USA 1 866 241 9653

New Zealand 643 738 0519


Travel Notes

Wilderness Quest New Zealand - a summary


Wilderness Quest New Zealand is located in the Haupiri River Valley and is the only major outfitter located on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The climate and hunting areas are very different on the 'coast' due to an increased rainfall. Instead of the open tussock and thorn bush country that you so often see on the TV shows we are hunting in temperate rainforest.

It is common for us to be stalking through dense ferns and thick vegetation when searching for Red Stags (temperate rainforest similar to western Washington State, Vancouver Island etc).

Dark Antlered Stags

One noticeable benefit on the coast is that due to the heavy vegetation most of our Red Stags get nice dark antlers from rubbing. Most other outfitters have mainly the pale antlered stags to hunt because of the lack of heavy forest for them to rub up.

Hunters prefer the dark antlers with white tips on a trophy stag like this nice 330 class Stag!

Haupiri river

Our Lodge is on the banks of the beautiful clear waters of the Haupiri River. This is a perfectly clear, cold water river and has good numbers of brown trout in it. These trout can get up to 10-12 lbs and are very exciting to see and also very challenging to catch on a fly. There are also nature walks that our non-hunters enjoy up the Haupiri River valley with spectacular views of rugged mountains and clear streams.

Haupiri River - awesome brown trout (catch and release fishing)

Accommodations - private and exclusive

Each of our hunting groups has their own personal and private accommodations; there is no-one else there except your group in your lodge. We have two two-bedroom riverside lodges that are next to the Haupiri River and a larger five-bedroom homestead lodge in another location on our property for larger groups. These lodges are all fully self-contained with washing, drying and cooking facilities, high-speed wireless internet and satellite TV with a tasteful selection of DVDs provided as well. We have full first-class catering and all the meals that we provide are home cooked and to be honest you will not find better food the world over. Feedback from our clients is that everything is far better than they would expect anywhere and that meals, accommodation and service are as good as it gets and 'second to none'.


With each hunt we aim to cater to the physical capabilities of our hunters. Our goal is to make each hunt a challenge to the hunter and of suitable difficulty for each hunter so that they will feel the reward of working for their trophies. We can achieve this by having different hunting areas of varying difficulty and also by how we conduct the hunt.

Red Stag

We are at distinct advantage with our Red Stag hunts because we breed most of our own animals on our own property. Due to a rigorously managed breeding programme over the last 20 years we have developed some of the best Red Stags in New Zealand.

World Record Red Stag

Free-range areas:

Our free-range hunting is up the Haupiri River Valley and since we control access to this area we have been able to also control the hunting to a degree. Over the years by continued management and the introduction of quality genetics we have been able to improve the quality of our free-range herds. The area that we hunt is bordered by the Southern Alps which is a vast area of thousands of square miles of public land and wilderness areas.

We actively manage our free-range Red Deer herds in our valley by having feed plots with good quality feed, improving the genetics and by controlling the hunting pressure. This management of our wild herd is a work in progress and we will continue to develop it further despite the absence of any New Zealand big game regulations or control on hunting from our NZ government or Fish and Game department. This is a challenge!

Himalayan Tahr

The Himalayan tahr is one of the most sought after trophies in New Zealand and we have worked long and hard to provide the ultimate hunting experience for these amazing animals. In 2012 wetook the current #1 World Record Tahr on public wilderness land. Unlike many of the large outfitters who either hunt high-fence trophy parks on the East Coast or do the 30 minute helicopter 'hunts' (these 'hunts' are very questionable ethically) we provide different options for our hunters based on their physical capabilities and the time of season. For the hunts in the west coast wilderness areas, we can only access these remote hunting areas by helicopter where we are dropped off with our camp and then stay for 1 - 2 days hunting for tahr from a spike camp. Late season when there is a lot of snow around we still hunt on foot but generally only stay in the mountains during the day and will fly out at night or once the hunt is complete. We also have excellent options for vehicle accessible hunting areas on the East Coast of the main divide.

Our guides are very experienced at hunting the elusive bull tahr and over the years we have had a very high success rate harvesting top quality trophies. Our other option for hunting tahr is on the eastern side of the main divide at a premium game estate. This area holds consistently large bull tahr and is a good quality hunt which provides excellent trophy animals. We also do free-range and public land hunts on foot in this area and is a good alternative to have when there is bad weather on the west coast.

