sea kayaking is a fantastic way to experience New Zealand wildlife first-hand in its natural setting. Experienced guiding companies provide equipment and assistance while paddling through some of the country’s most stunning terrain, swimming with dolphins or whale-watching being among the many marine experiences, while tours to remote kiwi islands showcase local bird life and tribal history – with Tiritiri Matangi Island known for its world-renowned conservation success story, Rotorua’s geothermal wonders Te Puia or Maori culture at traditional villages offering Maori culture as part of their tour experience; while Auckland hosts tours of special effects studio Weta Workshop which produced blockbuster films such as Lord of the Rings or Avatar!
Sea kayaking provides the opportunity to discover hidden bays, beaches and rocky coastlines at your own pace. Experience nature up close as she goes about its daily business while being guided by your kayak through an extraordinary ocean landscape complemented by pristine sand dunes, lush forests and rugged mountains – it truly brings life and colour into its truest form!
Wildlife-spotting kayak trips can be found all across New Zealand, but our favorite routes involve paddling from Akaroa to Whale Island (Te Kauwae-a-Maui Gannet Reserve) where Australasia’s largest mainland colony of Little Penguins live along with stunning cliffs. Or for something a little more challenging try our six day Dusky Sound kayaking adventure that takes you deep into Fiordland wilderness under expert guiding.
Experience New Zealand wildlife on one of the best nature tours available worldwide. Spot Hector’s dolphins from historic French village Akaroa or cruise Doubtful Sound to see albatross in Kaikoura; get close to penguins and seals from Dunedin or Christchurch tours; discover rare endemic bird species at Tiritiri Matangi Island’s conservation success story while viewing rare geothermal wonders in Rotorua or witness geothermal activity there; immerse yourself in Maori culture by visiting tribal villages or witness geothermal wonders from Dunedin or Christchurch tours! Don’t miss keas – world only alpine parrots that exist only within Milford Sound tours!
There are also plenty of safaris on offer in New Zealand that explore its diverse wildlife and wilderness, from Quokkas on Rottnest Island to swimming with wild dolphins off New Zealand’s coastline – there is something here for everyone.
Zealandia(opens in new window), near Wellington, provides the ideal place to observe rare New Zealand native wildlife free from introduced pests. Stroll through its 1 square mile of regenerating forest encased by an innovative pest-proof fence to meet species like kaka, tuatara (a living fossil reptile), saddleback, hihi and others. Or for an even more memorable experience book a nighttime track and spot Kiwis or other nocturnal NZ animals under the stars – Kapiti Island off southwest coast of North Island or Stewart Islands may host guided nighttime tours where you might spot Rakiura Tokoeka; visit Kapiti Island off west coast North Island to look out for Rakiura Tokoeka.