25 Amazing experiences you could have in New Zealand


If you’re planning a visit to New Zealand in the future, or maybe you are already in New Zealand and are looking for some ideas for places to go and things to do, have a look through these amazing experiences to see what takes your eye!

There are a lot of them and you probably won’t have time to experience them all when you’re here, so it’s best to check them out now and make some plans and to-do lists before you arrive!

From adrenalin-pumping adventures to serene sunsets by the sea. From wildlife encounters to cultural exchanges, there are a million things to do and places to go! Take a look!

Dark Sky Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island

Mark Russell_Winter Night Sky
Photo- “Winter Night Sky” by Mark Russell Photography

By Maureen Spencer from “So Many Places! So Little Time!” Online travel inspiration

“A moonless summer night, sitting out on the deck on Great Barrier Island in New Zealand. We looked up and what did we see?
Thousands and thousands of vivid stars glittering and gleaming overhead against a black velvety background, along with a few shooting stars and circling satellites. A dazzling display and awesome sight!”

Great Barrier Island has to be one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. It’s a large island about 100 km from Auckland and even getting there is an adventure! It’s a unique world of its own and not to be missed. 

There is a small, very eco-conscious community living off-the-grid. No neon lights! No traffic lights! No street lights!  And this means no light pollution and the gift of stunning night skies. Great Barrier Island is one of the few places in the world to have “Dark Sky Sanctuary ” status. 

Along with the stunning night skies, you get a skyline of towering mountains heading down to the beautiful clear ocean and pristine near-deserted beaches. There is only one main road and it winds and twists and turns its way around the island. There are amazing hikes and walks and natural hot pools. Take your binoculars or join the local sky-gazing tours to experience those stunning night skies. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!

Bungee Jump at Lake Taupo

Bungy Jump Lake Taupo

By Chantae from Chantae Was Here

One… Two…”

I jumped before the tour operator could get to three.

The next instant, my stomach felt like it’d rearranged itself and I was bouncing from the end of a rubber rope, centimeters above the Waikato River. My scream echoed throughout the canyon. A flock of birds took to the sky, startled by my shriek. 

Bungy jumping at Lake Taupo is a must-do if you ever visit Lake Taupo in New Zealand. The region itself might as well be synonymous with extreme sports! If you want the full experience, choose the Bungy jump. Taupo Bungy will tie a secure rope around your ankles, walk you to the ledge, and count down until you jump. You’ll want to mentally commit to going on the count of “three” because if you chicken out, you won’t get a refund.

For those who’d rather go feet first off the 47-meter ledge, there is a swing option that lasts a little bit longer and is just as thrilling. The best time to do the jump is during summer, when hitting the water (if you choose) will be a refreshing cool off rather than an icy shock. If you’re travelling with a friend, opt for the tandem bungy jump or swing option to make a memory that will last long after your trip together is done. 

The Redwoods Treetop Walk in Rotorua

 Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua

By Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family

Rotorua is an absolute mecca of adventurous activities for the young and old. While most will know it for its sulphuric egg-like smell and the geothermal capital of New Zealand, it has some incredible nature spots that set it apart from other regions.

The Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua is an incredibly unique experience, with nothing else like it in the country.  High up in the Redwood Forest, there is a very special walk, constructed of platforms and suspension bridges allowing you to walk up with the birds.

The walk will take about 40 minutes and is available all year round.  It’s an incredible experience in the day but even more interesting at night, when it is all lit up.  30 lanterns by New Zealand designer David Trubridge light up the 700m sky path.  Take your camera and marvel at the 28 suspension bridges and 27 platforms. 

If a relaxing experience isn’t quite your thing, then they also offer the Redwoods Altitude experience.  This guided walk will have you harnessed on and you experience zip lines and suspension bridges up to 25m in the air.

An experience you will never forget and a very unique thing to do in New Zealand.

Maori Culture at Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village Games-

By Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland

One of the coolest things to do in New Zealand is to experience the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. It’s located on New Zealand’s North Island, about 3 hours from Auckland. Rotorua is one of the best places in New Zealand to learn about Maori culture and Tamaki Maori Village is one of the top Maori villages in New Zealand. This is a great kid-friendly activity, but it’s also perfect for couples and honeymooners.

