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White Heron Sanctuary Tours

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Whataroa, New Zealand
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White Heron Sanctuary Tours
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Heather B wrote a review Jan 2021
Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand150 contributions46 helpful votes
This is the only nesting site in New Zealand of these lovely white herons. Dion gave us a lot of background information on the drive and walk to the nesting site and despite it being late in the season we saw 9 nearly grown up chicks and one adult who came back and fed its chick with much noise and wing waving. Would definitely recommend the tour and if I am down this way again I will try to make it nearer the beginning of the season ( October time ).
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Ed C wrote a review Jan 2021
Auckland Central, New Zealand32 contributions35 helpful votes
Our family visited the white heron sanactuary last week. The bird viewing lived up to the billing.... small group, great viewing spot, plenty of opportunity to take photos and hear about this unusually rare nesting spot in NZ. However the the tour is not good value now as the owner recently replaced the formerly exciting jetboat ride to the sanctuary with a boring 25 minute minivan ride each way. Consequently I would no longer recommemd unless priced at under $100 per person DOC should seriously look at why one family with thd 'concession! should be allowed to charge so much and exploit other New Zealanders
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Date of experience: January 2021
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67arda wrote a review Jan 2021
North Shore, New Zealand160 contributions39 helpful votes
such an honour and privilege to visit here - had booked it many months ago and we were so looking forward to the visit - excellent guide Dion, and such a respectful visit - kotuku soooooooooooooooooooo elegant and could have stayed there the whole day - majestic birds, so tranquil and peaceful - grateful to have visited and will recommend to all - the tour gave us an insight to the area and efforts to replant surrounding areas by local farmers - small groups meant to very interactive encounter - thank you and more
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Date of experience: December 2020
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Gavin D wrote a review Nov 2020
Queenstown, New Zealand301 contributions46 helpful votes
A fabulous tour with very knowledgeable guide. Pleasant walk through virgin bush to get to nesting site. Great view, binoculars supplied, great photo opportunities. A real bucket list item!
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Date of experience: November 2020
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Jan P wrote a review Oct 2020
Dunedin, New Zealand14 contributions6 helpful votes
Visiting the Kotuku (White Heron Sanctuary) near Whataroa in Westland has long been on my list of “must” things to do! Today, in spite of the rainy weather, we finally got there. What an amazing tour/ do go if you ever get the chance. Dion, our tour guide and whose family have run the business for more than thirty years met us at Whataroa. We were offered waterproof clothing should we need it and then driven in a comfy minibus to the sanctuary. Dion gave an informative introduction to the trip and then further recorded information was played on the minibus journey. On leaving the minibus we had a ten minute walk through amazingly lush kahikitea forest- so beautiful and untouched. A trip to the forest alone would have been a treat. Along the way we saw nesting Royal spoonbills in a tree above the path. Once we reached the hide we were not disappointed. More than thirty Kotuku were at various stages of nesting coming and going and displaying their breeding feathers. Dion was very knowledgeable and answered all our questions. He also told us about predator control in the Reserve. Great excitement when we noticed two nests had this year’s first hatchings and had tiny white fluffy chicks in the nests. We had a good length of time in the hide to observe the birds before the walk back through the forest and the minibus back to Whataroa. Thank you Dion for a wonderfully informative afternoon trip and the opportunity to walk in the untouched forest reserve as well as realise my wish to visit the unique Kotuku Sanctuary.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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