Gear and equipment:

While most hunters will bring their own personal hunting clothing and gear, many do not want to bother with taking their firearms overseas. For those of our hunters that choose to bring their own rifles we assist them with the police permit etc. As an alternative we provide top quality rifles and scopes for their use free of charge while hunting with us here. We also have a muzzleloader rifle so hunters have plenty of good options for their hunt.

Non-hunting activities

Our Scenic Flight Tour is a very popular day trip with amazing views of the Southern Alps, Mt Cook, many glaciers (including Franz Josef and Fox glaciers) and Milford Sound. This is an all day trip and includes a helicopter landing on the Franz Josef glacier, a two hour cruise around Milford Sound and an unforgettable look at the Southern Alps of New Zealand along the backbone of the South Island.

New Zealand has a lot to offer for sightseeing and on the west coast we have some very unique natural features that our clients enjoy seeing. In addition to this there are some great spots to find local craftsmanship with local artists carving the New Zealand Jade (Pounamu) harvested from our West Coast mountains and rivers. These guys are great to watch and our clients then have the opportunity to buy these unique works in the retail section of these stores. There are also excellent clothing and souvenir stores that we recommend where you will find Merino wool blended with the fur of our Brushtailed Possums. These possums are very different to those found in North American and have a very soft fur which is excellent for clothing.

Sea fishing

For people wanting an added dimension of adventure we offer our Sea fishing trip. This is a 4 hour trip off the west coast in a chartered fishing launch where you will see some interesting coastline while fishing for snapper, kahawai and barracuda. Sometimes you will also see dolphins and fur seals.

SCI Trophy Records (South Pacific Top Ten):

Here is a list of the hunters that we have in the SCI Record Book Top Ten.

Red Stag (estate) Crossbow #1 Alex Crosbie (626 SCI)

Red Stag (free-range) Rifle #3 Georgette Jacob
Muzzleloader #4 John Hossack
Rifle #6 Lee Ann Johnson

Himalayan Tahr (free-range) Rifle #1 Tom Felts

Himalayan Tahr (estate) Crossbow #2Linda Donaho
Bow & Arrow #4Misty Rood
Rifle #5Missy Martin
Rifle #6Jocelyn Herrema (8 year's old!)

Arapawa Ram Crossbow #1Michael A Lieb
Bow & Arrow #2Matthew Wilkins
Crossbow #4Brittany Boddington
Rifle #6Kenny Jones
Rifle #7Bob Driesenga
Bow & Arrow #5Misty Rood

Feral Goat Crossbow #1Brittany Boddington
Crossbow #3Lee Ann Johnson
Crossbow #4Ned Johnson

South Pacific Wild Turkey (non-typical) Shotgun #1John Hossack

As you see from the above, we are positive that there is plenty of things that distinguish us as a premium New Zealand outfitter and there are many unique aspects to what we have to offer. The biggest feature that we major on is our personalised service and commitment to quality at every stage of our operation. This level of care has reflected well in the reviews we have received from our hunters and we will continue to be always improving in any way possible to be the best we can.

Yours sincerely,
Zion Pilgrim
Outfitter and Guide
Wilderness Quest New Zealand

Dear Hunter!

We hope this letter finds you fit and well for your trip to New Zealand. You will find details below on general travel requirements, our recommended gear list, a firearms import application form and guidelines in order for you to prepare for your trip. Following this, a detailed summary of information will ensure your travel goes smoothly to New Zealand and then again, back home.

Here are a few tips and points for you to consider for your trip.


All travellers leaving the USA must have a valid USA Passport for international travel. If a passport must be obtained or renewed, this can be done at certain United States post offices. You should allow 6-8 weeks for processing.


Upon arrival into New Zealand, when filling out your New Zealand Customs Declaration Form, be sure to declare your firearm(s) (in addition to the 'Visitors Firearms Licence' detailed below) and hunting boots. Also make sure your boots and all packed footwear are cleaned spotlessly. If you fail to declare or have clean footwear, you may be fined $200 NZ. It is helpful to keep your footwear packed in the top of your bag, so you can easily find them when you arrive at customs.

