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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 $5,360 USD per person
See Dates

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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, ornithologists, and even a perfumer commissioned by New Zealand’s national museum to recreate the unmistakable, strong scents of native birds. 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.

  • Meet expert kea conservationists
  • Help track species and conduct field work
  • Glimpse glaciers, “pancake rocks,” and other natural wonders
  • Breakfast with 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 total cost of this trip is $5,360, 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: 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 $1,225. When booking, please select the single room package option.

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. If leaving New Zealand directly after our trip, we recommend departing after 5 p.m. that day. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’re happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

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.

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels, remote lodges, and an overnight boat.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip. Travel within New Zealand will be via a private, 20- seater bus. We'll have plenty of room on board for your daypack and extra layers, as well as a separate luggage trailer for your big bag.
  • Experienced local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that New Zealand has to offer!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance through Global Rescue.
  • Special access to unique places, hidden sites, and extraordinary experiences
  • A donation to each of the conservation projects we visit.
  • Transportation to Christchurch and from Queenstown.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers upon arrival (we can provide recommendations for travel between the airport and our hotel).
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a New Zealand visa, if applicable.
  • 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.
  • Optional helicopter excursion at Franz Josef Glacier ($410).
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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. We like to think that there's no such thing as bad weather—only bad preparation! Pack well and you'll be happy.

See All FAQ

Upcoming Departures

  • Feb 1–Feb 11, 2021
    from $5,360
  • Nov 8–Nov 18, 2021
    from $5,360
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