Wildlife Experiences in New Zealand

There are many ways to get up close and personal with the wildlife in New Zealand. From the underwater realms of Kaikoura to the glimmering glow worms of Waitomo and everything in between, New Zealand offers so many magical opportunities to see animals we’ll unlikely see anywhere else. This blog will be all about the wildlife experiences available in New Zealand, so read ahead to see where you can add an extra touch of magic to your holiday here!

Watch Whales in Kaikōura

Kaikōura is an incredible place to see wildlife in its natural habitat. There are a number of animal encounters you can have while visiting this city, but for now, we’ll focus on the whale watching opportunities. You can spot all sorts of whales on one of the many daily tours that Kaikōura has on offer. Sail out to sea and spot the world’s largest toothed predator, the sperm whale, at any time of the year. Perhaps venture off to the depths of the ocean and see the humpback whale on its annual migration, or if you’re lucky, pilot whales, southern right whales, orcas, and the mighty blue whale. 

Swim with Dolphins in Kaikōura

Kaikōura is a special place. It’s the marine capital of New Zealand, meaning you’ll likely head here if you want to explore the deep blue. So much can be spotted just moments from shore, and you’ll be able to see it all when you visit. One of the top activities here is the dolphin swimming excursion. Get up bright and early and set off into the deep blue - you’ll hopefully be able to swim alongside the dusky dolphins. Friendly, incredibly smart, and acrobatic too, these beautiful creatures will play alongside you if you’re lucky! If you don’t fancy swimming, simply watch from above - it’ll be a show from all angles.


To check out these Kaikōura wildlife experiences, hire a car from Blenheim Airport.

Spot Penguins in the South Island

There are some unique opportunities for penguin spotting while you’re on the South Island: one of these will be in Dunedin, which is one of the southernmost points of the island. The yellow-eyed penguin is highly endangered, and you’ll get to see them in the flesh at Penguin Place, which currently has a conservation effort in place for these small animals. If you’re in the mood for more penguin spotting, head to Oamaru, where you’ll find the world’s smallest penguins in their natural habitat. In fact, you’ll get to watch the blue penguin as they embark on their nightly routine and settle themselves into bed for the night while visiting this small town on the South Island.


Hire a car from Dunedin Airport and check out some unique opportunities to spot some penguins in their natural habitat.

Marvel at Baby Kiwis in Rotorua

The Kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand, so it’s only fitting that you try and squeeze in a kiwi-spotting session while you holiday here. Rotorua is home to the National Kiwi Hatchery, which has seen over 2,000 kiwi chicks come into the world over the years. It’s a special place to learn about the kiwi conservation efforts of the Hatchery, as well as the history and biology of the special bird itself. If you’re in Rotorua, we’d always recommend popping into here.


Hire a car from Rotorua Airport to learn more about the kiwi.

Glimpse the Glowworms in Waitomo

The glowworm caves of Waitomo are certainly something to marvel at. You can experience them while on one of the tours offered here - you can either pick an adventurous tour or simply go on a boat and sail through while looking above. It’s definitely one of the most magical experiences in New Zealand, as the glowworms light up the caves in an ethereal way, unlike anything you’ll likely have seen before. The caves of Waitomo are only a three-hour drive from Auckland, so if you’re feeling particularly adventurous one day, head here on a day trip.

Hire a car from Hamilton Airport to experience the Waitomo glowworm caves.


The animal experiences in New Zealand are nothing short of magical. With a different animal to be spotted both on and offshore at any given moment, you’ll permanently be in awe while travelling around these beautiful islands. Keep an eye out for the underwater magic beneath the depths of the sea, as here is where the truly one of a kind experiences lie. 

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