Nature and Wildlife in Queenstown
Discover Conservation in Queenstown
Queenstown’s natural landscapes are, without a doubt, spectacular. But there is a lot of work that goes into keeping these landscapes and the native inhabitants preserved. Native species, mostly birds, throughout the South Island have been under threat since the introduction of pests. Some of these pests like deer and rabbits were introduced for sport hunting, others like rats arrived as stowaways, and the destructive possums were brought to New Zealand with the ill-fated idea of starting a fur trade. These introduced species have had a catastrophic effect on the native environment, as they prey on, and compete with, native species and spread disease. Groups such as the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust work in the Queenstown area to create predator-free environments where New Zealand’s unique bird species and other native wildlife can flourish. Learn more about the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust.
Meet Queenstown wildlife at the Kiwi Birdlife Park
One of the best places to see New Zealand’s native species is at Queenstown’s famous Kiwi Birdlife Park. This wildlife sanctuary in the heart of Queenstown holds over 20 species of native New Zealand wildlife within its 5-acre park. Here, you are guaranteed to see a kiwi in the specially-constructed nocturnal houses, and your entry fee supports ongoing conservation work to ensure these special birds survive. The birdlife park is set in a beautifully landscaped oasis and also offers the chance to meet other locals like the kakariki, kereru (wood pigeon) and the tuatara (lizard). Find out where to see a kiwi in Queenstown.
Queenstown Nature Walks
Downtown Queenstown is a high-energy spot, but you don’t have to go far to find peace and serenity in the wilderness. From a short walk along the lake or a hike up Queenstown Hill to longer hikes into the close by National Parks, Queenstown offers plenty of opportunities to escape to nature.
Queenstown Hill Time Walk is one of Queenstown’s most popular walks. Queenstown Hill’s name in Māori is Te-Tapu-nui, which translates as mountain of intense sacredness; take a walk to the Basket of Dreams sculpture at the summit and you will understand why it is named this way.
Visiting Glenorchy is a must-do
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is a spectacular scenic route along Lake Wakatipu which delivers you to the beautiful wilderness area of Mt Aspiring National Park. Here you will find an actual place called Paradise, as well as native beech forests, walking tracks and the impressive Dart River valley. See for yourself why the movie makers love the remote, yet beautiful landscapes of Glenorchy.