Accommodation and Excursion Options

Accommodation north of Auckland City – close to where the birds are!

Kiwi Wildlife’s home base is at Tramcar Bay on the shores of the Whangateau Harbour in the Warkworth-Matakana-Leigh area, 50 mins north of Auckland. We do not offer accommodation ourselves (we sold Te Kauri Birding Lodge recently and the new owners have decided not to continue it as a lodge) however we continue to offer our bird guiding services for daily excursions, seabird pelagics together with our highly successful birder’s travel service.

When you book through us you have our commitment to see you settled at the start of your New Zealand visit so you have time to relax before heading out to see the many endemics in this area. Of course if you want to go straight out and start looking for birds, that’s no problem. We’ll be ready to take you out birding whenever it suits you.

Here’s the chance to kick-start your New Zealand birding adventure!

We’re just beyond the edge of the Auckland City. This is an area with a superb indented coastline, hilly countryside with many acres of coastal and inland forest still intact including some reserves with towering kauri. It is also an area of beaches, high rocky headlands, and mangrove-lined estuaries snake back into the hills. The Hauraki Gulf and its many islands (most like Tiritiri Matangi are precious sanctuaries for New Zealand’s endemic wildlife) is close at hand, an opportunity to see seabirds endemic to northern New Zealand.

Kiwi Wildlife can arrange accommodation in a variety of places close to our boat trips and handy to Tiritiri Matangi and local birding sites: motels, hotels, B&Bs and camping grounds – whatever suits. Here’s a sampling:

Salty Dog Inn at Snell’s Beach offers comfortable roomy motel-style accommodation. The Salty Dog Inn restaurant serves excellent meals with a selection of local wines. The bar is a warm and friendly place to relax. Our tour groups stay here so they are well used to birders! Close to our pelagics departure point.

Salty Dog Inn, Snell’s BeachMotel unitsUnit interior

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“Moana Lodge” is located in North Cove on Kawau Island overlooking one of the most sheltered anchorages in the Hauraki Gulf and is only accessible by water. Your stay can be as relaxing or as busy as you decide. If you are staying at Moana Lodge and doing a pelagic with us then we can arrange to pick you up from Kawau Island – you just have to walk down to the jetty and meet our boat.

Guest accommodation comprises 2 queen bedrooms, each with its own en-suite and 1 queen bedroom with own separate bathroom. All suites have access direct onto the expansive decks over-looking the bay, use of mini fridge and bar plus own tea and coffee making facilities. Continental breakfast can be enjoyed with your hosts or in the privacy of your own area. Alternatively a cooked breakfast is available for a small extra charge. Lunch and dinner are available, as restaurant and café facilities are limited on the island.
Moana Lodge Mansion House Bay, Kawau island

Moana Lodge, Kawau Island 

The house policy is non-smoking inside. Nestled in the trees above the harbour, there are extensive views from the whole home. Bush walks with North Island weka, morepork and tui; swimming; kayaking; sightseeing and sailing.

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The Bridgehouse Hotel in Warkworth

This historic hotel overlooks the river, right in the heart of Warkworth. The Bridgehouse offers budget en-suite accommodation with a very good bar and restaurant. Handy to SH1 and the many birding locations we visit in the area.

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Excursion ideas for ‘our patch’

Day trip ideas (each day trip can incorporate some of these sites)

  • Tiritiri Matangi Island Sanctuary – the jewel of the Hauraki Gulf with many endangered or rare birds easily seen
  • Regional Parks – Wenderholm, Shakespeare, Tawharanui and Mahurangi are all close by
  • Straka Lake for NZ dabchick and waterfowl
  • Omaha Beach for fernbird, NZ dotterel and others
  • Waipu for fairy tern and waders
  • Kawau Island for a bit of history and North Island weka
  • Goat Island Marine Reserve – great for snorkelling and picnicking
  • Manukau Harbour – Mangere for waders (close to airport)
  • Miranda shorebird centre – premier wading bird location in NZ: wrybill plover
  • Whangamarino Wetlands for bittern and other secretive birds
  • Auckland’s Wild West – Muriwai gannet colony with spectacular wild coastal scenery and Cascade Kauri Forest Park and Waitakere Ranges for large kauris
  • Kaipara Harbour – shorebirds in wild locations
Wrybill ploverAustralasian gannetNgaurahoe, Tongariro NP

Further afield, self drive or overnight guided excursions

  • Northland’s kauri forests and Bay of Islands – also kiwi spotting 
  • Waitomo Caves – glowworms and spectacular limestone formations
  • Tongariro National Park – active volcanoes, great forests, blue ducks, NZ falcon, NI kaka and many other species
  • Rotorua and Whirinaki – thermal area. Maori culture, podocarp forests, blue duck and many forest species
  • Bay of Plenty – thermal landscapes, White Island volcano, ocean beaches, estuaries and superb forests with a wide range of birdlife
  • Coromandel Peninsula – forests and beaches
  • Great Barrier Island -an island haven for brown teal, kaka, banded rail, black petrel, NZ dotterel