Auckland skyscape-blog

Where to Find New Zealand’s Best Nightlife

September 12, 2016

Okay, so we all know New Zealand has some great bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs.  Hashigo Zake in Wellington, Depot in Auckland and the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay are just a few of our favourites.  Yet there is so much more to New Zealand night life than inner city revellery and drinking holes.  Here’s what we like to do when we’re not on a mission to find the best night cap in town:


#1 Kiwi Spotting with Ian Cooper in Okarito

Whilst standing very still in the pitch black, without making a sound shouldn’t get the adrenaline pumping, an evening kiwi spotting with Ian really is an undeniably exciting and extraordinary experience.  The tours start with a briefing about half an hour before sunset before heading out to the nearby bush.  You are primarily there for the chance to see a kiwi in the wild but the tours are also a great opportunity to listen for morepork (native owls), tree weta and possums.  As an activity it does involve a lot of patience, but the wait is quite meditative and seeing a kiwi in its own natural habitat is unforgettable.


#2 Stargazing with Alastair at Stargazers B&B in the Coromandel Peninsula

Explore the marvels of the southern night sky under the guidance of geologist and astronomer Alastair Brickell.  The greatest compliment we can give Alastair is that he makes space make sense.  He’ll point out a variety of constellations, as well as satellites journeying through the night sky.  In his observatory dome you can see planets and star clusters through his telescope, then afterwards visit the planetarium to hold thousand year old meteorites in your hands.   Go at the start of your trip, so you can truly enjoy the night skies for the rest of your time down under.


#3 Discover bioluminescence at Raetihi Lodge in Marlborough Sounds

Bioluminescence is an eerily awesome phenomena.  For those that don’t know, and to be frank why should you, it’s the production of light by vertebrates and organisms.  It’s especially spectacular when it takes place in the sea.  After a delicious meal, sit at the edge of the dock at Raetihi Lodge on the Pelorus Sound and trail your hand through the water.  If the conditions are right you’ll see a rippling afterglow, which is mesmerising to say the least.


#4 A Guided night walk at Zealandia

This is for the young at heart.  Zealandia is an enormous eco-sanctuary in Wellington.  You can visit during the day but for a more unusual adventure go at night.  Grab your torch and head out into the bush with your guide.  First hear the evening birdsong and then listen out for the calls of the kiwi.  If you’re lucky you will see a little spotted kiwi or tuatara.


#5 Visit the glow worm caves at Te Anau

On the western shores of Lake Te Anau is an underground network of caves, which is lit by hundreds of glow worms.  Learn about the cave’s geology and take a small boat into the glow worm’s silent grotto.  Their glittering displays are jaw-dropping and the cruise back over Lake Te Anau in the dark, under a blanket of stars, is pretty romantic too.


For more tips for night owls, get in touch on +44 (0)1298 74040 or email