Known in birding circles, simply as the ‘WPO’, this expedition incorporates many of the key birding areas in the South West Pacific. First offered in 2007, it is now considered one of the ‘must do’ expeditions for any birder because of opportunities to see some of the rarest pelagic seabirds in the world plus many island endemics. But it is not only for ‘birders’. The cetacean list can only be described as outstanding and if you ever tire of birding or cetacean watching then there are numerous snorkelling, swimming and relaxing opportunities.
After departing the Port of Tauranga, in New Zealand we sail for the rich waters of the Hauraki Gulf where there are numerous endemic species, including the recently discovered New Zealand Storm Petrel. From there it’s northward to Norfolk Island for a day. Next stop is New Caledonia where we search for the amazing Kagu and other endemics in the Rivière Bleue National Park.
We then spend five exciting days in the Solomon Islands birding on Rennell, Makira, Guadalcanal (Mt Austin), Santa Isabel and Kolombangara, before cruising across the New Britain Trench, an area known to be extremely rich in cetaceans. As we sail along the coasts of Bougainville and New Ireland, we will look for two extremely poorly known seabirds, Heinroth’s Shearwater and the recently rediscovered Beck’s Petrel, both of which we have seen on almost all our previous expeditions in this region.
Next stop is Truk Island (Federated States of Micronesia) for some more intensive birding before we set a course for the Bonin Islands south of Japan. Our route will take us to Chichi-jima, Haha-jima and Torishima Islands (and hopefully Short-tailed Albatross) before we visit Miyake-jima, where we will look for the last specialities of the expedition. Our voyage will then conclude at the Port of Yokohama in Japan.
This expedition is accompanied by some of the best pelagic birding guides in the world who have extensive experience of the seabirds of the West Pacific and have visited the islands we will be landing on multiple times before. Birding starts at dawn and finishes at sundown. Our guides are there throughout the day to assist you and the ‘reading of the bird list’ each evening is legendary for its detail and discussion. This is one expedition you can’t afford to miss.
Short-tailed, Black-footed, Campbell, Shy, Buller’s and Wandering Albatross, Fluttering, Wedge-tailed, Little, Tropical, Bannerman’s, Streaked, Bryan’s, Heinroth’s, Short-tailed & Buller’s Shearwater, Gould’s, Black-winged, Providence, Beck’s, Bonin’s, White-necked, Kermadec, Bulwer’s, Collared, Grey-faced, Great-winged, Tahiti & Black Petrel, New Zealand, White-bellied, Matsudaira’s, Tristram’s, Leach’s, Polynesian, Band-rumped, ‘New Caledonian Storm Petrel’ & White-faced Storm Petrel, Grey-backed & White Tern, Little Penguin, Blue & Black Noddy, Common Diving Petrel, Red-tailed & White-tailed Tropicbird, Black-tailed Gull, Japanese Cormorant, Japanese Murrelet, Norfolk Island Parakeet, Slender-billed White-eye, Norfolk Gerygone, Teardrop White-eye, Chuuk Monarch, Bonin Honeyeater, Kagu, New Caledonian Goshawk, Goliath (New Caledonian) Pigeon, Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, New Caledonian Parakeet, New Caledonian Crow, New Caledonian & South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, Long-tailed Triller, Fan-tailed Gerygone, Melanesian (New Caledonian) Whistler, Striated Starling, New Caledonian Myzomela, Barred & Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Friarbird, Red-throated Parrotfinch, Rennell Starling, Rennell Shrikebill, Bare-eyed White-eye, Rennell Fantail, Rennell White-eye, Sooty Myzomela, White-collared Monarch, White-mottled Flowerpecker, White-headed Fruit Dove, Rufous Fantail, Red-capped Myzomela, White-billed Crow, Solomons Cuckooshrike, Solomons Monarch and Yellow-throated White-eye, Sanford’s Sea Eagle, Roviana Rail, Citrine White-eye, Micronesian Myzomela, Micronesian Starling, Oceanic Flycatcher, Caroline Reed Warbler, Island Swiftlet, Purple-capped Fruit Dove, Izu Thrush, Ijima’s Leaf Warbler, Japanese Wood Pigeon, Japanese Robin, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Japanese Bush Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Japanese White-eye, Brown-eared Bulbul.
Sperm, Sei, Short-finned Pilot, Melon-headed, False Killer, Cuvier’s Beaked, Longman’s Beaked, Hubb’s Beaked, Pygmy Sperm & Dwarf Sperm Whale, Bottlenose, Spinner, Striped & Pantropical Spotted Dolphin.
Pacific Ocean, landings on tropical islands, lowland rain forests, deciduous forest
cool (but not cold) seas off New Zealand & Japan, much hotter weather as we sail near the equator. Rain is likely on some days
very relaxed, with some longer optional walks
brilliant coral reef snorkeling, traditional island culture, rarely visited tropical islands, historical World War II relics
What our clients say about tours to New Zealand
Erik Forsyth is not only extremely knowledgeable but also accommodating and fun.
Erik Forsyth is one of the best guides. Extraordinary knowledge of birds as well as New Zealand itself. Personable and cheerful with a wonderful sense of humour. He is attentive birders’ needs and made every effort to meet and exceed any special needs. He knew where to try and find the endemics, and the only…
Overall, a very good tour. Erik Forsyth got us onto all the most wanted birds and was attentive to everyone’s needs. He was professional and kept the atmosphere fun and light.
The trip sounded good in the write-up but far exceeded our expectations. The pelagic trips were outstanding. The number of participants was perfect. Erik knew the birds and their calls/sounds and was very effective in getting everyone to see the birds. He called many pelagic IDs well before other people had even spotted the birds. Erik’s skills in managing the participants showed and his sense of humour added to his effectiveness. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
Beautiful country, good birding sites, good group of travelers. Eric Forsyth was an excellent guide, handling all situations very well, including weather-related activity cancellations that were beyond his control.
Erik Forsyth is not just totally knowledgeable about the birds, he makes the whole journey effortless and fun.
Erik was a delight to be with, as his sense of humour was a constant. Having him at the helm added an unexpected and pleasurable dimension to the whole trip. The entire trip was terrific: beautiful scenery, nice people, good beer and food, and comfy accommodations.
We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, which covered a wonderfully varied range of environments, scenery, birds, etc., and was a great introduction to New Zealand. Erik Forsyth did a good job of rearranging times and/or dates for two of the pelagics, which were ultimately successful–even given substantial rain and wind.
Erik Forsyth’s depth of knowledge of the birds of New Zealand was astounding. He delivered on all the species possible, and some even became good friends with multiple good sightings before the trip was through. He was good-natured and managed our group well throughout the long hours of driving on several days. The accommodations were…
The tour was well-planned and Erik Forsyth was an excellent leader. The accommodation, food and transportation were also excellent.
Erik Forsyth was excellent, a great guide; professional, knowledgeable, friendly and pleasant to be around. He was also a careful driver who spent many hours driving us around New Zealand. All in all, I was left very satisfied and happy with the tour; and this being my first Rockjumper tour, I was left with a…