Bowhunting the South Pacific
Australia is one BIG piece of real estate! Be prepared for long drive times to and from bowhunting areas. Most of the antlered species are found in the Southeast and Eastern part of the country. The Northern Territory (south of Darwin) is mainly for bowhunting Water Buffalo and Banteng. Trophy fees here are a bit less than New Zealand, but the game is just as plentiful. Here too, all the big game have been imported by early explorers.
Excellent populations of Rusa and Sambar Deer are seen in Australia, along with Red Deer and Fallow Deer. Beautiful scenic coast lines with world class diving areas. Accommodations are “reasonable”. These bowhunting areas are dryer than New Zealand and the bowhunt recommended time frames are the same (March-May). Water Buffalo and Banteng can be bowhunted year around, but the best timing is July, August, which is the dry season. Good fishing and the Northern Territory is famous for the largest Crocks in the world (salt water Crocks can grow to 28 feet in length!). For the adventurous bowhunter, the central part of the country is home for good numbers of wild camels and donkeys, all considered feral game and very small trophy fees.
Comprised of two islands (North and South), New Zealand can be characterized as having the most friendly people in any of my travels around the world. Top quality Red stag and Sika deer are found on the North Island. The North Island is more flat with rolling hills. The South Island is more rugged with year around glaciers at its highest points. Furthermore, the South Island is divided into a “wet” side (to the West of the mountain range) and the “dry” side (to the East).
All the Chamois and Tahr bowhunting is on the South Island. The main (and most centrally located) town is Christchurch. Try to fly directly into Christchurch if possible. Although there are many flights per day from Auckland to Christchurch (just adds to your travel time). Or, if you would like to tour this country before (or after) your bowhunt; you can fly into Auckland, rent a car and take a leisurely two drive to Christchurch. But, be advised that they drive on the left side of the road, which takes a bit getting used to.
All the game on the islands were introduced during the previous century by the early explorers. When it comes to trophy quality antlered species, New Zealand is second only to the massive racks of central Europe. Most of the top SCI records are represented by New Zealand entries. Consequently, the trophy fees are a bit higher. The bird hunting and fishing is, of course, legendary. The best time to bowhunt is from Mar.15 to May 1 for the antlered species; while the Tahr and Chamois can be bowhunted as late as July (but be prepared for old and snow this late).