Bird enthusiasts on lookout for New Zealand's natives

It's easy to take bird-life for granted when you live in New Zealand, but some are willing to pay big money to get a glimpse of our flora and fauna.

Birders, as they're known, come from around the world to spot our birds - especially the rare species on our tiny outlying islands.

"It's just the way the albatross fly, I just think it's the most magnificent - it's so majestic," Edith Jones explained.

Don Evans is one of the few tourists ever to visit the nesting grounds on Campbell Island.

They're brought in by ship, braving the Southern Ocean - sailing past New Zealand's Snares, Auckland and the Campbell Islands.

It's a well-defined quest - and a hobby that draws great pride from those who pursue it. Some look down on those who keep count, known as 'tweakers' or 'tickers'.

"Tickers sort of go around and just check off birds without knowing what they are or how they nest," bird enthusiast Dave Fraser said.

Others see it differently; tour guide Lisle Gwynn has ticked off half of the 10,000 or so bird species in the world.

The 27-year-old has been travelling since he was 14, and will work on all seven continents this year.

"I'd like to see all the world's sea birds, all the world's marine mammals and maybe try and hit 8000 species of bird, somewhere in my life - but not too soon," he said.

High on his list are New Zealand's natives.

"These Southern Royal Albatross are one of the hardest ticks to get - they spend most of their lives on the high seas, circumnavigating the entire globe for years on end - but the only place they'll come to nest is right here, in the New Zealand subantarctic."

The New Zealand wilderness - a highlight on the world birding circuit.