Birdlife in New Zealand is abundant, particularly in the many national parks. There are many bird watching tours to take part in, however you're more than welcome to explore on your own. Many of the country's native birds are also on display in a number of reserves, parks and zoos across the country.
New Zealand's waters are home to a number of dolphin species and these highly social creatures are great fun to get up close and personal with. There are even some tours available that allow you to swim with them. Bottle nosed dolphins are common in New Zealand as are Dusky dolphins, however the Hector's dolphin is a rare species only found in New Zealand.
Korora, Hoiho and Fiordland penguins are the three main species found in New Zealand. The smallest penguin in the world, the little blue penguin (Korora) is found on the coastal shores of Stewart Island, Akaroa Harbour and Marlborough Sounds. The yellow-eyed penguin (Hoiho) is an endangered species and is found on Otago's coast at Catlins and the Peninsula outside Dunedin. The yellow-crested penguin (Fiordland) is one of the rarest penguins in the world and can be found on Stewart Island, South Westland and of course, Fiordland.
Although the waters of New Zealand are home to a variety of whales, the main whale watching centres are found on the South Island's east coast at Kaikoura where Killer, Sperm and Humpback whales are spotted throughout the year.