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wildlife & nature • 11 days, 10 nights

Wings & Wonders: Birds of New Zealand

New Zealand
wildlife & nature • 11 days, 10 nights

Wings & Wonders: Birds of New Zealand

New Zealand
See Dates
  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Outdoor Expedition
from $5,450 USD per person
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Trip Overview

On the South Island of New Zealand, a “kee-ah!” echoes through the emerald mountains. It’s the call of the endangered kea—the world’s only alpine parrot, and one of the most intelligent and spunky birds on the planet. The kea is just one of the many spectacular, rare birds endemic to New Zealand. We’ll get to know them—and a flock of other new feathered friends—as we explore the island through the lens of conservation. Join us as we set out into the mountains, through breathtaking fjords, and around mighty glaciers, following “kee-ahs!” and tracking various avian species as we go. We’ll chat with field biologists, conservation-focused vintners, and ornithologists. We'll delve into subjects ranging from the roles extinct birds played in Māori life prior to colonization to what a takahē likes to eat for lunch. Our journey will take us through some of the most stunning landscapes on Earth—from the mountains of Fiordland National Park to Franz Josef Glacier and through massive stacks of pancake-like rocks.

  • Glimpse glaciers, “pancake rocks,” and other natural wonders
  • Spot a rare bird once believed to be extinct
  • Learn about the importance of birds in Māori history
  • Experience Fiordland National Park


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Additional Info


The listed price of this trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you:

Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You'll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $1,275. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to six miles over the course of each day, spending time in nature, remaining on their feet for long periods of time, and sometimes walking on uneven terrain.

Overnight Accommodations on the Fiordland Navigator

We'll be spending one night aboard the Fiordland Navigator boat. Guests will be housed in mixed-gender, quad share cabins. Most of your time aboard the boat will be spent outside your rooms exploring the boat—you can go right up front to see the best views, chat with the captain and look at nautical charts in the bridge, talk with nature guides on the viewing deck, or lounge in the bar/restaurant area, where you'll be treated to a delicious buffet dinner (and seriously, it's yum!)

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with a welcome dinner in Christchurch on Day 1. We recommend you arrive by 1 p.m. that day so you can clear customs, settle into your accommodations, and meet our guide and fellow travelers in time for dinner. Our trip concludes in the afternoon on Day 11 where you'll be dropped off either in central Queenstown or at the airport in time for domestic flights out after 5:00 p.m. or international flights after 6:00 p.m. 

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels, remote lodges, and an overnight boat
  • All meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation throughout the trip (excluding arrival and departure airport transfers)
  • An experienced Trip Leader to accompany you for the duration of the trip as well as special guests throughout
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events
  • A curious group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue (terms apply)
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences
  • Transportation to Christchurch and from Queenstown, including airport transfers
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages
  • Passport and visa fees, if applicable
  • COVID-19 testing requirements
  • Optional helicopter excursion at Franz Josef Glacier ($410)
  • Tipping in New Zealand is not expected in the same way it is in the U.S. However, we recognize that many people like to show their gratitude in this way. If you’d like to tip your guides, the average amount is around $100 for the whole trip—but less, or nothing at all, is of course, acceptable too.
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Trip FAQ

In New Zealand, summer lasts from November until March, with January and February being the warmest months. The rain in New Zealand is geographic in nature; the west coast is wetter than the east, so you’ll typically experience a mixed bag as you move throughout the country. Rain can happen at any time of year, and it is not uncommon to experience three seasons in one day. We like to think that there's no such thing as bad weather—only bad preparation! Pack well and you'll be happy.

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Upcoming Departures

Choose your own private trip dates
Inquire now about a private departure for friends and family. Trip cost may vary based on group size and travel dates.

Choose your own private trip dates

Inquire now about a private departure for friends and family.

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