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“Must see a kiwi”

Bravo Adventure Cruises
Reviewed 23 March 2014

We have been to various parts of the world to see wildlife and we had to give ourselves a good chance of seeing a kiwi when visiting New Zealand. We had 3 nights on Stewart Island and booked on the basis that we would take this tour when the conditions were suitable. On our first night it was calm in Oban, although for those like us not keen on sea voyages the boat pitched and rolled a bit on the 35 minute journey. There were about 16 other visitors and a couple of guides as well as Phillip the captain. The trek through the bush is not too difficult, although a walking pole helped , particularly stumbling along by torchlight on the return.
We had excellent views of one kiwi on the beach and saw another along the beach in the distance. A wonderful experience to see one probing in the sand and unperturbed by the group who were well-marshalled and well-behaved nature enthusiasts.We also saw a Morepork above the track and heard the male and female kiwis calling in the bush.
Presumably the kiwis near this beach are partly used to human observation, and Phillip reports a very high (but not quite 100%) success rate.
A great wildlife experience and must-do for any birder visiting New Zealand

1  Thank WildlifeWatcher90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 December 2013

It is as simple as that, don't arrive expecting to see kiwis skulking around the island forests, you won't, despite the publicity. Forget it on Ulva Island unless lady luck shines on you. There are only 40 there so don't hold out for Lady Luck and you can only visit in the day time.
Even though there are 40,000 on Stewart Island, they are experts at avoiding you, the tourist.
Unless you can camp at Mason Beach for several nights, your best chance is a Bravo Kiwi trip.
They have the concession to the famous beach where they come out late in the evening to feed on sand fleas.
It's a boat trip and then a hike to the famous beach and certainly not for the unfit.
Spotting kiwis is hard work but well worth the effort.
Beach feeding kiwis give the best unobscured view. On the forest floor, good viewing is a challenge.
Pick your time, avoid full moon. People who went at full moon had only fleeting glimpses of the kiwis, particularly skittish in the glaring light of the moon.
That group of birders were anything but satisfied with the tour.
I had a totally different experience and was thrilled with our kiwi experiences.
We were there just days before full moon and the kiwi feeding on the beach spent a full ten minutes casually poking her beak into the sand for dinner. Yes, both kiwis we saw were female. I wondered if the boys were off sitting on their eggs.
The only niggle of doubt I had about Bravo Kiwi Spotting was the use of a white light torch and not a red torch that does not cause night blindness for nocturnal birds.
Maybe they reason the kiwi has poor eyesight so it does not affect them but I found it disquieting in terms of ethical conduct of a tour operator.
Red light torches don't cost a lot.
Lead by example is a good motto.
The point was drilled home to me on return to the wharf where some blue penguins were making their way up the cliff to their burrows and hungry chicks.
Unknowing guest on the trip shone their white light torches on these poor birds, risking the bird regurgitating its catch and no food for its chick.
Had the Bravo guide explained the importance of red light and used such a torch, maybe these penguins may have been saved this torture by torch light.

4  Thank RonWamberal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2013

From stepping on the boat we were treated to a very professional, informative and interesting experience. Our skipper and guide (Phil and sorry can't recall name) introduced us to other passengers and made us feel welcome. We were given background information and a clear expectation of what we were likely to see and how we should behave to get the most for our investment. The tour seemed full but at no time did we feel we were missing out on anything. We spotted penguins and sea birds on our way to the Kiwis. We were all supplied torches and given a quick but clear heads up on travel and Kiwi spotting etiquette. Our group spotted 2 Kiwis foraging on the beach. Being on the beach made it easy to get a very good view and be surprisingly close to the Kiwis who seemed oblivious of our presence. As a New Zealander this was the first time I have seen Kiwis in the wild and doing what they do naturally. I recommend this tour to all and would definitely consider repeating the experience with this company when we return to Stewart Island.

2  Thank Steve J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2013 via mobile

We had been on the waiting list for two nights before the weather finally came right on the third, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. The boat slipped through the water as rafts of penguins were sighted getting ready to nestle down for the night, and mollyhawks followed us on our way. Upon arrival we were given an informative breifing by the obviously very passionate skipper, before setting off towards the beach to spot some kiwi. Before even arriving at the beach we saw two kiwi fighting and were able to get nice and close to them - they didn't even seem to mind at all! Upon arrival at the beach we spotted yet another kiwi, a female only too happy to rummage around as we watched mere metres away. The guide then walked us down the beach where we saw yet another kiwi, a juvenile that hopped away when he saw us then came back moments later as if the food on the beach was too good to give up. The guide pointed out a sea lion sleeping at the end of the dunes, who momentarily raised his head before going back to his slumber. All in all a fascinating and exciting tour, can't believe these guys get to do this every night!

1  Thank underwaterpetsaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 October 2012

We decided to brave the cold and join 8 other keen visitors to Stewart Island in the Kiwi spotting tour. We set off at approx 7.30pm and arrived back at approx 11.30pm and what a wonderful four hours we spent! The journey from Oban's Harbour across to the kiwi spotting site was a great trip in itself! The seas were rough but that only added to the sense of adventure. Our guide was great! He obviously loves his job and after mooring the boat he led us on a trek through a densely wooded area to the beach where we spent the next couple of hours patiently seeking out these unique little creatures. Our guide seemed to have almost a sixth sense for homing in on the elusive kiwi - We spotted four - one even obligingly went about his business of prodding around for food for some time as we managed to creep to within a couple of metres of the action. I thoroughly recommend this adventure - one of the highlights of our trip to NZ.

1  Thank brucie12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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