• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Hidden Gems of New Zealand….

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Credit Angie Watson

Yellow Eyed Penguin in Catlins

I have recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the south part of the south island of New Zealand, and have fallen totally and irrevocably in love with the region! This is the path less travelled – where those on a tight time schedule tend to miss out, and boy do they miss out!

Discover the Otago Peninsula, with its stunning views over the harbour and opportunities to see endangered wildlife such as the Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguin and the rarest penguin in the world – the Yellow Eyed Penguin. Visit Larnach Castle with its Scottish architecture and interesting history, and explore the city of Dunedin with its heritage buildings and home to Speights Brewery.

From Dunedin, drive west through the beautiful Catlins region – home to rolling farmland, beautiful deserted beaches, temperate rainforest and plentiful waterfalls. See New Zealand sea lions lounging on the beach, tramp one of the many walking trails through the rainforest, and explore the small villages of this quiet region. A visit to Curio Bay and the Petrified Forest is a must – with more chances to see the rare Yellow Eyed Penguin in its natural environment (as I was lucky enough to see!).

Drive on to Invercargill, and from here travel by light aircraft or by ferry to the wild and incredible Stewart Island. With less than 400 residents on the island, and most of the island made up of National Park, this is a real chance to get away from it all, and enjoy the opportunity to explore the endemic flora and fauna found here. Nearby Ulva Island is a must for bird watchers, with many endemic and native species found here, and the island being almost entirely predator free. On Stewart Island itself go kiwi spotting at night (one of the few places to see kiwi in the wild), tramp part of the Rakiura Track – from a few hours to several days, or meander the small village of Oban and learn about the locals’ way of life.

This southern region provides a chance to get back to nature – to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife, to meet some of the friendliest people and to taste some of the freshest seafood on offer in New Zealand.

For more information on the region, and how it can be incorporated into a wider New Zealand bespoke tailor made holiday, call our office on 01323 446550 or email me at angie@experienceholidays.co.uk and we can discuss the possibilities to suit your preferences and requirements.


Credit Angie Watson


Otago Peninsula


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