Bird Watching Locations

New Zealand Birds

Bird Watching vacations in New Zealand are quite specialised and the independent traveller should plan their vacation with care, aiming to move around the country as much as possible in an effort to increase the number of bird species that can be seen, particularly if planning a short visit (i.e. less than 2 weeks).

There are key areas of the North Island that are well worth a visit.

These include Cape Reinga for Spoonbills, waders, Black-winged Petrels and many other offshore sea birds, Aroha Island in the Bay of Islands for birds such as the Reef Heron, Banded Rail, Morepork and Brown Kiwi. Muriwai for the Australasian Gannet colony, Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf (out of Auckland), a protected and predator free reserve where 69 species of bird have been recorded including: Blue Penguin, Brown Teal, Takahe, Red-crowned Parakeet, Stitchbird, Saddleback, Whitehead, NZ Robin, Bellbird, Tui, Kokako, Spotless Crake, Little Spotted Kiwi. (For further information about Tiritiri Matangi visit their web site at more information at
Moving further south, Miranda Naturalists Trust, a mudflat reserve on the Firth of Thames is renowned for large populations of waders particularly Pied Oystercatchers, Wrybill, Bar-tailed Godwits and Lesser Knot. In addition there is a list of 36 other species seen regularly including NZ dotterel, red-necked stint, sharp-tailed and terek sandpiper and Fairy Tern.

For Spotted Shag visit the north coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, birds can be seen perched on the rocky outcrops off shore.

The lake at Rotorua is home to a large population of NZ Scaup and these can be seen close to the shore generally around the jetty in the town. A boat trip to Mokoia Island can be taken from the jetty and on the island there are opportunities to see Weka, Saddleback, NZ Robin Bellbird and possibly Stitchbird. The Government Gardens near the lake are worthy of a scan and the silica shoreline in Sulphur Bay can be good for various waders including Pied Stilt, Masked Plover and Banded Dotterel.

Pureora Forest a great location to see and walk amongst the ancient Podocarps trees. This forest is home to NZ Falcon, Kokako, Kaka, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Morepork, and the tiny Rifleman.

Bird Watching Vacations

Tongariro National Park is one of the last areas that blue duck can be seen on the fast flowing waters of the many rivers and streams. There are various sites within the area and a careful search may reveal their presence.

Bay of Plenty has extensive shoreline where waders may be viewed. Forested areas are excellent for bush birds. Some areas of the shore line such as Mount Maunganui provide opportunities for sea watching where Grey-faced Petrel have been seen.

Apart from the excellent wineries in Hawkes Bay, there are a number of good birding opportunities both in wetlands like Ahuriri Estuary, bush such as Mohi Bush and lakes at Westshore Wildlife Reserve. Cape Kidnappers is the site for the largest mainland Australasian Gannet breeding colony. Accessing this colony either by walking 8 km along the coast or by using one of the tour companies, one by an overland route; the second uses a tractor and trailer and travels along the beach at low tide.

Travelling southward there are a number of sites such as the National Wildlife Centre, Mount Bruce, Wairarapa, the Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens, Taranaki, and Manawatu Estuary, Palmerston North Kapiti Island off Wellington is a predator free island that is covered in bush and is populated by large numbers of Little Spotted Kiwi, there are also Weka, Red-crowned Parakeet, Takahe, Stitchbird, Saddleback and Kokako in addition to many bush bird species, gulls and terns.

New Zealand is also one of the major seabird centres of the world, mainly due to the extensive coastline and many inshore and offshore islands.

A competent and successful bird watcher can see more seabirds in New Zealand's waters than anywhere else in the world.
Three quarters of the world's albatrosses, penguins and petrels and half the shearwaters and shags can be found in the waters of New Zealand. South Island seabird watching may be accessed by a pelagic tour such as Albatross Encounter in Kaikoura for more information visit their web site

Contact Redwood Lodge and we will be pleased to help you plan your North Island bird watching vacation.