British conservationist, photographer and presenter, Mark Carwardine, is once again in New Zealand undertaking a whistle-stop tour of some of the best wildlife attractions the country has to offer.
Well-known for inspiring the sexual advances of another conservation hero – Sirocco the kakapo – Carwardine is here to put New Zealand on the map as a wildlife destination for tourists coming from the UK.
Gannet from Muriwai gannet colony
“People in the UK see New Zealand as a great place for tramping or adventure-sports, but many are unaware of it’s potential as a place to experience some of the world’s most unique and interesting species,” says Carwardine.
His visit will highlight our ‘Small 5’ (as opposed to Africa’s ‘Big 5’) – species that tourists can expect to see on a two-week visit – Hector’s dolphins, tuatara, kiwi, kea and yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho.
“These species are endemic to New Zealand - found nowhere else in the world!” Says Carwardine.
Hector's dolphin in Akaroa Harbour
“And the nature-spotting opportunities go way beyond these five species. I’m also seeing a wide variety of other weird and wonderful wildlife in between - such as gannets and Fiordland crested penguins.”
Mark Carwardine’s trip to and around New Zealand comes courtesy of Tourism New Zealand and Discover the World, with the support of a number of regional and local tourism operators.
“It is part of Tourism New Zealand’s work to inspire others interested in our wildlife to visit the country, through the publication of Mark’s own New Zealand 100% Pure experiences,” says Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Brand and International PR, Catherine Bates.
Kea in Arthur's Pass
“New Zealand’s diverse terrain and extensive coastline provides a unique natural environment to support rare flora and fauna. The country’s wildlife experiences happen in easily accessible settings as well as remote locations, offering rewarding opportunities for the full range of holiday-makers.”
Carwardine’s tour starts by looking at tuatara on Tiritiri Matangi Island, out in the Hauraki Gulf followed by Muriwai gannet/takapu colony and then drops down to the South Island where he visits Hector’s dolphins in Akaroa, kea in Arthur’s Pass, Fiordland crested penguins/tawaki at Lake Moeraki, kiwi on Stewart Island and yellow-eyed penguins near Dunedin.
You can catch up with the latest news from Carwardine’s travels on his website.