After watching a fascinating video about how Maoris came to New Zealand, you’ll hop in a bus and head to the Tamaki Maori Village where you’ll be greeted by a Maori chief and several warriors. You’ll then get into groups and have lots of time to meet Maori artisans and cultural experts who provide hands-on experiences learning traditional Maori games and dancing. Then, you’ll get to see a Maori dance presentation with both men and women as they tell Maori stories. Finally, you’ll end with a Maori hangi (feast) with lots of different meats, root vegetables, and desserts. The whole experience lasts about 5 hours and it will definitely be a highlight of your trip to Rotorua.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Winter

tongariro alpine crossing winter-

By Gábor from surfingtheplanet.com

The Tongariro National Park is one of the most beautiful natural sights in New Zealand, and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is known as one of the best day hikes in the whole world. The fascinating volcanic landscape features all kinds of natural landmarks from colorful volcanic cones to beautiful pristine lakes. Although the trail can be walked during the whole year, the weather can be very tricky even in the summer season.

If you look for a real adventure, you can also walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter.  Although some technical equipment such as crampons is a must, the contrast between the colorful volcanic features and the large snowy craters will compensate for your effort and choosing this season.

It’s a moderately difficult trail, but the number of spectacular sights will make you suffer much less than in the case of a more boring hike. You will cross through several volcanic craters, and the Red Crater will definitely blow your mind.

Because of the thermal activity, this crater is never fully covered with snow. The other main highlights are Mount Ngauruhoe is known for representing Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and the Emerald Lakes that have such a unique color, even for New Zealand.

Tongariro Crossing 2


By Stephen from A Backpackers Tale 

New Zealand is famed across our globe as a country teeming with indelibly wild landscapes, cresting mountains, and miles of untouched coastline.

I’ve traveled New Zealand for over a year. And for all its beauty I’ve seen, there is one place that stands out above the rest. The Tongariro Crossing, located near Lake Taupo, combines some of the best of this landscape in an epic 8-hour hike. The hike starts as you cross a brush-ridden landscape.

As the trail climbs the landscape turns to barren land, filled with slick brown gravel and massive boulders. It’s easy to see why this region was used as Mordor in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

Making our way through Mordor we are soon standing in the shadow of the active volcano, Mount Ngauruhoe. You might know it by another name though, Mt. Doom.

The lipid pools are another highlight. These Emerald Lakes are named aptly. Due to a high concentration of volcano minerals, these pools shine with a radiant green hue.

The next couple hours of hiking takes us through mountains passes, with sweeping viewpoints, and steamy volcanic tundra. Towards the end, we enter a thick verdant forest, past a gushing river.

The Tongariro takes you through a kaleidoscope of New Zealand’s best landscape. And is a great addition for anyone backpacking New Zealand.

People often refer to the Tongariro Crossing as the best day hike in New Zealand, and I have to say, I have to agree!

E-Mountain Bike Riding in Coromandel

E mountain bike riding

By Keith Erskine from Travellin’ Lite

The visitor to New Zealand is spoiled for choice when it comes to unique travel experiences.  A recent addition to the list is e-mountain bike riding, or e-MTB riding for short.  

During a visit early this year, we hired two e-MTBs from Bush eBikes in Coromandel Town.  We opted for a ride along the Tokatea Trail, which they call ‘The Big Day Out’ tour.  The full tour is 48 km long, as it includes the ride back to Coromandel Town.  We weren’t quite up for that, so we opted for a shortened version of the tour, which had us leaving from the mountain ridge above town.

We set off on an 18-kilometer ride through remote bushland, forest, and farmland with stunning views towards the Hauraki Gulf, ending the ride at the historic town of Colville. We loved Colville.  Back in the ’60s and ’70s, it was the centre for a number of hippy colonies.  The hippies have long gone, but the charm of that era is still there.

This is the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to off-road cycling in the Coromandel.  The 350-watt mid-drive motors take the stress out of riding up the steeper parts of the trail.  The sheer pleasure of being the only riders on this lesser-known trail is an added bonus.

If you haven’t tried e-MTB riding, this tour will convince you to acquire one and keep the experience happening. It did for us.

Kayaking to Maori Carvings on Lake Taupo

Kayaking Lake Taupo-

By Leah from “Officer Travels”

One of the most unique experiences in New Zealand for us was kayaking to the Maori Carvings on Lake Taupo. This mammoth lake is roughly the size of Singapore, and the 14-meter tall Maori carving can only be accessed by kayak or boat, so more often than not, you’re the only person there; especially in the winter!

