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Birds of New Zealand

Kea Bird New Zealand 469756481 3575x2383

The first type of wildlife you may think of when New Zealand is mentioned is our national symbol, the kiwi. It’s not surprising that we have an endangered flightless bird as our national icon because New Zealand is a country dominated by birds, many of which are flightless. It’s an evolutionary result of having no predatory mammals. In fact, the only mammals we have are a couple of species of bat! So, if you’re out hiking in our national parks you won’t have to worry about seeing any big cats, bears, primates (apart from, maybe, a few locals), or snakes - because there aren’t any.

Having evolved in an environment that had no mammalian predators for 80 million years, our birds were vulnerable to the arrival of humans (and the rats and other animals they brought with them). Once humans arrived, over 40% of New Zealand’s birdlife became extinct. Birds like the giant flightless Moa, Haast’s Eagle ( the world’s largest eagle ever known), the New Zealand Pelican, the Laughing Owl and a host of other birds, vanished from our land. Many of the species that did survive are endangered or vulnerable to human impact, and are now part of extensive conservation efforts to increase numbers. The Department of Conservation is amongst the world’s leaders in population recovery for endangered birds, with the Chatham Islands Black Robin, which in 1980 was down to only five remaining birds of which there was only a single breeding pair, being an internationally recognised conservation success story (there are now about 200 of these little birds).

New Zealand’s birds are a curious bunch, including the kiwi, the kakapo (a critically endangered flightless parrot), the kea (a highly intelligent mountain parrot), royal albatrosses (we have the only mainland colony of royal albatrosses in the world), penguins (including some of the world’s rarest) and many others that you’ll see while hiking in New Zealand or exploring our coastlines.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4982 reviews)

    Rimu—Feb., 2018

    Could not have been happier with our guides, their level of preparation/organization and the stunning scenery of the South Island.
    Tom Townes Review Image
    – North Carolina, United States
    Rimu, February 2018
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    A Deep Dive into the Understanding of the Maori Culture

    Having just come from the South Trip we wondered if this trip would be more of the same. It was not. The landscape and activities were different and just as amazing. We learned so much about the history of the country, the Maori people, culture, and their language. The activities were varied and enabled us to experience the beauty of the North Island and all it has to offer.
    Sharon Brownfield Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Kauri, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4982 reviews)

    New Zealand is Majestic...Thanks Active Adventures!

    This was my first trip traveling alone and traveling overseas. Active Adventures made this trip amazing and so easy. From initial planning of trip, to the moment of pick up at the airport, until drop off at the end of the adventure all details were taken care of. The guides (Amanda and Joe) were fabulous and the prepared meals were fantastic. New Zealand is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing your country, can't wait to go back!
    Jennifer Smith Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    A Marvelous Exprerience

    This trip was worth every penny. We had marvelous lodging that we could not have accessed on our own. Our access to trails, parks and activities was all arranged and all we had to worry about was showing up for the experience. We were truly touched by the extent to which our guides went out of their way to respond to our special food needs. I felt truly safe, supported by the experience, training and good will of our guides. I came home stronger and with new confidence that as an elder I can still take on physically challenging experiences and succeed. What a gift that is.
    Wendy Ball Review Image
    – New York, United States
    Kiwi, December 2017
  •   4.48 out of 5 (from 297 reviews)

    Weka---- Best day ever--14 days running

    Capable, energetic and enthusiastic guides, great fun, exciting cycling. Exceptional vistas that took our breath away, sparking waterfalls, pristine mountains and streams, Variety of cycling from road to single track with some fun stream crossings. Guides prepared delicious meals with presentation worthy of a top end restaurant. Best Day Ever
    best trip we ever had.
    Ben Thorlakson Review Image
    – Alberta, Canada
    Weka 13-day, January 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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