Bird watching tour in Queen Charlotte Sound

Enjoy close encounters with a variety of land and seabirds in the Queen Charlotte Sound. Species include the rare King Shag and endangered South Island Saddleback.

Bird watching tour
Bird watching tour

This cruise provides the opportunity to view a variety of land and sea birds including the very rare King Shag. Found only in the Marlborough Sounds, the KIng Shag is considered a prized bird amongst birdwatchers.  Learn about the wildlife from our experienced staff as we take the time to enjoy the species that call these waters home. Predator-free Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is a bird-lovers paradise and home to blue penguins, South Island Saddleback, Kereru, Bellbirds, Yellow-crowned Parakeets (Kakariki), NZ Falcon and South Island Robins. Enjoy a 1-hour guided bush walk to the top of the island for the added bonus of amazing view across the Cook Strait to the North Island. The birds here are plentiful, fearless and very vocal and if you sit quietly, they may even come within an arms reach!  Other species likely encountered include dolphins (Dusky, Bottlenose, Hector's, Common or Orca), NZ Fur Seals, Spotted, Pied and Little Shags, Variable Oystercatchers, White-fronted terns, Australasian Gannets, Fluttering Shearwaters, reef and white-faced herons, arctic skuas (seasonal).  and a variety of seabirds.

Tour Highlights

  • Rare King Shags, South Island Saddleback and other native birds
  • Dolphins (90% encounter rate), NZ Fur Seals, Penguins & seabirds
  • Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary guided walk (1 hour) 
  • Informative commentary about the history , culture and wildlife
  • Conservation focused  
  • Free tea, coffee and cookies after the walk

 

Departures Daily: 1:30pm (October - April) return 5:30pm (approx.)

Adult: $99, Child: $49 (5-14), 0-4 are free

 Dolphin Watch Naturetours booking


BLUMINE ISLAND OPTION (Groups and Charters Only)

We offer an exciting new option with our Birdwatchers Expeditions that explore Blumine instead of Motuara Island. Blumine Island is also a predator-free bird sanctuary and is home to the South Island Saddleback, Bellbirds, Kereru, Tomtits, Tui, Weka, and the very rare Mohua and Orange Fronted Parakeets. Contact us today or more details on how you and your group can visit this birdwatchers paradise.

 

KING SHAG COLONY OPTION (Groups & Charters Only)

We offer an option aimed at those birding groups interested in seeing one of the King Shag colonies from our vessel during a group or private charter excursion. Visiting one of the King Shag colonies is strictly weather dependent. This additional option ONLY applies to birdwatching groups or those requesting a private charter and wanting to see one of the King Shag colonies in the outer Sounds.  Please email us if you would like to know more about this option.

 

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Birdwatchers Expedition Video

Birdwatcher expedition video