Airline Travel, Hotel, and Trip Planning

We recommend that you start making your hotel and airline flight reservations at least 4-5 months in advance, as travel and accommodation can be hard to get at specific times during the season, if left at short notice.

When you contact the travel agent, you must keep in mind that when travelling to New Zealand, you will 'lose' a day getting here. For example, if you depart the USA on the 10th, you will arrive in New Zealand on the 12th. You will get this time 'back' on your return. And in regard to your return trip - if you depart New Zealand on the 20th, you will arrive back in the USA on the 20th.

We recommend that you plan to arrive into Christchurch airport on the morning of the first day of your booked hunt (this will normally be between 8 - 10:30 am).

If you are unsure of how to go about international travel arrangements, Esplanade Travel will be happy to price out your airfare itinerary for your trip to New Zealand. You are welcome to use your own travel agent; however if you need help, Kit and her team will be happy to help.

Here are the contact details for Esplanade Travel:

Katharine Schultze
Free Phone 1.800.628.4893 |
Phone 1.617.266.7465 |
Fax 1.617.262.9829 |

Hotel Accommodation

Below are the Christchurch hotels we recommend our clients use during their trip - If you are looking at either an extended stay around Christchurch or just a layover, we have some good friends who will host you in their luxurious home, and cater to your every need.

Peter & Carolyn Graham
Te Oka Lodge
63 Mill Road
Ohoka, Christchurch
Phone: + 64 3 327 0006
Cell: + 64 27 206 9598

Close to the airport: (Distance between the airport and city is approx. 6 miles)

Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport
449 Memorial Avenue
Christchurch, 8053
New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 358 8129
Fax: +64 3 358 2231

Please send us your arrival and departure details and any other travel information regarding your trip, as soon as possible after you have booked your flights and hotel reservations, preferably by email or fax for our records. It is also a good idea to email or call us before leaving home or once in NZ to confirm that you will be arriving as per your trip plans. We can be reached at one of the following numbers while you are in New Zealand: WQNZ Office: 03 738 0519

Suggested Clothing and Gear List

New Zealand weather patterns are very unpredictable, and are constantly changing from day to day and even hour to hour. It can rain or shower at any time of the year so even if you are hunting in March or April we recommend that you bring some warm hunting clothes, including some type of insulated underwear. Below are some recommendations for the required hunting clothes:

Clothing (best to dress in layers and avoid the heavy and bulky items)

  • 2 pair thermal underwear
  • 2 pair hunting trousers - light/medium weight
  • 2 medium weight hunting shirts
  • 2-4 pair of woollen socks
  • 1 lightweight hunting jacket
  • 1 warm hunting jacket
  • 1 set of lightweight raingear - jacket and pants
  • Warm gloves
  • Warm hat or cap

There are washing and drying facilities in the lodges so you will not need to bring all fresh clothing for your entire stay.

Other gear

  • well broken-in lace up boots - CLEAN FOR ENTRY INTO NZ (a good support boot is recommended for the alpine hunts, we recommend Kenetrek boots) knee high muck boots for some hunts (ask our team)
  • binoculars (preferably 8 or 10 power, our guides have excellent spotting scopes)
  • small day pack
  • lightweight flashlight and/or head lamp
  • camera
  • sunglasses
  • 40 rounds of ammunition (See information below regarding using our firearms or bringing your own rifle into NZ)
  • Bow hunters, please bring a minimum of 12 shafts or more depending on what you are hunting.
  • Waterfowl hunters and Bow hunters must bring FULL camouflage, which includes face masks and gloves.

Personal items

We recommend that you bring at least 2 times the required amount of prescriptions and daily-required medicines for the duration of your trip to New Zealand. These should be packed in your CARRY-ON baggage (NOT in your checked luggage in-case these are delayed). It is also a good idea to bring an extra - pair of glasses, contacts and daily cleaner, and other 'essential' items for your trip.


If you are NOT bringing your own firearm or would prefer to use one of ours for your hunt, we have a good selection of first class 7mm Rem Mag firearms. All our rifles can be used with sound suppressors which are very effective at reducing the report and recoil of the rifle. All our rifles are very reliable and accurate and are equipped with top quality scopes. We also have an excellent selection of semi-automatic and under-and-over shot guns available for your use. Let us know before your arrival that you will be using one of our firearms so we can have them ready at your hunting lodge on arrival. We provide these firearms free-of-charge for your use.

