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Experience of the Week: New Zealand Wildlife Tours - our top 5 best places to see our amazing wildlife

New Zealand wildlife tours are unique and accessible - and provide many opportunities for spotting our native animals in protected sanctuaries and the wild.

If you want to see Whales, go to Kaikoura. A world renowned marine reserve, the seas off the coast are teeming with nutrients, meaning a huge variety of whales, fur seals, and dolphins live permanently in the surrounding waters. Choose a marine life encounter by boat, plane, or simply from the shore.

Dolphins jumping and playing off the Kaikoura coast

If you want to see Kiwi and other rare native birds, go to Zealandia, a fully fenced eco-sanctuary home to over forty different species of native bird, many of them very rare. Take a night tour through the protected valley for a chance to see the little spotted kiwi in its natural environment.

If you want to see Albatross, go to the Otago Peninsula - where the only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross in the world is located. Visit the Royal Albatross centre to learn about these birds, as well as view their nesting grounds from the observatory.

If you want to see little blue penguins, go to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. Take a day tour to see the penguins up close in their nesting burrows or stick around until dusk when you can see many of them returning from a day out to sea.

Blue Penguins at Oamaru

If you want to see sheep, go to any rural area! But for the complete experience, visit Sheep World in Rotorua, where you’ll gain a unique insight into how sheep in New Zealand are farmed for their wool. You’ll be able to take a working farm tour, learn about what happens to wool once it has been shorn, and see interactive displays on rural life.