Swade & Richard nature guides Okarito

For a birding enthusiast, the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island offers an abundance of opportunities to view birds in their natural and untouched environments.




This spectacular region is home to more than 70 bird species, some existing only in this unique part of the world. It is a diverse landscape of lush, untouched native forests, expansive wetlands, snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and deserted beaches.

For bird-lovers, there’s a lot to see and do. Go kiwi spotting at night, visit New Zealand’s only white heron breeding colony, kayak amongst feeding waders on the country’s largest untouched wetland, or get up close to nature on a gentle cruise boat. Whatever you choose, you’ll be amazed. 

There are a wide range of bird watching opportunities from specialised tours to many non-guided birding watching opportunities throughout the West Coast districts; the Buller District, the Grey Distrist and the Westland District.

White Heron Sanctuary Tours
A unique experience to visit New Zealand’s only white heron nesting site in the Waitangi roto Nature Reserve. We are the only operators approved to take tours to this protected area.

Okarito Kiwi Tours
Journey deep into kiwi country in Okarito State Forest, and get close enough to see these remarkable birds firsthand. An exciting and rewarding experience like no other.

Okarito Boat Tours
Cruise quietly amongst feeding birds, explore quiet, narrow waterways, and see the ancient plants of the rainforest on these small, personalised guided boat trips.

Okarito Nature Tours
A small, family-owned business offering freedom rental and guided kayaking trips on the Okarito Lagoon, New Zealand’s largest unmodified coastal wetland and well known for its outstanding avifauna.