We recommend that you bring ammunition for your hunt to use in our guns, please bring at least two boxes of the following ammunition depending on what hunt you are doing:

Rifle ammunition

  • Big Game Hunts
  •   -- 7mm Rem Mag Barnes VOR-TX 150gr Tipped Triple Shock X bullet
  •   -- 7mm Rem Mag Federal Premium Vital-Shok 160gr Nosler Partition
  • Alpine hunts (Tahr and Chamois hunts)
  •   -- 7mm Rem Mag Barnes VOR-TX 150gr Tipped Triple Shock X bullet
  • Small Game Hunts
  •   -- Hornady 17 HMR Varmint Express 20 Grain XTP Jacketed Hollow Point

Shotgun ammunition

  • Swan Hunts
  •   -- 12 ga  -- Hevi-Shot 3" High Velocity Waterfowl 1-3/8 oz #2 shot
  • Duck and Pukeko hunts (Lead shot is legal in NZ)
  •   -- 12 ga  -- 2-3/4" Remington 1-1/4 oz #4 shot
  •   -- 12 ga  -- 3" Remington HyperSonic 1-1/4 oz #2 Steel shot (over water)
  • Pheasant Hunts
  •   -- 12 ga  -- 2-3/4" Remington Pheasant 1-1/4 oz #5 shot

If you are bringing ammunition for your hunt without a firearm you will need to declare that you are carrying ammunition in your checked luggage. The ammunition must be in the original packaging or in approved packaging (eg. MTM slip-top ammunition box). You can carry up to 11 pounds of ammunition for your trip so it is in all our best interests that you bring what you can.

Bringing your Firearms to New Zealand

There is a lot of information here; however the process for bringing your own firearm into New Zealand to hunt is actually quite simple, provided you take the time to understand the requirements before your trip.

General information and suggestions:

  • You must obtain your USA Customs clearance of your firearm for your return trip home. It is essential that you complete the USA Customs Form - 4457 for the firearm(s) you bring into New Zealand so that it will be allowed back into the US. This form must be completed and signed/stamped by a US Customs Officer before your departure from the United States. If you have it, a good thing to bring is the bill of sale or receipt of when the firearm was purchased. On the Form 4457, list not only the firearm details - make, model, calibre and serial number, but also the scope details - make, model and serial number.
  • You will need to get a 'Visitor's Firearms Licence and Permit to Import' from the NZ Police on arrival at the airport. This application must be done before your trip and can be done online on the NZ Police website or the application form can be printed out and faxed to them. If you fax the application form and are concerned about them not receiving it, you can call them directly at the respective airport telephone number (below). The best time to call New Zealand is early afternoon or evening USA time.
  • You will need $25 NZ dollars in exact change to pay for your firearms permit on arrival at the airport. The police will NOT accept USD or credit cards. It is best to obtain some NZ currency at the exchange office in the LAX airport or from your bank. We suggest having at least $100 NZ for use on your arrival in New Zealand - to cover the firearm's permit, taxi fares, meals etc.
  • Bring along a previously issued Hunter's Safety Card or Hunting License (if you have one) to show the Police that you have legally hunted in the USA or another country.

You should also check your airline's website to be advised of the specific airline baggage requirements for your firearms and ammunition as we have found that some airline personnel are not very knowledgeable on the subject.

When you pack your firearm for the trip, remove the bolt from the rifle. The bolt may be packed inside the same case as your firearm. The ammunition must be packed separately in your checked luggage. Although this is not a requirement for US airlines, when you arrive in New Zealand for the domestic flight if your ammunition is in your gun case then you will have to repack your ammunition to your checked luggage before it can be checked.

Visitor's Firearms Licence and Permit to Import Firearms

In order to hunt in New Zealand with your own personal firearm from home you will need to obtain a 'Visitor's Firearms Licence and Permit to Import Firearms'.

Provided your firearms are of the type approved for import into New Zealand, you will receive your Permit of Import immediately on your arrival. Typically any standard sporting rifle is permitted.

Restricted Firearms
The importation of pistols or military style assault rifles know in New Zealand as MSSAs (military style semi-automatics) and automatic firearms is strictly controlled by the New Zealand Police. You are advised not to arrive in New Zealand with any restricted firearms other than with a permit to import.

