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Explore your own backyard with these Kiwi tour companies

Image credit: Corin Walker Bain

Explore your own backyard with these Kiwi tour companies

With borders closed for the foreseeable future, New Zealanders are preparing to explore their own backyard.

Explore your own backyard with these Kiwi tour companies

While it’s common for Kiwis to embark on a tour or explore the attractions in other parts of the world, some of us may not have thought to do the same in our own country.

However, it’s time to look at travel around New Zealand with a new perspective, as our local tourism operators need the business while the borders are shut.

A number of them are refocusing, adapting their offerings for the local market. Here’s a list of unique and exciting tours you can take to get the most out of a trip in Aotearoa:

Bush and Beach

Bush and Beach is one of New Zealand’s longest-running eco-tour companies, and now it has launched a range of day trips from Auckland for the domestic traveller.

Branded ‘Kiwis guiding Kiwis’, the destinations include Kumeu Wine Country, Piha Beach and surrounding rainforest, the Coromandel, a craft beer tour of Auckland and a new combo tour to Hobbiton and the Good George Brewery in Hamilton.

The new ‘Hobbiton and Hops Journey’ day trip from Auckland combines the Hobbiton movie set and a brewery tour of Good George in Hamilton, which brews the beer for Hobbiton.

Plus, you can have peace of mind when it comes to your environmental impact while on a Bush and Beach tour – the company has been Carbon Zero certified for four years and has a strong commitment to sustainability.


Stray typically specialises in taking international visitors ‘off the beaten track’ in New Zealand, however the team has been working hard to adapt to a new domestic audience and get a bus of Kiwi adventurers on the road exploring New Zealand.

They’ve relaunched with their Haere Mai Tour, a 24-day tour starting in Auckland before circumnavigating the North and South Island. It hits local hotspots, as well as some unique destinations further off the beaten track guaranteed to impress even the most well-travelled New Zealanders.

Following this initial tour, the Stray team plans to create more options for the local market and believes there is a real opportunity for Kiwis to have that ‘OE experience’ right here at home.

Ziptrek Ecotours

Ziptrek Ecotours is an award winning eco-tourism company based in Queenstown which is re-imagining what its sustainable zipline business looks like moving forward.

Recognising that the arts, culture and performance scenes have also taken a huge hit in terms of gatherings, Ziptrek has been exploring events that combine two problems into one solution, essentially innovating to find a new way of utilising Ziptrek’s assets and skills and transferring them into a guided tour through a new cultural adventure.

The first foray into this innovative way of thinking was a pop-up music event amongst the trees that was launched to celebrate New Zealand Music Month (May) – Treehouse Sessions. By utilising Ziptrek’s tree decks as unique staging platforms, visitors were able to journey through the forest on ziplines while listening to local music artists perform.

‘Ziptrek as an Outdoor Venue’ is a larger plan Ziptrek has for future pop up events starting in spring. They’re exploring options for sculpture, spoken word, (really) short films and any other pursuit that is without a space.

In the meantime, Ziptrek is also continuing to operate its usual tours of different duration and number of ziplines. And it is currently offering New Zealanders 40% off all of their tours!


This Wanaka adventure tourism company is offering pay-what-you-can adventures to domestic tourists. Wildwire operates via ferrata routes and structures through the region’s hilly terrain, including the world’s highest waterfall cable climb.

The suitably titled ‘Lord of the Rungs’ climb sees thrill-seekers cross a three-wire bridge, go behind a 60-metre waterfall and climb 450 metres to an airy overhang. The five-hour journey finishes with a stunning helicopter ride.

Coined the ‘Koha Climb’ campaign, it was originally offered to the local community. However, after an overwhelming response, the company decided to extend the offer to others throughout the country.

Wildwire’s climbs are typically priced between $199 and $599. The company is asking for a minimum of $75 per person to cover expenses.

Glenorchy Air

Many Kiwis have always dreamed of seeing New Zealand’s spectacular scenery from the air. For a few weeks only, Glenorchy Air is offering two special deals. One is for its 80-minute Milford Sound Scenic Flyover, normally $399 and currently only $189, and its Earnslaw Burn & The Glaciers 40-minute flight, now only $99.

The Milford Sound Scenic Flyover departs Queenstown and showcases panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and glacier-fed braided rivers, as well as breath-taking scenery over Fiordland National Park, and then out over the rugged West Coast and the Tasman Sea.

Stewart Island Adventures

Stewart Island Adventures is allowing customers to pay what they like for its trips in September this year through a koha scheme.

Visitors will be able to book a Stewart Island Adventures diving tour and at the end of the trip put as much as they want into a jar. The tour would normally cost $160 for half a day.

Beaks & Feathers

Customers can also pay what they like for Beaks & Feathers’ kiwi spotting night tour on Stewart Island in September. This popular tour, which is usually valued at $100, allows you to experience kiwi in their natural environment.

Beaks & Feathers has exclusive access to private land where New Zealand’s precious kiwi come out at night to feed.

Tonight’s kiwi encounter. #beaksandfeathersnz #southernbrownkiwi #stewartisland

Posted by Beaks & Feathers on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Pūkaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre

Pūkaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, in the Wairarapa, pioneered captive breeding techniques for some of the New Zealand’s most threatened birds.

Home to a restored forest and captive breeding site, Pukaha is also home to Manukura, the only white kiwi in captivity (hatched in 2011), along with other endangered wildlife such as takahē, kōkako, kākā and longfin eels.

The centre officially reopened last week and launched a new ‘Bubble Tour’ to accommodate smaller intimate tours of the reserve allowing for social distancing.

As a way to say welcome back, it also offered koha entry for Queen’s Birthday weekend.

During lockdown the centre held a few digital fundraising initiatives in response to not being able to hold its annual ‘Love Pukaha’ fundraising event. Instead it marked Manukura’s 9th hatchday with a Give a Little fund and ran a series of online Trade Me auctions – one to mark each year of Manukura’s life.

The online auctions including sponsorship and several once in a lifetime experiences raised almost $5,000.

Our national wildlife centre has closed as our government takes unprecedented measures to protect the health of all New…

Posted by Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre on Monday, March 23, 2020

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