You can join a group tour to see the Maori carvings, but we chose to do a private kayak hire and head off to Mine Bay, on the North Shore of Lake Taupo, to explore them for ourselves. The trip needs about 4-5 hours return if you want to give yourself enough time to see the carvings up close. For us, it’s a unique New Zealand experience that can’t be missed!

Boutique Wineries on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island Wineries

By Jordan from Inspired By Maps

Auckland draws in over two million visitors a year. Somehow, however, most of them rush off the first chance they get to the South Island or to less urban destinations. It’s a shame because just a short 30-minute ferry from downtown Auckland is Waiheke Island, a verdant island covered in glitzy houses, scenic bush trails, hidden beaches, and glorious vineyards. So many vineyards. A day trip to Waiheke is one of those quintessential New Zealand experiences that you will dream about for the rest of your life. You simply need to choose how you want to see the island – by bus, on foot, with a tour or a taxi, and then off you go. 

There are around 30 boutique wineries strewn about the island, most of them a short 5-15 minute drive from the ferry terminal. And each offers something for everyone fro the breathtaking views at Cable Bay Vineyard, to the swanky wood-fired bar of Tantalus or home-styled comforts of Wild on Waiheke. Whether you are Beyonce (yes, she has been here) or a common backpacker, there is a winery perfectly suited to you. And thanks to their proximity to one another, you can visit multiple in one day. Perhaps with a swim or two in between or a few short hikes. You are only limited by your imagination and the ferry timetable…

Oysters & Wine on Waiheke Island 

Waiheke Picnic

By Katie Diederichs from Two Wandering Soles

Just a short, 40-minute ferry ride from action-packed Auckland, Waiheke Island with all its laidback charm feels a world away. One of the best ways to get a taste of what this island has to offer is to head to a grocery store and pick up some local specialties — like fresh oysters and a bottle of local wine to pair them with. Then hop in your rental car and find yourself a picnic spot.

Scattered throughout the island are plenty of picnic tables and benches with epic views. Drive around the winding island roads until you find one that overlooks one of the many scenic bays with turquoise waters, which is the view you’ll get from many spots around Waiheke!

Watching the sun sink lower in the sky with some local flavors is an experience that just can’t be beaten.

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves - The Black Odessey

By Kenny from Knycx Journeying

While it is known that the landscape and natural scenery is more diverse and dramatic in the South Island, don’t miss out visiting the Waitomo Caves in the North Island!

In these caves you can hear the cave streams, see huge stalagmites and stalactites, and enjoy the glow worms in complete darkness. General travelers can have a leisure walk or simply sit in a boat that takes you through the caves with a rather lively commentary.

However, if you are physically fit and up for a challenge – sign up to the Black Abyss, Black Labyrinth, or BlacOdyssey tours and truly immerse yourself in a journey that is like no other. These three small group guided tours take you through the off the beaten paths in the Waitomo Caves, where you will have to climb, crawl, wade, raft, and abseil between the rocks to really see what these cave networks are all about.

The entire adventure is slightly physically demanding and yet also safe with two guides who know their way around the tunnels. The amazing part about the climb is that you can see some of the most rarely-seen and exquisite yet fragile formations up close. I also conquered my fear of being in tight and narrow spaces. If you have to abseil in a cave for the first time, there’s no better place to do so than in the Waitomo Caves.

Fly By Wire- a bungy jump alternative!

Fly By Wire New Zealand

By Jub from Chur New Zealand

The Fly by Wire is the only attraction of its kind in the world. The initial site was destroyed during storms in the early 2000s so when the Fly by Wire was relaunched in 2019, the locals were very happy.

I describe the Fly by Wire as a self-driven rocket (plane?). Targeting those who love adrenaline, it’s a great bungy jumping alternative.

You’re strapped into the rocket in a horizontal position. Seconds later the engine starts roaring and your takeoff begins with your rocket attached to a pivot point high above the valley. You have full control from now on. You’ve got an accelerator button that you’re told to hold onto the whole time and the steering wheel.

The guide tells you exactly how to drive the rocket for the best adrenaline-inducing experience. Even if you’re not a confident driver (I don’t have my driver’s license) you can still drive the rocket. You’re rocking through the valley for no more than 15-minutes, which might seem like a short time, but wow, you don’t need any more time than that.

