17522
New Zealand

Birding New Zealand

Some of the most unique and exciting birding happens in New Zealand. Come discover why as you learn from experts while exploring diverse ecosystems and spotting kiwis, kakapos and more.
Rating (5)
Program No. 17522RJ
Length
20 days
Starts at
6,499
Flights start at
975
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20 days
19 nights
48 meals
17 B 1BR 15 L 15 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
In Transit to Program continues, crossing Int’l Dateline
In Flight

Activity note: A day is “lost” due to crossing the International Dateline

DAY
3
Visit Cornwall Park & Mt. Eden / Ornithologist Lecture
Auckland
BR,D
President Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. Some walking and standing during field trip.

Morning: Arrive Auckland International Airport. Coach to Cornwall Park. This is a delightful arboretum with both native and exotic trees where a number of bird species will be seen quite clearly.

Brunch: At a local cafe, we will have a plated brunch, with choices such as a hot egg dish, pancakes, sausage and breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Coach to Mt.Eden for overview of Auckland city, a great opportunity to enjoy a vista of the country's largest city, which is set between two magnificent harbours. Coach to hotel and check-in. Before dinner there will be an Introductory Lecture (with power-point presentation) by a leading Ornithologist from the University.

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant, where we'll choose from a two-course set menu with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
4
Visit to Bird Sanctuary Island
Auckland
B,L,D
President Hotel

Activity note: Walk on city pavement (10 mins). Getting on/off a ferry. Tiritiri Matangi Island: walk on paths, uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Walk to ferry terminal (10 mins). Board ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island (Bird Sanctuary) for an all-day guided field trip to view native birds (some rare & endangered).This island, which is only a 60-minute trip from Auckland, is regarded by many as the highlight of this program as there are several species which you are unlikely to see elsewhere. It was planted in native trees by enthusiastic volunteers some 50 years ago and is largely run by docents.

Lunch: At the Visitor Center, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Free time to walk on Island. Meet at ferry terminal at 3:30 p.m. for ferry back to Auckland & walk to hotel.

Dinner: 6.15 pm: Gather in lobby for walk to local restaurant for dinner; a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
View On-Shore Gannet Colony
Auckland
B,L
President Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Some walking and standing during field trip.

Breakfast: At the hotel, buffet-style

Morning: Coach to Muriwai Beach area for guided field trip with Department of Conservation Officer to view an on-shore gannet colony, one of very few on-shore gannet colonies in the world. The viewing sites are well placed and access paths are sited to bring participants really close to these magnificent birds. The coastal views from this area are also quite delightful.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Muriwai Beach and sand dunes walk.. Return to hotel. Then FREE TIME

Dinner: Dinner: Own choice to sample local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Visit noted Shorebird Centre
Miranda
B,L,D
Rolleston Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Some walking and standing during field trip.

Breakfast: At the hotel, buffet-style.

Morning: Coach to Miranda Shorebird Centre. Introductory Lecture by Director & view exhibits. Miranda, on the Thames Estuary, is the principal viewing area in New Zealand for wading and shorebirds, many of these being migratory, particularly the godwit, which flies from Alaska. As the colonies are sometimes at quite a distance, depending on the tides, several telescopes with tripods will be supplied.

Lunch: At the Visitor Center, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Short coach trip & walk to shorebird viewing area for guided field trip (schedule based on tidal situation). Coach to motel & check-in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Scenic coach trip to Turangi via Rotorua
Turangi
B,L,D
Parklands Motor Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Road trip: Thames to Rotorua - 2 hrs, 97 mi (156 km), Rotorua to Turangi - 1 hr 45 mins, 81 mi (131 km). Some walking and standing during field trip.

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll have a pre-ordered plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Board coach for trip to Rotorua. This is a very popular centre for tourists as it is situated on the Volcanic Plateau and is the site of a large lake and considerable geo-thermal activity, some of which is harnessed for electricity production. It is also the principal centre in New Zealand for Maori culture. Visit Te Puia Maori Centre for cultural performance & lecture. Also view geothermal area and Kiwi House.

Lunch: At the Visitor Center, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Coach to Turangi on the edge of Lake Taupo and view native birds from lake shore. Check into Motor Lodge.

Dinner: At the Motor Lodge, we’ll have a two-course, plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
View River Estuary Shorebirds / Coach to Wellington
Wellington
B,L,D
West Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Short walk along paved pathway. Road trip: Turangi to Wellington - 4 hrs, 200 mi (322 km).

