With jaw-dropping scenery, you are likely to feel as though you have been transported into a fairy-tale when you visit New Zealand. This country boast a larger square kilometer size than the United Kingdom, but only one-fourteenth of the population, which means there is much wilderness to explore. Not only does New Zealand host some of the best tramping, or hiking, trails in the world, but there also several species of wildlife that can only be found here. You won’t want to miss the chance to see some of these animals when exploring Christchurch and surrounding areas.
Native to New Zealand is the kiwi, a flightless, rather large bird. This bird is around the size of a domestic chicken, and is a member of the ratite family which consists of ostriches, emus, rheas and others. If you take a trip to Stewart Island you can find the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi, or the Southern Tokoeka, which largely dominates the area and outnumbers humans, with about 20,000 on the island. Be aware that these birds may be hard to spot, as they often shy away from humans and stay away from inhabited areas.
Due to its rugged, sparsely populated area, the Catlins, as it is sometimes referred to, hosts a number of rare flora and fauna. You can find the rare yellow-eyed penguin settled here, one of the most notable species in the area. There are also a number of marine mammals such as the New Zealand fur seals, Hooker’s sea lions, and sometimes the southern elephant seals. If you head into the forest you can find many endangered birds such as the yellowhead, kakariki, and kereru, or the New Zealand pigeon. With few land mammals represented across New Zealand, look for the long-tailed bat, one of only two endemic land mammal species. And, see if you can spot a southern forest gecko in the vegetation.
New Zealand has the largest diversity of seabirds living on its shores compared to any other area in the world. Seabirds get their food from the sea, so if a trip to the coast is exactly what you were hoping for, you can spot the many species that call New Zealand home. You can find penguins, albatrosses, petrels, shags, prions, gannets and skuas. A great place to watch the seabirds may be at the Otago Peninsula, famous for the albatrosses and yellow-eyed penguins. If you are visiting Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, you can find the large gannet colonies.
Is there anything more impressive than to watch a majestic whale soaring into the sky only to plummet back into the deep blue sea? If you head to Kaikoura on the east coast of South Island, you will experience the only place in the world where it is easy to see sperm whales. These whales can be spotted year-round and the Orca, or killer whales, may be seen from December to March. Humpbacks are easily spotted in June and July, with several dolphin species spotted daily in the area. The interesting submarine landscape of the area allows for much marine life to thrive in this location.
Are you a lover of adventure? Are you always looking for the next big thing to get your adrenaline pumping? There is no better way than to take a dive into the waters surround Stewart Island where over 100 great white sharks inhabit the waters. For those who just can’t calm their nerves enough to take on this challenge, there are also more mild activities such as swimming with seals, or even scuba diving.
When travel insurance is essential for your travels, even if it’s a short trip from Australia to New Zealand, consider a Cover-More policy. Thinking of all the fun, new and exciting adventures you’ll go on, you’ll quickly understand the importance of having a policy that protects you from unexpected accidents or problems. Cross a number of rare and interesting wildlife sightings off your bucket list when you travel to Christchurch in New Zealand.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Gregory Smith.