|If you've been inspired by the BBC programme 'Last Chance to See' discover New Zealand's native wildlife for yourself on this fantastic 21-day self drive itinerary. Read an article by Mark Carwardine »|
This 21-day independent holiday is the ultimate self drive touring option for nature enthusiasts. Itinerary highlights include various opportunities to see a selection of New Zealand unique wildlife including the kiwi, yellow eyed penguin, tuatara, kea and Hector’s dolphin.
On Tiritiri Matangi Island near Auckland you will find tuataras, reintroduced to the Island in recent years. Often referred to as the living fossil, the tuatara is the sole survivor of an ancient order of reptiles called Rhynchocephalia.
Stewart Island is the only place in New Zealand where the timid nocturnal little brown kiwi can be reliably seen in the wild. Stewart Island’s brown kiwi has been recognised as a separate species, adapted to life in the south where during summer, days are very long and nights short. On occasion these kiwi’s can be seen foraging during daylight hours.
Yellow eyed penguins (megadyptes antipodes) are found only in New Zealand waters and are one of the world's rarest penguins. They can be seen in an area rich in wildlife on the Otago Peninsula. Numbers on the mainland are declining and their habitat is under threat and their survival is very much reliant on human understanding and goodwill.
Hector's dolphin (cephalorhynchus hectori) can be easily recognised by the small rounded dorsal fin. Hectors dolphins are known only from New Zealand. It is most abundant between Cook Strait and Foveaux Strait, lives inshore and prefers muddy or discoloured water seaward of estuaries.
The kea is the world's only Alpine parrot. They are best seen in Arthurs Pass National Park, Mount Cook (either in the Tasman or Hooker Valleys) and on the Milford Sound Road at Homer Tunnel. Renowned for their mischievous tendencies they are often responsible for demolishing vinyl ski tow seats and windscreen wipers and for raiding remote huts in search of food.