There are many reasons to visit New Zealand's Stewart Island, but the most compelling one at the moment has moss-green feathers, beady eyes, a strangely sweet scent and a penchant for grapes. An exceedingly rare kakapo -- a large, flightless, nocturnal parrot with bizarre mating rituals -- will be entertaining visitors September 8 to October 22 at Kakapo Encounter. This is an opportunity not to be missed: Only 86 of these wonderful birds remain on earth, usually observed exclusively by scientists monitoring their breeding. The Ulva Island Charitible Trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to the reintroduction of native New Zealand species, will host a charming and personable kakapo named Sirocco for this event. Take a dusk cruise from Oban (Halfmoon Bay) to Ulva in Stewart's Patterson Inlet, where your guide will hand you a flashlight and lead you through a primeval forest to Sirocco's enclosure. Your strange new friend will just be waking and ready to shake his tail feathers. stewart-island-news.com/kakapo
Kakapo Encounter guided tour rates start at $90.
Learn more about this critically endangered bird at kakapoencounter.com.