Breakfast: At the lodge, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Board coach for transfer to Wellington. Short stop at birding site en route, the Manawatu River Estuary (dependent on tides), where local birding enthusiasts will guide us.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Continue coach trip with stop en route for dinner and possible viewing of seabirds.

Dinner: At a restaurant in a sea-side location, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Arrive Wellington. Check in to hotel.

DAY
9
Field trip to Zealandia Bird Sanctuary & Native Reserve
Wellington
B
West Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Zealandia: walk on paved paths or well-formed tracks, gently uphill and downhill. Te Papa Museum: some walking and standing.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Coach to Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary for guided walk through wooded area to view native birds. Zealandia is a safe haven for endangered native birds and other wildlife. The sanctuary is surrounded by a predator-proof fence, protecting wildlife within the forest as it gradually regenerates to its pre-human state — estimated to take 500 years! Then coach to Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum and Art Gallery of New Zealand to view exhibits at your own discretion. Te Papa is dedicated to preserving and presenting the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand's peoples and to interpreting the country's heritage for national and international audiences.

Lunch: Lunch: own choice.

Afternoon: FREE TIME

Dinner: Dinner own choice, to sample local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Ferry to South Island / Field trip to view harbour birds.
Picton
B,L,D
Jasmine Court Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle; on/off a ferry; on/off a bus; on/off a boat.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a boxed breakfast of Danish pastries & croissant, meat & cheese sandwich/vegetarian sandwich, juice and fresh fruit, in our rooms before check-out.

Morning: We will check-out by 7.00 a.m. and transfer by shuttle bus to the ferry terminal, then take the scheduled ferry passenger service to Picton via Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds. The three-hour crossing from the North to the South Island is picturesque, featuring panoramic views of Wellington City and Harbour as we depart, dramatic rocky coastal shorelines and, once across Cook Strait, stunning, bush-clad hills and bays as we meander through the labyrinthine waterways of the Marlborough Sounds. There is plenty of opportunity to observe some of New Zealand’s many seabird species and look out for dolphins and whales. The Group Leaders will provide commentary and points of interest along the way. Picton, in the Queen Charlotte Sound of the Marlborough Sounds, is an important port town serving as the South Island terminal for the busy inter-island ferry service. Picton, and nearby Blenheim, are the major towns in the Marlborough region that is notable for the production of world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc wine and other varietals, as well as green-lipped mussels and high sunshine hours. On arrival, coach to motel & check in. .

Lunch: At a local café, we’ll have a plated meal pre-ordered from a range of wraps, rolls, sandwiches, savoury quiches and pies, and salads; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Coach to harbour to board ferry for field trip to Blumine Island to view harbour seabirds with expert instructor. Return to motel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
11
Coach to Kaikoura, Birding Opportunities
Kaikoura
B,L,D
Panorama Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Road trip: 2 hrs 15 mins, 97 mi (156 km).

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll have a pre-ordered plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Coach to Kaikoura with birding stops en route, at Taylor's Dam & Lake Elterwater.

Lunch: When coach stops at Ward, we'll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Arrive at Kaikoura, a small coastal town which has become very popular with tourists on account of a very busy whale & dolphin watching industry. It is also a mecca for birders on account of the numerous pelagic birds in the area. Check in to motel on arrival. Then enjoy a birding field trip at the seal colony with a local guide & possible sighting of little blue penguins.

Dinner: Dinner will be a special treat with local families, hosted in the home of a long-time resident.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Field trip on specialist vessel to view pelagic birds.
Kaikoura
B,L,D
Panorama Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off a boat. Peninsular Walk: track is mostly well-formed.

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll have a pre-ordered plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Board coach to Albatross Encounter Centre, for transport to South Bay Harbour. Board vessel for viewing of pelagic birds (albatross, petrel, shearwater, etc). Return to Kaikoura.

Lunch: At a local café, we’ll have a plated meal pre-ordered from a range of wraps, rolls, sandwiches, savoury quiches and pies, and salads; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Coach to South Bay to start of famed Peninsula Walk, with birding opportunities en route. Arrive Kaikoura and coach return to motel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
13
Coach to foothills of Southern Alps.
Staveley
B,L,D
Rata Escape Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Road trip: 3.5 hrs, 172 mi (278 km). Walking over varied terrain.

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll have a pre-ordered plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Board coach for Rangiora & Staveley.

