New Zealand Wildlife Quest

Penguins, Kiwis, Whales

Trip Details

New Zealand Kiwi

What’s Included? Everything you need, plus everything you want.

  • Off the Beaten Path Locations: Hike the primeval rain forest of Stewart Island and roam the remote podocarp forest of the coastal Catlins Conservation Park for close encounters with rare birds
  • Whales: Sperm, humpback, pilot, blue, and southern right whales all frequent the waters of Kaikoura in various seasons.
  • Kiwis and Penguins: You don’t see these rare birds by chance, but with intention. This journey is a quest!
  • Not to Forget Invertebrates: Drift through a dark underground grotto lit by a Milky Way of glowworms.

New Zealand Wildlife Quest

Trip Type: Custom-Made Travel

Territory:

Region: New Zealand

Trip Price: $7,000

Duration: 11 days/12 nights

Trip Begins/Ends: Christchurch / Queenstown

National Parklands:

Select Terms & Conditions

All custom travel is tailored to the desires and interests of our traveling clients (see How Custom Travel Works tab). Trip pricing detailed is an estimate of the per person pricing for the sample itinerary detailed and includes all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences described. Actual pricing for the trip designed expressly for you and others traveling with you will depend on the features and elements developed during the trip planning process. Travel with Off the Beaten Path requires agreement to our standard Terms & Conditions.

Energy Index

Energy Index Spectrum

No Sweat - 1-2 miles of walking or hiking per day, plus easy activities

Nice & Active – 3-6 miles of hiking or walking per day, plus physically active exploration

High Five! – 5-12 miles of hiking per day, plus possible peak bagging or other action-oriented fun

New Zealand Wildlife Quest

New Zealand Wildlife Quest - Energy Index

The Energy Index detailed above relates to the level of exertion associated with the sample trip detailed. This would be modified to fit the style and ability of your group as a part of the custom trip planning process

How custom-made travel works at Off the Beaten Path

We’ve been tailoring custom journeys for clients since our very inception in the mid-1980s! The process is all about connecting the interests of the travelers with the best that a given destination has to offer. To achieve this, we rely upon good ol’ fashioned conversation! Our geographically focused travel designer love to meet new people and learn about their interests for travel. Understanding your goals informs the process immensely and serves as the foundation for the development of a bespoke travel experience for you and yours.

The trip detailed on this web page is a sample of something we’ve done for other clients over the years. In order to start the process of designing your own custom travel experience, just call us at (800) 445-2995 and ask to speak with one of our Travel Advisors. After a bit of time on the phone, you will then have the opportunity to connect with one of our travel designers.

The entire planning process is very personalized and works in an iterative fashion until a final, perfect trip has been created. We then secure all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences associated with your trip and send along abundant trip materials capturing these details – and much more about your travels!

Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch

Arrive in Christchurch, acclimate, and explore. Check out the fabulous Botanic Gardens then stroll through the nearby Arts Centre, one of the most significant collections of heritage buildings in New Zealand. 

Day 2: Kaikoura

Drive your rental car north to Kaikoura. Whales are the stars of the show here. Sperm whales feed off the coastline year-round, and depending on the time of year, you might also see orcas, humpback, pilot, blue, and southern right whales.  

Days 3-4: Tekapo, Southern Alps

A gorgeous 5-hour drive takes you to your Southern Alps base of Tekapo, a picturesque alpine village on the shores of Lake Tekapo. A local naturalist guide takes you on an easy-paced hike in the stunning Hooker Valley.  

Day 5: Ohau and Dunedin

An hour’s drive gets you to Ohau, where you’ll pick up a bike to ride a section of the world-famous Alps2Ocean cycling trail. It’s a beautiful trail with an easy grade, and your car is waiting for you at the end. Then it’s back in the car for a gorgeous 3-hour drive to Dunedin, on the Otago Peninsula.   

Day 6: Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula is considered New Zealand’s wildlife capital. The peninsula and its 12-mile-long harbor is home to albatross, penguins, New Zealand fur seals, and many other species. A naturalist guide takes you out for some fabulous wildlife watching on the peninsula and through Catlins Forest Park.  

Day 7: Stewart Island

A short flight from Invercargill takes you over to Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest, and largely undeveloped, island. Spend the day with a naturalist guide exploring, hiking, and birding in the island’s pristine wilderness. Stewart Island is a birder’s paradise, filled with native and endangered species, including kiwis. There are actually more kiwis on Stewart Island than resident humans.  

Days 8-10 Te Anau, Fiordlands, and Milford Sound

Fly back to Invercargill and make the 3-hour drive to Te Anau, the scenic gateway town to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Your stay in the area will include a full day of guided exploring in the wonders of Milford Sound, with four or five hours on the water to look for seals, penguins, dolphins, and other wildlife. This is also your chance to see the glowworm caves and take an independent or guided birding walk into Fiordlands National Park to look for tomtits, tui, bellbirds, and kea, aka the cheeky mountain parrot. 

Day 11: Queenstown

Head to Queenstown today and enjoy one last evening in this Land of the Long White Cloud. Fly home tomorrow. 

Start Planning My Trip

Lodging

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