1YoT: Animals of New Zealand

We saw so many animals on our New Zealand roadtrip. Especially birds. New Zealand is a bird paradise, home to tons of beautiful, unique, often endemic birds. New Zealand is also a sea life paradise, and while we didn’t go in the water much, we did go to several beaches, and saw lots of animal life there.

New Zealand is not a mammal paradise. In fact there are no mammals native to New Zealand, every mammal on the islands was brought by humans: the Maori brought dogs and Europeans brought everything else. Despite this, Inna and I still saw a decent amount of mammals on our roadtrip.

We also saw insects and crustaceans and other weird animals; we saw pretty much everything but amphibians and reptiles.

And this is the post where we show them!

Like my Animals of North America post, this post will be divided by region. This post will also exclude pets and zoo animals. Farm animals will included, but they will be noted with a *. Finally, as with everywhere, New Zealand has a lot of insects. Therefore, insects will only be included here if they are unique/notable or if we took a picture of them.

Alright, enough introduction, lets get to the pictures!


The following animals we saw all over New Zealand. Rather than listing them everywhere, I’ll include them here. These animals include:

Hawks, horses*, cows*, goats*, sheep*, chickens*, lots of other birds


We saw hawks everywhere but it was difficult to get a picture of them. At one point, near Tongariro, we even saw one carrying the carcass of an animal it killed. I wish we could have gotten a picture of that!

In the competition for animals we’ve seen the most during our year of travel, I think cows come in second, after dogs. We definitely saw a lot in New Zealand, and this was true even before we visited the dairy farm on the southern island.

We’ve also seen a lot of pigs, chickens, and goats during our year of travel, but not as many as we’ve seen cows.


Rabbits, leaf bugs, mussels, some weird tide pool pod animal, a dead jellyfish, a fish skeleton

We didn’t see any animals in Egmont National Park, probably because it was raining almost our entire visit. But we saw lots of animals on the beaches near the park. Above are mussels we found in a tidepool, and leaf bug in the sand nearby.


This is the weird tide pool pod animal we saw. What the heck is that thing?

A dead fish and a dead jellyfish. The fish skeleton was particularly interesting, we’d never seen anything like it!


Glowworms, deer*, roosters*, wild turkeys

Waitomo is famous for its glowworms, and we saw a lot of them. They were one of the most unique animals we’ve ever seen.


Wild turkeys hanging out outside the glowworm cave.


This was my favorite animal from all of New Zealand. Never have I gotten so close to a deer before; at one point he was only inches from my face! I got to pet her, which was so cool, and looking into her eyes was mesmerizing.


The deer actually came closer than this, but beyond this my camera wasn’t able to focus.


Sand dollars, mussels, starfish, crabs, more dead jellyfish

Kawakawa Bay was teeming with sea life, although much of is was dead, or at least seemed dead to us.


This guy was definitely dead. Look at the size of him!


hedgehog, black swan, ducks, pukeko


The deer may have been my favorite animal but this one was the cutest. This is a hedgehog, an invasive species and technically a pest, but New Zealanders like them because they are so adorable.

A black swan and some ducks. We didn’t get a picture of the pukeko; he was the most interesting bird we saw in Rotorua but unfortunately he didn’t hang around for photographs.


Seals, peacocks, crabs, more dead jellyfish, other tide pool animals, alpacas*, spiderwebs (but no spiders)


We saw three seals at Golden Bay’s Wharariki Beach. One was in the beach’s lagoon and the other two were trying to join him, but he kept fighting them off.


What a beauty! Later, in Kuala Lumpur, we would see one of these guys with his feathers expanded. It was incredible.

Another dead jellyfish and some tide pool animals. Can you spot the crab in the bottom photograph?


Strange looking spider web. What’s going on here?


Bellbirds, wekas, keas, alpacas*, donkeys*, deer*


Wekas, small, flightless, endemic to New Zealand birds, were all over this area. Add to this the bird’s bold and curious personality, and they were very easy to spot.


This bird, a kea, is the world’s only alpine parrot and was without a doubt the most beautiful bird we saw in New Zealand.


Remember the hedgehog in Rotorua, the one I said was the cutest animal we saw on our roadtrip? Well I lied, he was the second cutest. This guy was the cutest, a curious alpaca we found watching cars go by on the highway.

And that marks the end of the animals we saw in New Zealand. Unfortunately, we didn’t see New Zealand’s most famous animal, the kiwi, but most people don’t, as they are very rare. However, we did see several stuffed kiwis, both at Tongariro and in Christchurch’s Canterbury Museum. And even though we missed live kiwis, we really enjoyed the animals we saw; seeing animals in their natural habitat is so exciting! It is one of Inna and my favorite things to do while traveling!


2 thoughts on “1YoT: Animals of New Zealand

  1. Enjoyed reading your NZ travel blog Gabriel and Inna. No mention of the possum road kill that I’m sure you would have seen. These animals are best dead as they are destroying our native forest. Great Barrier Island are free of these pests. Also a great place to visit. Maybe next time.


    1. We didn’t see any possum roadkill on our roadtrip, or if we did we don’t remember it. Are they common? I know that New Zealand has lots of problems with invasive mammals, I mentioned this with regard to hedgehogs in my Rotorua post.

      Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Great Barrier Island. We didn’t make it anywhere far north or far south; there’s just too much to do in this country! But we’re not upset, it just makes us excited for our next visit!


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