We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“If you're interested in the Kiwi, this might be your place, but...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Westcoast Wildlife Centre

Westcoast Wildlife Centre
Cnr Cowan & Cron Streets, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), New Zealand
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #14 of 18 Attractions in Franz Josef
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Attraction details
Brevard, North Carolina
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
75 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“If you're interested in the Kiwi, this might be your place, but...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

We arrived very early in the morning and while the building and coffee shop were open the exhibits were not. They did finally open about a half hour later. Despite its name, the center primarily focuses on the kiwi, the iconic, flightless, NZ bird that is almost extinct. While the exhibit in semi-darkness was interesting with a couple of kiwis to observe, it was somewhat underwhelming. We thought the center was overpriced for what it actually offered. But if it's kiwis that you're after, this is the place.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

158 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    47
    53
    23
    23
    12
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Rotterdam
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great to see a kiwi”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

At the wildlife centre you can spend a bit of time on a rainy day.
When we got there, there were 3 kiwi's we could see and being fortunate enough to be the only ones there, we could watch them in peace for quite some time. The kiwi's are in one space, so the time to watch them, don't rush along after a couple of minutes. They are wonderful creatures to observe.
After the kiwi's, you can watch a video about them and continue with some information about the glacier. Good for about an hour. Make sure to purchase something from the shop to support the kiwi

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Overpriced ......a total miss!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

For the $30 admission price, I expected to see more than three kiwis in the dark, plastic glacier structures, colour display boards and an informational video. I feel very cheated by this experience. Their gift shop alone takes up about half the size of this attraction. Absolutely not worth it and I am surprised that this is recommended by the Lonely Planet. A total miss!

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Great Malvern, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Very disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

Having missed seeing kiwis on my last trip to New Zealand, I was greatly looking forward to visiting this centre, but oh, what a disappointment. Firstly, there is the price - $30 for a "day pass", which sounds good value, until you discover that you really would not want to spend more than perhaps an hour looking at what was on offer for that price. Then there is what you get for your money - three kiwis in a relatively small area of mock-up woodland, which is, if course, kept very dark. It was great to see and hear the three kiwis behaving so naturally, but there is a limit to how long you want to stand there watching them. From there you walk into a room that has a display of glaciers etc. - nothing more to do with kiwis.

Now, I happen to know a lot about glaciers, and if I didn't I would choose to go to a specialist geological centre/museum dealing with glaciers. Having paid all that money to see and learn about kiwis, that is what I wanted and expected to do. However, in order to do that you have to pay not $30, but $45!!! It is not possible to have the behind the scenes experience, i.e. just a kiwi tour, without paying for the glaciers exhibition!!!

I am a strong supporter of conservation, and admire the work they are doing, but for $30 dollars I would expect to see and learn more about it. That way I would be inspired to maybe give more, i.e. through adopting a kiwi, etc. Instead I am left with the feeling that this is a tourist rip-off, which I want to have nothing more to do with.

One final warning: My motel was able to sell me a ticket at the special price of $25, which I thought was for the behind the scenes tour only. However, it turns out this was for the basic visit, for which I, as a "senior citizen" should have paid only $22. The centre, however, did reimburse me the difference, but beware if you fall into that age-group.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Overpriced, boring, don't waste your time”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

Even with the bookme.co.nz discount (half price) I still feel ripped off. There were 3 kiwis in a dark tunnel. The rest was all mundane plastic models with a tv playing a video. Hardly interactive. Would've been much more interesting with some more interaction with the kiwis (petting, feeding etc) . I feel sorry for any families who have to pay a small fortune to get in.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Westcoast Wildlife Centre also viewed

Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
 
Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
 

Been to Westcoast Wildlife Centre? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Westcoast Wildlife Centre, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.