The Wonders of New Zealand

The Wonders of New Zealand

Dear Travellers,

I am delighted to announce the arrival of our New Zealand North Island Expedition in 2024. This is a first for Coates Wildlife Tours, and we look forward to uncovering the beautiful landscapes, ancient forests and unique wildlife with you.

The forests of Aotearoa (New Zealand) are a reminder of a world long gone; ancient conifers, ferns, flightless ground birds, prehistoric reptiles and insects, and virtually no mammals. We will explore these other world forests as we travel from Auckland to Wellington.

Throughout our journey, we will discover dramatic landscapes, from sub-Antarctic beech forests to the ever-changing podocarp forests of the volcanic plateau. We visit wild places like Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s first National Park, and search for the iconic Kiwi and endangered Takahē.

For the full New Zealand experience, join both our North Island and South Island trips, which have been scheduled only a few days apart for your convenience.

Coates Wildlife Tours has been visiting the South Island of New Zealand for over 10 years, so it was time to refresh the itinerary and bring you something different. We still visit some old favourites (like Mount Cook National Park), but we will also discover new gems like Kahurangi National Park, Kaituna Valley and the Kaikoura Coast.

Importantly, both tours aim to take us away from the population centres and tourist ‘honey pots’, so that we may study and enjoy the lesser-known but equally spectacular parts of New Zealand away from the crowds.

For more information, please scroll down.

Nelson – Dunedin
31 January – 14 February 2024
Fully Accommodated

Click HERE for more information.


  • Explore Mount Arthur in Kahurangi National Park, a marble region with a wide diversity of upland and sub-alpine species.
  • Cape Farewell – discover the dramatic coastline and seabird restoration project undertaken here.
  • Enjoy the beautiful alpine lakes and short walks in the tranquil beech forests of Rotoiti and Rotoroa. 
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway – observe seals and seabirds, and enjoy clifftop views of the sea and mountains.
  • Whale watching cruise to view Sperm Whales, albatrosses (4-5 species), petrels and shearwaters, just meters from the boat.
  • Walk the dramatic Mueller Ridge with spectacular views of the southern Alps, Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Sefton.
  • Fiordland World Heritage Area – walking amidst the Borland Saddle region’s lush beech forests and sub-alpine tussock lands.
  • Discover this botanical treasure trove in the Darran Mountains. 
  • Take an optional cruise of Milford Sound. 
  • Rakiura Stewart Island – primarily wilderness and home to Kakas and South Island Brown Kiwi.
  • Predator-free Ulva Island – search for many South Island forest birds.
  • Taiaroa Head – known for harbouring the only mainland albatross-nesting colony in the world;  also look for Yellow-eyed Penguins, the Otago Shag and the endemic Hooker’s Sea Lion.

Auckland – Wellington
17 February – 1 March 2024
Fully Accommodated

Click HERE for more information.


  • Tiritiri Matangi Island – New Zealand’s oldest island sanctuary is brimming with wildlife rarely seen on the mainland, such as kōkako, tīeke/saddleback and tuatara.
  • Tawharanui Sanctuary – Look for the North Island Brown Kiwi and the endangered Takahē in the wild.
  • Miranda Wildlife Sanctuary – A significant feeding ground for around 40 migratory wading bird species.
  • Whirinaki Rain Forest – Explore one of the world’s last prehistoric forests with ancient trees, gushing rivers and unique wildlife.
  • Lakes Rotorua and Taupo – Discover geothermal activity as well as the unique plants that only live close to fumaroles.
  • Pureora – Visit one of the most extensive intact tracts of podocarp forest in the country.
  • Tongariro National Park – NZ’s first National Park is a place of natural wonders born from volcanic eruptions and carved by ice age glaciers; discover emerald lakes, old lava flows, steaming craters, colourful silica terraces and peculiar alpine gardens.
  • Mt Ruapehu – Walk amongst sub-alpine beech forest and tussock lands on the slopes.
  • Forest & Bird’s Bushy Park Tarapuruhi forest – Learn from staff the conservation efforts undertaken here that provide the strongest protection from introduced mammals currently delivered on the mainland.
  • Kapiti Island – A tranquil island bird sanctuary; we stay at a traditional Maori homestead and take a night walk to look for the rare and unique Little Spotted Kiwi.

From all of us at Coates Wildlife Tours, happy travelling and we hope to see you out there!

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