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Review of Okarito Kiwi Tours

Okarito Kiwi Tours
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Okarito
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Muliple Award Winners Okarito Kiwi Tours takes you deep into kiwi habitat looking for one of the rarest birds in the world.We are the only licenced operators on the South Island of New Zealand.We give you an impressive 98% chance of seeing a kiwi in the wild.
Emerald Beach, Australia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2014

The reason you take this tour is that Ian knows his stuff, knows his kiwis, and has by long experience worked out a way for everyone in the group to be able to see the bird(s). Because he knows what he's doing, you need to follow his instructions exactly, but his enthusiasm and guidelines will make it easy to know what you're supposed to do. It's best to wear soft clothing (nothing that swishes or makes noise when you walk or take your hands in and out of your pockets), because noises lessen the likelihood of seeing the birds. This was our first wild kiwi sighting in New Zealand, and although we have now seen other species in the wild in other parts of the country, this one will remain very special in our memory. I actually enjoyed not having the possibility of taking video or photos--it freed us to just look and pay attention. Highly recommended!

Visited February 2014
1 Thank BrahminyKite48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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91 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Traverse City, Michigan
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“We couldn't have asked for a better kiwi experience.”
Reviewed 3 March 2014

Others have outlined the important aspects of the experience: bring the right attitude, trust Ian's guidance, and be patient and quiet.

We were very spoiled - shoulder season so we had Ian and the kiwis to ourselves that night, and perfect weather (no rain!). And we had incredible sightings, without feeling like we were impacting the kiwis negatively. One of the most memorable evenings of our lives. Thank you Ian, for creating an experience that we'll never forget.

We also enjoyed spending a few nights in Okarito: we saw kiwis, we photographed the starry sky, and we kayaked in the lagoon with kayaks from Okarito Nature Tours (and great coffee - thank you Richard!). We took a day trip to Franz Josef and points south and came back to park our campervan in the lovely community campground. Okarito is a very special place.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Susie0575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
547 reviews
183 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Excellent - you will have a sighting that few NZers experience”
Reviewed 27 January 2014

You must reserve in advance! A small group and only one tour per night.

After a briefing at Ian's, it was a short drive to the sanctuary. For the next 3 hours we tracked a pair of kiwis for 3 or so kilometers via their radio transmitters - we saw the couple (one on each side of the group) after hearing them call for many moments. A short sighting but well worth it.

Our tour lasted from 8 - 11 PM and we were in the rain most of the time. You are in the dark and many times the group must stand still for many minutes. Ian has run more than 1000 of these trips and claims 95% success on seeing a kiwi. He did say this was one of his few sightings in the rain and a shorter trip (groups are typically out for 4 to 6 hours). So dress appropriately and maybe have a snack with you.

Well worth it!!!

Note that no photography is permitted so leave your cameras in your car or lodging.

Visited January 2014
Thank JoeHouston52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Connel, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“highlight of NZ not to be missed”
Reviewed 15 January 2014

Went on trip 6th Jan 2014
Two years ago this was fully booked and we were denied the opportunity to go on the trip so this time we booked well in advance. Our forward planning was rewarded - the evening was perfect.
I had expected quite a lot of waiting around but had not anticipated the running up and down a forest track in the dark when Ian said "come to me quickly" and a few minutes later followed up with "it's OK to use your torches". In the course of the evening I learned so much more about kiwi and enjoyed the whole adventure that had we not seen one I would not have been too disappointed but the best bit was that we did see Beaumont (that was her name).
I would heartily recommend this trip to anyone who is reasonably fit and keen to see kiwi in their
natural habitat.
Ian has lots of kiwi knowledge and a real enthusiast who involves everyone in the task of finding
this enigmatic creature.
Okarito is a very special place.
Allison and Andy, Connel, Scotland

Visited January 2014
Thank Allison D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cologne, Germany
Level Contributor
42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A really great tour!”
Reviewed 14 January 2014

We joined Ian's tour on 28th December and saw two birds :-)
After we left Ian's house we drove to the forest nearby. After a little walk we got to a position where Ian located Fancy. It was really exciting to stand there an hear into the forest. Finally we listened to the big CRUNCH Ian told us about and we saw Fancy coming out of the bush! As we went back to the bus we also saw BZ near the street. It was amazing to see them doing their picking and sniffling in the forest!
Many thanks to Ian for this great experience and the lot of things we learned about kiwis. This was one of the highlights of our trip to NZ!

Visited December 2013
Thank Marigold1205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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