Magnificent scenery, whales, giant tree ferns and glaciers – New Zealand has a great deal to offer the nature enthusiast. Naturetrek's operations manager for New Zealand, Gwen Owen, describes some of the best scenery and wildlife on offer in the country's spectacular North Island.

On a recent trip to Colombia, our tailormade manager, Robin Smith, had the opportunity to enjoy several days’ birding with a local guide in the south of this fascinating country, focusing on the western Pacific slope. Here he reports on his journey.

On August Bank Holiday, while many in the UK were piling the family into the car and heading to the blustery beaches of the south coast via gridlocked motorways, I was packing my bag and heading to Heathrow … Sweden bound, in search of its Brown Bears and its peaceful and exquisite hills and lakes. It was my first time in Sweden and I was unsure what to expect. I was not left disappointed! The drive from Stockholm airport meandered through pine forest and cornfields, passing the red and white painted wooden buildings which soon became synonymous with the Swedish landscape. The lack of traffic on the roads was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve just got back from our ‘Whales & Dolphins of Madeira’ tour, on which we had fantastic weather and cetacean sightings on every trip out to sea, including a group of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins bow-riding, leaping, tail-slapping and generally showing off all around our boat for about 40 minutes in perfect conditions; Short-finned Pilot Whales logging and swimming around us, again in a perfectly calm impossibly blue sea; Loggerhead Turtle, a hammerhead shark and much more. Fantastic!

Tour leader Lee Morgan writes about the mammals of Abruzzo National Park in Italy … Bears, Wild Boar, Chamois and Wolves.