Located in Paekakariki, it’s less than 40 minutes to reach from Wellington and is a great way to break up the drive on the way to/from the city. The popular Paekakariki Escarpment Track starts nearby too.

Eating Green Shell Mussells in Havelock

Green Lipped Mussel Platter-

By Sarah Carter from Lets Grow Cook

Havelock is known as the world capital of the green shell mussel. This, of course, is Havelock on the South Island, not the North.  These mussels are not found anywhere else, and they’re a very distinctive seafood and they’re also known locally as the green-lipped mussel.  

They are enormous.  Huge.  Quite the biggest mussels I’ve ever seen or eaten.  They are also said to be an anti-inflammatory aid for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, although you should do your own research on that.  I just ate them.  And Havelock South is the place to eat them.  

The Green-lipped mussel is the emblem of the town and the Mussel Pot restaurant is the place to eat them.  The best time to visit the Mussel Pot is for lunch, although this is a small restaurant so we’d advise either getting there early or booking ahead.  The mussel platter, which includes green-lipped mussels steamed, grilled, smoked, marinated, and in chowder is an excellent way to try this local speciality.

Star Gazing in Lake Tekapo

Green Lipped Mussel Platter-min.jpg

By Greta from Greta’s Travels

If you’re looking for the most unique experience in New Zealand, then you have to add a visit to Lake Tekapo to your New Zealand itinerary.

Lake Tekapo is a small town on the shores of the lake of the same name and is known worldwide as an incredible stargazing destination.

The light pollution created by Lake Tekapo, a town of only 400 residents, is minimal. The night sky here is so dark that you can distinctly see the Milky Way.

The night sky of Lake Tekapo is the most beautiful I have ever seen.

There are many stargazing tours that depart from Lake Tekapo and take you to prime stargazing spots, but you can also easily do it yourself. Just hop in the car, drive 10-15 minutes out towards the lake shores and you’ll easily find a spot dark enough to stop and do your own stargazing tour.

Seeing the incredible night sky of Lake Tekapo is a unique experience and one you should definitely add to your New Zealand bucket list.

“That Wanaka Tree”

That Wanaka Tree-

By Delilah from Our Travel Mix

Tucked away in New Zealand’s South Island lies the up-and-coming town of Wanaka. One of the best things to do in Wanaka is to visit “That Wanaka Tree”. While it seems strange that one of the most popular attractions in Wanaka is a solitary tree, this is no ordinary tree!

This willow tree has grown in the middle of Lake Wanaka in Roy’s Bay. It is surely a sight to behold in the bright blue waters, backdropped by snow-capped mountains. Photographers travel from far and wide to photograph this landscape.

This attraction is open anytime, but the best times to visit are outside of peak times. Sunset is by far the most popular time to visit, and you’ll see photographers set up their tripods as early as 3 pm as they wait for the perfect lighting. If you’re not worried about the harshness of the light during the day, turn up at lunchtime to have the view (almost) all to yourself.

Although this lone tree of Wanaka is visited at all times of the year, it is most beautiful in mid-autumn, when the leaves have turned orange.

White Water Rafting – Hanmer Springs

Hamner Springs White Water Rafting

By Lee from The Travel Scribes

Only 90 minutes from Christchurch is a tiny alpine town that, although small, packs a punch. It’s Hanmer Springs, known for it’s jetboating in summer and the skiing in winter, as well as being home to some of the best healing thermal pools in New Zealand. However, while jetboating of course has it’s appeal, one of the best things to do in Hanmer Springs is to go white water rafting!

It’s a trip down the mighty Waiau River, which you can’t miss as you cross the rickety bridge that’s the only entry point into Hanmer Springs. And it’s a unique experience. Half of it heart-pounding and the other fit for beginners.

Run by Hanmer Spring Attractions, this adventure outfit will pair you with a knowledgeable guide (or two), who’ll help you paddle your way down the river. Luckily, because it’s a Grade 2, it’s fun for almost the entire family, yet has just enough danger in the rocky rapids for the thrill-seekers out there.

And the kicker? Once you’ve glided down the river, you’ll get a free jetboat ride to deposit you right back at the start.

