Bird watching in New Zealand is specialised and very rewarding since many of the birds are endemic i.e. they only occur in New Zealand.
Some are rather rare and survive only in pockets of bush and on offshore islands.
Good numbers of both native and endemic birds can be seen in the South Western Waikato region, many within a 50Km (30 mile) radius of Redwood Lodge.
Locations to visit include:
Lake Ngaroto in Te Awamutu where Bittern, Spotless Crake, Marsh Crake and Fernbird have all been recorded.
Rangitoto Station, a remote area of native forest and grazing for sheep. Apart from wonderful views, there are also good numbers of bush birds. The wide variety of birds here includes the New Zealand falcon, Kaka (a large grey/brown parrot with bright red underwings) and Kokako (of the wattle bird family).
Oparau Wetland is a very small area of marshy land where Spotless Crake, Fernbird and Bellbird have been reported. Ruakuri bush walk a short but productive walk (45mins-1hr) in this beautiful bush may be rewarded by sightings of New Zealand Falcon, New Zealand pigeon, Tomtit, Whitehead, Tui and Bellbird. Ruakuri is considered one of the best short walks on North Island and is only 10 minutes from Redwood Lodge.
Mapara Wildlife Reserve is carefully managed to keep it as free from predators as possible, these actions have resulted in an upsurge in the numbers of many target birds in the area, kokako has been particularly successful. The bush walk (about 2 hours) resounds to the bird song, and commonly seen are Tui, Bellbird, Whitehead, Tomtit, Shining Cuckoo, Long-tailed Cuckoo and New Zealand Pigeon. In addition sightings of New Zealand Falcon and Kokako are also a strong possibility.
Further afield is Pureora Forest with several options for birding. The tower hide is a good vantage point for seeing Kokako at daybreak, and Kaka at most times during the day. There are various bush walks all of which can produce a number of native species of birds.
The list for Pureora includes:
New Zealand Pigeon, New Zealand Falcon, Kaka, Yellow Crowned Parakeet, Shining Cuckoo, Long-tailed Cuckoo, Kingfisher, Rifleman, New Zealand Pipit, Fantail, Tomtit, New Zealand Robin, Whitehead, Grey Warbler, Bellbird, Tui, Silvereye, and Kokako.