Lunch: At a local café, we’ll have a plated meal pre-ordered from a range of wraps, rolls, sandwiches, savoury quiches and pies, and salads; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Birding at Ashley River Estuary with local expert. Coach to Staveley via Inland Scenic Route. 6:00 p.m. Arrive Staveley. Check in to private lodges and meet our hosts.

Dinner: With local residents in private lodges.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Birding field trip to Arthur's Pass National Park
Staveley
B,L,D
Rata Escape Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Some walking and standing during field trip. Road trip: 4 hrs, 200 mi (320 km) total, out and back.

Breakfast: At our lodges, we’ll have a plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Board coach for day-trip to Arthur's Pass.This is the highest pass of the Southern Alps, which dominate the island like a backbone and contain some of the country's highest peaks. Here, we expect to see some alpine bird species, particularly the kea.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: Return to private lodges.

Dinner: Dinner at lodges.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
15
Twizel via Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park
Twizel
B,L,D
Mackenzie Country Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Some walking and standing during field trip. Road trip: 4 hrs, 196 mi (316 km).

Breakfast: At our lodges, plated breakfast choice

Morning: Board coach for journey to Twizel, visiting Aoraki Mt. Cook (New Zealand's highest) National Park en route. There will also be stops for birding opportunities at various other points.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit (provided by Staveley hosts).

Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
16
Coach to Bluff / Ferry to Stewart Island
Half-Moon Bay
B,L,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off a ferry. Road trip: 4 hr 45 min, 242 mi (389 km).

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Today we will take a coach to Bluff, by way of Invercargill. Bluff is the departure port for the ferry across Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we arrive at Bluff and board a high-speed ferry to Stewart Island. Travel time on the ferry is approximately one hour. Arrive at Half-Moon Bay and disembark, where a shuttle will take us to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Bush Walk: Pelagic Birds
Half-Moon Bay
B,L,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Walking on well-formed forest trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese, yogurt, fresh-baked croissants, bread, cereals, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Our leader will take us on a bush walk, quite close to Oban, to view various bird species.

Lunch: In our hotel rooms, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: FREE TIME

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: NOTE: An optional viewing of kiwi at night is available (at extra cost).

DAY
18
Pelagic boat trip, Ulva Island visit
Half-Moon Bay
B,L,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat. Ulva Island: walk on native bush tracks, well-formed, some steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel, breakfast buffet.

Morning: Board specialist vessel for pelagic birding field trip. There will be plenty of opportunity to view at close range species of the magnificent albatross, molymawk, petrel, skua, tern, shearwater and many more seabirds endemic to New Zealand.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in the field, we’ll have a packed lunch with a sandwich, roll or wrap, muffin or sweet treat and piece of fruit.

Afternoon: This afternoon we travel to Ulva Island Native Bird Sanctuary, in sheltered waters. This sanctuary is very highly regarded and is visited by birders from all over New Zealand. Some of our rarer birds are found in good numbers in this site, e.g. the yellowhead, the Stewart Island robin and the rifleman. Yellow-eyed penguin, native to New Zealand, often visit the island.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
19
Ferry to Bluff, birding field trip.
Invercargill
B,L,D
Homestead Villa Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off a ferry. Some walking and standing during field trip.

Breakfast: At the hotel, breakfast buffet. Luggage to wharf before breakfast!

Morning: The ferry back to Bluff departs at 8:00 a.m. On arrival, at 9:15 a.m, we will take a coach to Queen's Gardens in Invercargill. The Queen's Gardens boast a superb collection of native plants, and also an aviary of indigenous birds.

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. Early lunch at a local café, where we’ll have a plated meal pre-ordered from a range of wraps, rolls, sandwiches, savoury quiches and pies, and salads; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will embark on a birding field trip with a local expert. Coach to motel for overnight stay.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant, we’ll have a two-course, pre-ordered plated meal, with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Pack and prepare for check-out and departure following our activities in the morning.

DAY
20
Coach to Airport for departure. Program concludes.
In Flight
B

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off a plane. Some walking and standing during field trip.

Breakfast: At a local café, we’ll have a pre-ordered plated meal of your choice of egg with bacon/sausage/salmon dishes or fruit/muesli/yogurt or pancakes or toast and spreads, with water, coffee, tea.

Morning: Board bus to birding site at Otatara (subject to tides & weather). Board coach to Invercargill Airport where program ends at 11:00 a.m. Flight to Auckland & USA, if included.






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