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“Worth seeing, but only if you really want to”

West Coast Wildlife Centre
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$28.54*
and up
Franz Josef Wildlife Center Adm with Optional Backstage Pass
Ranked #7 of 32 things to do in Franz Josef
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Lonely Planet voted the West Coast Wildlife Centre in the heart of Franz Josef as one of the 12 must see things to visit in New Zealand. This is the largest kiwi hatching facility in the South Island and the "must see" indoor all weather attraction in Franz Josef – home to the official hatching facility for the world's 2 rarest kiwis – the Rowi and Haast Tokoeka. See live kiwi during the day inside our nocturnal house, discover the interactive glacier attraction and West Coast storytelling areas or go behind the scenes on the “Backstage Pass Tour” and see live kiwi chicks and meet the friendly kiwi ranger staff. Numbers are very limited on the 30 minute Backstage Pass Tour so booking are highly recommended to avoid disappointment. The best shopping in Franz Josef can be found here inside the all weather facility -and enjoy free Wi-Fi in the cafe to keep connected to family and friends. Enjoy a coffee or a snack in the cafe – or pick up a pack lunch for your day of adventure. Open from 8.30am daily – 365 days. Set aside 1-2 hours for your visit. All tickets purchased are valid for 24 hours so you can come back and see the kiwi as many times as you like within that period !.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Reviewed August 6, 2013

I must admit the entrance fee was off putting (even with the $2 off voucher from one of the coffee shops). I hope some of this money does go directly to preserving the kiwis as they won't survive otherwise. Was it good being able to get right up to the extremely rare Rowi, yes. Were the other displays about glaciers etc worth it, no. I'd think twice about it if I had to pay loads for kids as well.

Thank J-Dizzle14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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459 - 463 of 581 reviews

Reviewed July 25, 2013

I got the sense that glacier hikes on Franz Josef are often rained out (as they were for us), so it was nice to have a backup plan. Although entrance to the Kiwis is a bit steep, it seems like a reasonable contribution to assist with the protection and rehabilitation of these adorable little creatures. Stoats and possums (compliments of human introduction) have done a number on kiwis, and it is clear that they need the help. While I am normally depressed by zoos and some aquariums, the Wildlife Centre seemed more fitting to both protect kiwis and allow humans a chance to see the elusive and nocturnal birds. Had I a longer vacation to go searching for Kiwis in their natural habitat, I would probably still have appreciated the background information. Overall, silently communing with darkly lit and quietly toiling kiwis is a relaxing way to pass some time and maybe even reflect. I encourage visitors to take extra time to watch and listen, maybe even go back into the room before you leave (as we did). A fun activity for any visit to Franz Josef.

Thank Avermonty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

Heaps of information and interesting displays but the real stars are the rowi, the rarest of the kiwi species who are on display in the darkened bush-like surroundings. Watch them as they go about their normal nightly business of searching for food.

Thank Madventure_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Seriously? $78.00 for two adults and one child to see one Kiwi, a plastic glacier, and a stuffed Thar? Chuck another $50 on top of that if you want to see the hatchery....
They recommend you allow a couple of hours - half an hour is a more honest representation of what's on offer (if you dawdle), and the fact that more space is given to the gift shop than the Kiwi enclosure speaks volumes.
Compare this place to Orana Park in Christchurch - $58 for the three of us, we spent a very enjoyable three hours there, and saw exactly the same number of Kiwi (one).
We spent eight days touring the lower South and this is the only place we felt ripped off - it has obviously been set up for the benefit (?) of overseas visitors who have no idea they can see so much more for a lot less $ elsewhere. As a New Zealander, I'm a little embarrassed.

1  Thank KentandMichelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

Very friendly and helpful staff. Highlight obviously the Kiwis. Great enclosure where you get closer than in most. Quite literally brought a tear to my eye being able to see these little guys up close and personal. Could have stood all day and watched them. Wildlife Centre doing a fantastic job with the breeding programe and ensuring the Rowi Kiwi population is sustained. Some may think it is a bit expensive for the walk through experience but if you actually read the information you see that your entry fee helps contribute to the work they do in protecting the Kiwi for future generations. Can't wait till October when I can experience the "back stage tour" and see the eggs and new borns.

Thank Jedsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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