New Zealand Nature Explorer
An Epic Small-Group Nature Adventure Amid the Scenic Splendors of the South Island
Among travelers who covet spectacular natural settings, New Zealand is legendary. We focus on the South Island, whose rugged coastline embraces a land of topographic extremes, from seaside rain forests and volcano craters to active glaciers and icy fjords. On this comprehensive itinerary, we are immersed in nature at its showiest. We also experience the human side of New Zealand, equally renowned. We'll meet sheep farmers, learn about Maori culture, and find a bit of Scottish heritage in the South Pacific. Two weeks in New Zealand offers more excitement and diversity than two years in most other parts of the world!
- Experience some of the world’s best whale watching – dolphins and seals, too – alongside expert naturalists on a boat cruise off Kaikoura
- Cruise the fjords of Milford Sound, where mists weave through glacial valleys and waterfalls pour from vertical peaks above
- Enjoy an exclusive stay on wild, rarely visited Stewart Island, where our Expedition Leaders guide us in search of the famed brown kiwi
See More of Natural New Zealand, Off the Beaten Track
Most New Zealand tours focus on a few popular highlights, like Milford Sound. While we’d never dream of skipping those notable draws, Nat Hab takes you farther into New Zealand’s remote reaches, for the most all-encompassing Down Under nature odyssey you’ll find anywhere. When you travel with us, you’ll have rare experiences like these:
- Fly by Small Plane to Stewart Island to Look for Unique Wildlife
Few travelers to New Zealand get to visit lushly forested Stewart Island. But we've included it, to offer the unusual chance to search for the endemic flightless brown kiwi bird on a guided night walk. This island is also a breeding and nesting site for one of the world’s rarest birds: the Fiordland crested penguin.
- Visit the Isolated Nature Sanctuary of Ulva Island
Just minutes from Stewart Island lies the wild world of Ulva Island, a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds such as the yellow-eyed penguin. Here, we explore pristine trails and beaches, observing bird species that no longer exist on the main islands. Not on your standard itinerary!
- A Small-Group Nature Experience from Beginning to End
NHA has always been committed to the principle that nature is best experienced in small groups. And unlike other travel providers, we don’t mean just on selected outings. For a full two weeks you’ll travel in a group of no more than 12 people in a private mini-coach—no big tour buses for us! Few other companies come anywhere close to our small numbers, which means you have more intimate and authentic experiences, no matter where we go.
- Visit a Working Sheep Farm — Not a Tourist Set-Up
It’s often said that New Zealand has more sheep than people, so you’ll want to get to know more about these famed residents. We visit an authentic working sheep farm to learn from our hosts about the roles these animals have played in the country’s history and about the significance they hold in the present.
- An Intimate Home Visit with Maoris
Because of our extensive experience in New Zealand, we are able to cultivate enduring relationships with local people, and our cultural encounters are unsurpassed for their authenticity. In the fishing village of Kaikoura, we are invited into the home of a local Maori family. In this intimate setting, you'll gain insight into the traditions, values and contemporary lifestyles of these indigenous people.
- Small Chartered Boats for Private Wildlife Viewing
Most companies send their groups on marine wildlife-watching excursions aboard large vessels shared with other passengers. With Nat Hab, you’ll cruise on a privately chartered small boat off the coast of Dunedin, accompanied by our Expedition Leader and knowledgeable onboard staff. Our outing is timed perfectly to watch the return of the giant northern royal albatross to its colony at Taiaroa Head. We’ll also look for fur seals and blue penguins while we dine on freshly caught seafood.
- Stay in Nature’s Most Dramatic Locations
No cookie-cutter chain hotels for us. Although they range from simple to luxurious, all of our lodgings place us in the most striking natural places New Zealand has to offer. Sleep in a lodge tucked naturally into an open forest clearing, run by a family that traces its farming roots back to 1860. On the shores of Lake Wanaka, enjoy spectacular views of the lake and the magnificent Southern Alps. In every case, we choose our accommodations for their authenticity, history, cozy atmosphere and proximity to nature.
- Your Naturalist Expedition Leader Is a New Zealand Native
NHA has earned an international reputation for employing the highest-quality Expedition Leaders in the industry. Our guides average 15 years of experience and training, with additional resources and access toWWF’s top scientists. On this trip, you’ll also have the advantage of a native New Zealander as your guide, for a truly personalized interpretative experience. Read our Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- Our Quality Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Nature Adventure
Natural Habitat Adventures is proud to offer our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise for yourself!
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset. NHA is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering that many of the species and habitats we observe on our trips are under substantial threat from our planet’s warming temperatures.
- Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’s Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner — a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of New Zealand Nature Explorer travel books for this trip.