View Full Version : Birding in New Zealand

Sidharth Kodikal
09-24-2009, 08:05 PM
I'm going to be in NZ for 3 weeks in November - travelling the South Island for a week; mostly in and around Auckland the other two weeks.

Any information on birding hotspots will be really appreciated.


Simon Bennett
09-27-2009, 03:12 PM

Two places I'd thoughly recommend are:

Kapiti Island near Wellington: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/wellington/kapiti/kapiti-island-nature-reserve/,
visit Rangatira Point for Saddleback, Stitchbird and other species, and stay at the lodge http://www.kapitiislandalive.co.nz/ - there are birds all around you there. You need to get permits on-line, and book early.

On the South Island the Kaikoura boat trip for albatross is an absolute must, take wide-angle lenses as well as medium tele-lenses http://www.oceanwings.co.nz/

Richard McBride
09-27-2009, 10:06 PM
If you have the time, spend a few hours on Arthur's Pass and with some luck you will be visited by some Keas...our large mountain parrot.
But be careful, they are inveterate mischief makers...believe EVERYTHING you hear about their capacity to demolish everything from camera bags to windscreen wipers to convertible automobile tops.
But it will be worth it!
All the best, and look me up in Nelson if you come this way. 03 546 8844.

Sidharth Kodikal
09-28-2009, 07:59 PM
Thanks a lot for the info, folks.
I will look you up, Richard. Thanks!

Jason Elsworth
09-30-2009, 01:02 AM

Tony Whitehead
09-30-2009, 04:18 AM
Great suggestions above, Sidharth. Kaikoura is a definite not to miss. Near Auckland, Tiritiri Matangi http://www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/ makes a great trip with the chance to see Saddlebacks, Stitchbirds, Takahe, Kokako and other birds that are very difficult to see on the mainland. The gannet colony at Muriwai is handy to Auckland. A little further south the Miranda Shorebird Centre is worth the drive with plenty of Bar-tailed Godwits, Stilts, Wrybills, Oystercatchers and Wrybills and the chance of NZ Dotterels

Sidharth Kodikal
09-30-2009, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the excellent info!

The Miranda Shorebird Center is just an hour's drive from where I'm going to be.
I will visit there as often as I can.

Hope a 600mm reach on a 1.6x crop body will be long enough (at high tide at least)

Tony Whitehead
09-30-2009, 01:30 PM
600 should be fine. High spring tide is the best time to go. I'll be there this weekend so hope the weather co-operates.

Phil Battley
10-17-2009, 08:38 PM
Hi Sidharth,

There's a BirdingNZ forum you can take a look at and post questions on, and that'd be a good way to find local spots.


There is plenty of good birding to be had around Auckland. Tiritiri Matangi is a must (stay overnight if you can and go looking for Kiwi), Miranda ditto. There are easily accessible shorebirds on Kiwi Esplanade/Ambury Farm Park/the old Mangere Sewage Ponds in the Manukau Harbour.

Are you into seabirds? Contact Pterodroma Pelagics to see if they are running any Hauraki Gulf trips to see the rediscovered NZ Storm Petrel: http://www.nzseabirds.com/index.php

In the South Island, Oceanwings is a must too. Christchurch has good shorebirds and waterfowl and photo-opps. Otago has albatrosses (not great for photography but impressive nevertheless), Yellow-eyed Penguins etc. I'd look in some of the bird birding websites (e.g. fatbirder) to look for trip reports of visiting birders. They'll list most every site they went. If photography is your aim then your wants may be different.

Do make sure you track down Blue Duck on our mountain rivers. They are darned cool! Ruatiti Domain in the central North Is is the easiest place, but is nowhere near Auckland...

And by the time you arrive we should have used up all the rubbish weather!


Sidharth Kodikal
10-22-2009, 09:00 AM
Thank you very much for the great info.
I definitely plan to make the most of it.
I hope to have some pictures to share on my return.
Eagerly looking forward to the trip.