Birding & wildlife tours

Light-mantled Sooty Albatross

Welcome (and a short history)

Welcome to my new site in April 2023, the successor to ‘Birders Rest’ This was the name of our home in Kerikeri in the Far North of New Zealand where we lived for 15 years. The new name derives from my new home in Karana Downs, a suburb to the west of Brisbane, Queensland. Although birds are the main focus of my tours, I will be taking a keen interest in other wildlife at all destinations.

Our tour-guiding began in Kerikeri when we discovered a reliable site to see the North Island Brown Kiwi just a half hour drive from home. Carol and I took birders from all over the world to see the Kiwi from 2005 onwards. By 2018 we had shown the birds to more than 1000 people. Our home was used as a B&B for visiting birders. We also took some guests on day tours of the Far North region to see some of the other endemic birds.

The move to Australia

I have been to Australia a number of times since my first visit in 1979. Our plans from 2017 to move there within a year or two were put on hold when Carol became ill in 2018. She was later diagnosed with MND and sadly she died in March 2019. By the end of that year I moved to Brisbane, finally settling into my new home in late 2021. A friend of ours, Cynthia Matthews, had started helping with the Kiwi tours in 2017 and after my departure she took over from us, achieving the success rate for sightings which we enjoyed. As she has stopped running the tours now, please get in touch with me if you are interested in visiting the site.

I can probably help with New Zealand sites for other species and with New Zealand birding generally, particularly if you are visiting the Far North region.

South-east Queensland is a wonderful area to live for a wildlife enthusiast, with extensive areas of good habitat for birds, mammals and all other wildlife. Close to Brisbane, even near the city, are forests, parks, lakes, rivers and wetlands. The interest in wildlife is far greater than it is in New Zealand with many opportunities for joining in groups for field trips, weekends away and travelling inland for some outback experience or to other parts of Australia.

Birding and wildlife tours abroad

After replying to an advert spotted by Carol in the UK magazine ‘Birding World’ in 2007, we found ourselves exploring an area of North Peru for birds in 2008 in an area around a new wildlife lodge near the town of Tarapoto. Further visits followed and with the newly acquired knowledge, Carol and I started running tours there in 2012. Other tour destinations were added, particularly Indonesia and Madagascar. However, with the onset of the Covid restrictions from 2020, all tours ceased.

From 2022 I have started running tours abroad again, with my first post-Covid trip taking us to southern Indonesia in September 2022. I have a program of tours from 2023 onwards, some familiar destinations and some new places where I will be looking to get small groups together to bring the cost of travel to some exciting locations down to an affordable figure. See the Tours page for more information.

Where to Find Birds in Far North New Zealand

My little site guide to the Far North is still available. I have a stock with me here in Brisbane and some with friends in Kerikeri. They are also stocked in some outlets in the Bay of Islands area and some specialist booksellers in the UK.