New Zealand has an outstanding environment for watching birds in their natural environment.  Find out what others are seeing by viewing their comments on their experiences.

Customer Comments

Here are some comments from people and their experiences watching brids in New Zealand.  Comments may come from individuals using a tourism operator for bird watching or from someone who has found a unique and inspiring location they wish to share with others.

  • "This was a fantastic experience with exceptional views had of two pairs of Okarito kiwis, one feeding just a few feet away on the path. As a bird guide myself I could not help but be impressed with Ian's professionalism and also his enthusiasm for his local kiwis. If you have not already experienced this tour, it is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in NZ birds especially as you are almost guaranteed to see a kiwi. My 15 year old son rated it his second best experience in NZ beaten only by seeing the All Blacks beat Australia in Christchurch!"

    Paul James, United Kingdom - 19/10/2010
  • "This was an awesome experience. My wife is an avid birder and I found this tour on line and was not disappointed! Ian is amazing in both his knowledge and ability to find the kiwis. We actually watched one walk down the track towards us for 5-10 minutes and stop about 15 feet from us. We could almost touch her! Overall one of the highlights of our trip (which, in NZ, is saying something)"

    Everett Mozell, United States - 15/07/2010
  • "Many Kiwis don't ever get the chance to see the birds they are named for, let alone living naturally and undisturbed by humans in the forest. The fact that Ian helped us to do this, sharing his knowledge and love for the Rowi so well made this the highlight of our trip. His ethos of not impacting on the Kiwi's nightly routines at all, just observing carefully, is hugely appreciated. We were so motivated and curious to test our own kiwi finding skills that we made a small detour in our roadtrip - with an element of success too!"

    Francis Skilton, New Zealand - 25/06/2010
  • "Yesterday I joined a tour - something I seldom do - and along with eight others was taken first by minibus, then by jet boat into the Waitangiroto nature reserve. Visitors into the area are carefully limited by DOC to ensure the birds are not unduly disturbed - there is no general public access and only one company has a concession to take tourists to the colony We climbed out of the jet boat about 500 metres from a hide built deep in the rain forest. Kahikatea (white pine) grew untidily into the sky above us and the undergrowth was a dense mat of native bush - an area never milled nor farmed nor touched by man. At the hide, a wooden structure that felt as though it was built in a jungle, we peered across the river to a wall of green lit by flashes of pure white. There were just three or four kotuku but a good turnout of equally brilliant royal spoonbills and some smaller darkly plumed shags. Our exclamations of surprise and excited chatter must have been clearly audible across the river, but the birds showed no signs of being disturbed. Most of the kotuku population had finished rearing their young and had left for estuaries around New Zealand. The few that were left were only days away from doing the same. We watched for half an hour as the birds fussed and fluttered from branch to straggly nest Hide and back again. The spoonbills were more active, with one in particular sweeping away to return a few minutes later with food. I left elated. It would have been nice to have visited in spring or early summer when the breeding season was in full swing. And I’d left my miniature tripod behind on the jetboat, so my pictures are almost as indistinct as that one I took all those years ago. But I don’t care. I’ve seen kotuku up close and personal, and it’s a memory I will treasure for ever."

    Mike Brockie, New Zealand - 9/03/2010
    » View full comment
  • "A totally unforgettable experience- thanks Ian and Paul for a wonderful evening in the forest and amazing kiwi encounter. We were lucky enough to be there on a night when there was special activity going on as Ian and Paul where attempting to retrieve a 4-day-old chick from the bush and take it to a safe haven. This was eventually achieved and although we didn't see the actual 'rescue' take place we felt like we were a part of it in some small way. It's so common these days for tour operators to use words like 'eco-friendly' and 'low-impact' with little regard for what they really mean but these guys are the real deal- genuinely passionate about what they're doing and 100% committed to their project. Customer care and satisfaction is obviously vital BUT the feeling is definitely that the birds and the environment come first and that we humans are privileged to be there- this is absolutely as it should be and the emphasis and balance of the tours is pretty much perfect. Totally recommended without hesitation!"

    Tim Hawley, New Zealand - 5/12/2009
  • "This tour was the most amazing experience of our last holiday trip. It started with a glimpse of a kiwi leaving its nest after getting up at sunset. Afterwards it was more difficult to find a kiwi, the weather was turning cold and wet but Ian never gave up. He motivated us to listen to all noises of the night and to see in the dark. Finally we saw a female kiwi coming out of the bush and we saw (and heard) her calling and after a little while the male appeared. Unique and fantastic. We have to return to Okarito sometimes and do this tour again."

    Rene Hartman, Germany - 15/11/2009
  • "Yesterday we visited the nesting sanctuary and today the Lagoon Swade manouvered the boat to give us great photo opportunities and I managed 3 great shots of the beautiful white Heron feeding.We also saw Spoonbills, Tuis, Wood Pigeon and Godwits. I thoroughly recommend this tour for the scenery and birdlife."

    Lynn Clayton, New Zealand - 6/10/2009
  • "We recently did a trip around the South Island and one of the highlights was the kayak trip out onto Okarito lagoon. It was just the two of us in a double kayak so was incredibly peaceful; clear blue skies and amazing views of the Southern Alps added to the whole experience. We got lovely views (and fab photos) of a range of birds including native wood pigeon, scaup, shags and of course, the beautiful white heron! It's a fantastic way to experience and enjoy wildlife as you feel so close to them! With such enthusiastic, friendly and informative staff, we would recommed this to anyone-NZ resident and visitor alike. Katie and Shaun"

    Katie Wise, New Zealand - 29/09/2009
  • "Ifound this tour surfing this website...sooo glad I found it! One of the highlights of our Sth Island holiday, I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see a Kiwi. Way outshines seeing one in a nocturnal house in a bird park. Ian's enthusiasm is infectious and he had the five of us on the tour working as a team. Even though the weather wasn't great I can safely say a great time was had by all. My partner Jim and I will never forget Jim the Kiwi at the end of the tour, back near the car park of all places! Thanks Ian."

    Kristen Smith, Australia - 14/09/2009
  • "I would like to say to you all Bern and Dion, how privileged we feel to have the pleasure to see the White Herons, a trip of a lifetime and to thank you very much indeed for your kindness. (I never dreamed I would be able to go in a jetboat) our grandchildren think it is cool! With our sincere thanks and congratulations on your amazing White Heron Tours."

    Ray and Patricia Enser - 2/07/2009
Get Involved

Play your part and help us compile a great resource of birding information and photos

Birding Forums

Heron Preening
Last Post: adakravecc
07 April 16, 5:46 PM

Non-Guided Tours
Last Post: colin
26 September 15, 11:18 AM

Кто кем работает?
Last Post: apize
27 December 14, 3:38 AM

View all forums