Banks Peninsula is an area of 1150 square kilometres of rugged, eroded, volcanic landscape surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. With two main harbours, Akaroa & Lyttleton, and a myriad of coastal bays with micro climates the opportunities to view endemic, indigenous & introduced species are many & varied. Just over an hour from Christchurch International Airport, Banks Peninsula provides a variety of bird watching opportunities for enthusiasts and casual observers with a great number of species in New Zealand being sighted in this area.
The vast expanse of shallow Lake Ellesmere on the edge of Banks Peninsula is home to a number of migrant waders as well as endemic & indigenous species of water birds. Access from the many laybys along the main Akaroa Christchurch Highway and the Motukarara Little River Rail Trail yield ample opportunities.
With an abundance of walking tracks covering a variety of habitats from bush & open grasslands on the summit to bush clad and rocky shorelines, many New Zealand native bush, grassland & sea birds can be seen from land.
However, a trip on one of the boat tours or even hiring a kayak yields an abundance of sea birds including, from time to time, several species of albatross including Royal, Bullers & Salvins; petrels, gulls, cormorants, shearwaters, penguins and more.
Take a scheduled tour or charter a pelagic to take in some of New Zealand’s best birding opportunities.
Accommodation ranges from an exclusive 5 star retreat which can be fully catered to secluded camping sites and everything in between. With many local accommodation operators being keen conservationists opportunity abounds for local insights and knowledge.