Heli Hike on Franz Josef


By Caroline from CK Travels

The stunning Franz Josef Glacier is located on New Zealand’s rugged south island west coast and is surrounded by lush green rainforest and mountains. It is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world but is receding rapidly, so the only way to access it is by taking a helicopter ride up to the top for a 3 hour guided ‘heli-hike’ on the ice.

A handful of companies offer these tours which are a little on the expensive side – but it is definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime unique experiences which are worth the money. The scenic helicopter flight takes 5 minutes – departing from Franz Josef village and landing directly on the ice.

A group of skilled guides then greet you and take you around the glacier tunnels, ice caves, and rock crevasses, whilst explaining the history and geography along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take some epic photos. The most memorable one was when we walked through a huge bright blue ice cave! 

After all that hiking, head back to nearby Franz Josef Glacier village to soak in the wonderful thermal hot pools.

Swimming with Wild Hector’s Dolphins

Dolphins Banks Peninsula

By Nadine from Le Long Weekend

Of all the experiences unique to New Zealand, there’s none more thrilling than swimming with the country’s very own Hector’s dolphins. The smallest dolphin in the world, Hector’s dolphins can be found swimming off the shores of New Zealand’s South Island. And although they are sadly endangered, there is a resident population to be found off the coast of Bank’s Peninsula, near Christchurch.

Head out to Akaroa and take a trip with Black Cat Cruises (NZ’s first eco-tourism operator) to see them for yourself. Or even better, to swim with them! Your tour operator will look for a pod of dolphins exhibiting playful behaviour (rather than feeding behaviour) before letting you into the water, and swim times are strictly monitored and restricted to under an hour to protect the dolphins.

The experience is like none other in the world as you watch the petite dolphins ducking and diving through the water around you. If a tour isn’t really your thing, you can also hire kayaks or pedal boats to explore the bay, and you may be lucky enough to see the odd dolphin that ventures far enough into the Akaroa Harbour!

photographing lupines in new zealand

Lupines South Island New Zealand

By Susan Gan from Snap Spotz

Lupines must be the most beautiful weed in the world and the best place to photograph them is on the South Island of New Zealand. From September through to February (with the peak of the season from November to December) the edges of most of the lakes and riverbeds in Mackenzie Country on the South Island are littered with a rainbow of colour.

Lupines are a dream come true for photographers with a sea of pinks, blues and purple flowers in every possible shade.

A few places that you are guaranteed to see them are on the drive from Wanaka to Lake Tekapo as well as on the shore of Lake Tekapo. They are impossible to miss, just follow the busloads of tourists wearing Lupine-matching clothing swarming everywhere in search of the perfect Instagram photo!

My favourite location for photographing Lupines in New Zealand was on the road to Milford Sound. The location is a little bit more remote to access but far less populated with tourists.

Mobbed by Seals at KATIKI POiNT RESERVE

katiki point reserve  Seals

By Holly Connors from Four Around The World

We spent 2.5 weeks exploring New Zealand’s South Island by campervan and were lucky enough to be given an off the beaten track style guide from our rental company. Some of the most memorable moments of our trip were places it recommended, including the opportunity to see seals and penguins in the wild.

We made our way south, visiting the Moeraki Boulders, which are themselves an interesting stop along the way. Only a short distance away was the tucked-away Katiki Point Reserve.

The wildlife reserve is situated just past the Katiki Point Lighthouse. It is a private property that has been set up as a reserve to support the breeding of yellow-eyed penguins. It has now also become a massive breeding colony for fur seals.

The drive is down a narrow winding road and the turn off can be tricky to find but it is well worth it!

Take a 10-minute walk past the property and you will find yourself surrounded by seals. We expected to see maybe a couple, but we saw at least 50 and were within a few meters of several, maintaining the safe recommended distance.

But don’t worry – if you get too close, they will tell you! Our eldest daughter got a fright when she was honked at. We also spotted a couple of penguins returning home for the evening, since our visit was around 3 PM during winter.

A truly memorable experience! And completely free!

Best Kept Secret in Queenstown


By Alyse from The Invisible Tourist

Located just 20 minutes’ drive from Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, it may come as a surprise that few people have ever heard of Moke Lake. This pristine location is one of the easiest day trips from Queenstown and boasts the title of one of my most memorable travel experiences, ever!