To obtain a 'Visitors Firearms Licence and Permit to Import Firearms' you must complete the NZ Police application form and send the completed form to the NZ Airport Police at least 14 days before you leave home for your trip. This application can also be done online here.

Alternative you can print the application form from the NZ Police website located here.

Once you have completed the application you can then fax it to the NZ Airport Police. Most travellers arriving in New Zealand will be arriving via Auckland or Christchurch, and these contact numbers are listed below. Additional numbers are available for other airports on the noted website. We recommend that you fax in your permit application no later than 14 days before your arrival date.

For more information look here

Declare your firearms on arrival

When you arrive in New Zealand you must:

  • Declare your firearms to the New Zealand Police
  • Show the Police your passport and evidence you have a firearms licence or equivalent in your own country (no licence required in US)
  • Present your completed 'Visitor Licence and Permit to Import Firearms' application form
  • Pay the $25 NZD licence fee with exact change

If you follow these points, it should take you no longer than 10-15 minutes to clear your firearm with the NZ Police.

Firearms/Valuables Insurance

It happens rarely, but it does happen - lost or damaged firearms and valuables - binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras etc. If your homeowner's policy does not adequately cover your firearms and valuables, or another insurance policy, you may want to review the coverage provided to Safari Club International members by Sportsman's Insurance Agency, Inc. The company offers worldwide/complete replacement coverage, with no deductible at $1.25 USD per $100 USD coverage. Coverage for $8,000 USD of Valuable costs approximately $100 USD per year.

Sportsman's Insurance Agency, Inc
1450 North US 1, Suite 500
Ormond Beach, Florida 32174
Tel: 1-800-925-7767

Note: You must be a SCI member to obtain this coverage, which costs an additional $55 USD, if you are not already a member.

Taxidermy and Expediting of trophies

All the trophies taken with WQNZ will be delivered free of charge to our preferred NZ Taxidermist (Big Game Taxidermy – Andrew Holt). We highly recommend Big Game Taxidermy for the quality of service they give our clients and the professional and personalized workmanship they provide in mounting each Trophy. Big Game Taxidermy makes all their forms and molds and each one is custom-made to best showcase the animal.

Most of our clients get Big Game Taxidermy to mount their animals here in New Zealand as Andrew knows the NZ game animals well and does an excellent job. Contact Andrew and Janine for an up-to-date and competitive quotation for all your taxidermy needs.

Big Game Taxidermy contact details:

Andrew & Janine Holt
Big Game Taxidermy NZ Ltd
9 Holt Place, Harewood 8053,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 343 1617
Fax: +64 3 343 1622

Hunt payments, deposits and refunds

At the time of booking, a $1,000 deposit is required to secure booking prices and hunt dates. An additional 25 % deposit is required 6 months after the time of booking and prior to your hunt. This 25% deposit can also be paid at the time of booking if preferred. All deposits are non-refundable and hunters that cancel their hunt (or do not arrive for their hunt!) will lose their deposit. Consideration will be given for special medical emergencies. The hunt is not booked until your deposit is received. The final Hunt Payment will be due at the completion of your hunt. For hunters that wish to postpone their hunt to a following year there is a $250 change fee that will be added to your hunt total. Changes within the same year will be made free-of-charge.

* The standard tip for a guide is 5% to 20% of the cost of your hunt. All our guides work hard to help you achieve your hunting goals and this makes their efforts feel appreciated.

Method of payment

Payments to WQNZ can be done in several ways:

  • Wire transfer the full amount to WQNZ prior to arrival
  • Bring Cashier's check for full balance made out to 'Wilderness Quest New Zealand'
  • Additional trophies and upgrades can be paid by personal check, cash or credit card (add 3% for credit card payments).

Thank you for booking your hunt with us and if you have any questions about your hunt please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to having you as our guest at Wilderness Quest New Zealand and making this the hunt of a lifetime.

The WQNZ team!

Wilderness Quest New Zealand
Private Bag 611
Greymouth 7840
New Zealand

  US Freephone: 866 241 9653
US Freefax: 888 857 9972
NZ Phone: +64 3 738 0519
NZ Fax: +64 3 738 0212


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