Moke Lake is not just any ordinary body of water, though. While it may look quite average when wind creates ripples on its surface, the thing that makes Moke Lake unique is the magic that occurs when weather conditions perfectly align – the lake’s surface transforms into an enormous mirror that has to be seen to be believed!

Never have I been anywhere with water so still and air so silent. This peacefulness is a refreshing change from the busy adrenalin capital of Queenstown nearby. 

To soak in the incredible natural beauty surrounding Moke Lake, enjoy one of the many hiking trails encircling the lake that offer spectacular views of nearby snow-capped mountaintops that beautifully reflect on the water’s surface. Who needs Photoshop when Mother Nature’s raw beauty looks this good?

Panning for Gold in Arrowtown

arrowtown panning for gold

By Sinead from Map Made Memories

One of our most enjoyable and unique experiences during our family road trip around New Zealand in a camper van was also one of our most relaxing! We spent a leisurely half-day panning for gold in the scenic Arrowtown River, a five-minute walk from charming Arrowtown. Originally a farming area, this mining town near Queenstown was established when gold was discovered in the area in the 1860’s.

Today, visitors to historic Arrowtown can hire gold panning equipment for just a few dollars at the town’s award-winning Lakes District Museum. It is well worth leaving time to visit this lovely little museum. Hopeful prospectors can choose any spot along the tree-lined banks of the Arrowtown River and spend tranquil hours panning for gold in the crystal clear river.

The Arrowtown River was also used as a location in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unfortunately, we did not find our fortune on our gold panning trip but it was an enjoyable, affordable New Zealand experience with no age or budget barrier.

cruising in milford sound

Milford Sound cruising

By Greta from Greta’s Travels

Milford Sound is a fjord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s famous for the steep fjord cliffs, the lush green vegetation, and dramatic waterfalls that plummet down the sheer fjord sides.

Cruising amongst the fjords, looking up at the sheer size of the mountains surrounding you, is a truly unique experience.

Most people visit Milford Sound on a day trip from Queenstown, but if you truly want to live the beauty of this spot I recommend spending at least one night in the area.

In summer you can also do kayak tours around Milford Sound, enhancing, even more, the feeling of being tiny in front of nature. Besides the Norwegian fjords, you won’t find anything like it anywhere around the world.

Cruising in Milford Sound is a truly unique experience.

Staying in a castle’s stable in Dunedin

Lanarch Castle Stables

By Holly from Globeblogging

While New Zealand is full of different and quirky places, there is nothing quite like the town of Dunedin on the South Island. Rich with Scottish heritage and grand old-world architecture the town even has its own castle!

Perched high on the Otago Peninsula with spectacular panoramic views, the castle and gardens themselves are worth the visit. But for those seeking a unique experience, it is worth spending the night in the Larnach Castle Stables.

The 140-year-old stables at the rear of the castle are now six bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities. Retaining the original wooden beams overhead, the rooms are cosy and comfortable. Downstairs one of the stables remains intact as a display, while the cobblestoned floor is set with tables for guests to enjoy their included buffet and cooked breakfast.

Accommodation on the property includes access to the castle and ground outside of the public visiting hours. Given it is one of the primary tourist attractions of the region, it’s nice to wander the area without the crowds, especially in summer when the light stretches until 10 pm.

It is also worth booking dinner served in the Castle dining room, an exceptional three-course meal featuring the best local produce. Space is limited so booking is essential.

spotting kiwis on stewart island


By Nicholas from Rambling Feet

You can see the iconic kiwi, or maybe even pet one, in many zoos and wildlife centres around New Zealand. Finding one in the wild is much more difficult. However, your best chance of doing so is on Stewart Island. You don’t even need to tramp for days or take a boat to Mason Bay’s sand dunes to spot them.

In the evening, the shy tokoeka (as the southern brown kiwi is known in the native language) sometimes wanders onto rugby pitches in the town of Oban and the airfield. It happens year-round and all these places are an easy walk from the island’s tourist accommodations.

If you are lucky, you might even see a kiwi foraging in the daytime on the Rakiura and North West tracks or in the predator-free sanctuary of Ulva Island. To avoid startling them at night, use a red light or cover your torchlight with red cellophane, and turn off your camera flash. They have poor eyesight, so they will continue to go about their business in front of you as long as you stay quiet.

And why wouldn’t you want this unique moment to last as long as possible?

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