Have you always wanted the unusual kiwi bird, the kiwi can only be found in New Zealand. This unique species was once found all across the country but today is under threat due to predation and habitat loss.
It has powerful legs and claws are its only line of defence while at night its piercing cries alert predators to their presence. Kiwi are nocturnal, flightless and with feathers that feel more like fur than plumage.
Kiwi birds are a New Zealand icon and one of the most curious birds in the world. While travelling New Zealand, here are 10 places you can see these small nocturnal birds up close.
Below are 10 of the BEST kiwi sanctuaries and houses to visit kiwis in New Zealand:
1. The National Kiwi Hatchery
Location: National Kiwi Recovery Trust, 192 Fairy Springs Road.
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 2:00pm
Their tours are every hour on the hour starting from 9am. Last tour of the day is at 1pm.
- Adult $30.00
- Child $15.00
- Infant Free
- Family 2 + 1 $75.00
- Family 2 + 2 $75.00
Telephone: +64 7 350 0459
The National Kiwi Hatcher is the national leader in kiwi husbandry, egg incubation systems, hatching techniques and kiwi chick rearing. National training courses for kiwi husbandry and egg candling are held at the Hatchery. Most of the staff at the other captive kiwi and kiwi rearing sites across Aotearoa, have trained or worked at the Rainbow Springs site.
2. Rotoroa Island
Location: Rotoroa Island Trust, St Heliers, Auckland 1740
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (general enquiries)
Telephone: 09 283 0849
Rotoroa Island has about 25 North Island Brown Kiwi living on the Island. These important birds are nocturnal so your best chance of seeing or hearing a kiwi is at night time, so it’s best to stay over at Rotora’s accommodation.
During September – March is their breeding season, Rotoroa Island invites the public to their kiwi releases.
3. Otorohanga Kiwi House
Location: Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, 20 Alex Telfer Drive, Otorohanga 3900, New Zealand
Opening Hours: Open daily (except Christmas Day) from 10:00am – 4:00pm (last admission at 3:15pm)
- Adult $26
- Child (5-15 years inclusive accompanied by an adult) $10
- Pre-schoolers (under 5 years accompanied by an adult) Free
- Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) $65
- NZ Primary and Secondary Schools Programmes $3
(Per child & accompanying adults) *Students must be participating in a LEOTC programme following the NZ Curriculum
Telephone: +64 7 873 7391
Otorohanga Kiwi House have been conserving kiwi and other NZ natives since 1971. You can visit and learn about their active brown kiwi breeding programme in the heart of the North Island. Welcoming visitors to their park as their visits help them care for their animals.
4. Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain
Location: 99 Tari Road, Pukeatua, 3880, New Zealand
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm daily. Closed 25th December.
- Adult 17 yrs and over: $25.00
- Child 5 – 16 yrs: $12.00
- Senior / student with ID: $20.00 (A valid NZ SuperGold card, a NZ student ID or Community Services Card is required)
- Family: 2 adults and up to 3 children 5-16 yrs: $56.00
- Additional child: $12.00
Telephone: +64 7 870 5180
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is easily accessible to the public. Where you can experience the New Zealand environment the way it used to be – an ancient, vibrant pest-free forest alive with native wildlife including many of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife.
Step through the pest-proof gate into another world where ancient New Zealand forest towers majestically above well-maintained walking tracks and the air is filled with birdsong.
5. Pukaha National Wildlife Centre
Location: Mount Bruce, 85379 SH2 Masterton / Tararua
Opening Hours: Closed Christmas Day
- Winter Hours = May – September 9:00am – 4:30pm
- Summer Hours = October – April 9:00am – 6:00pm
- Adult Entry $22.00
- Child Entry (5-14 years) $7
- Students Gold Card Holders (65 and over) $18.50
- Family Pass 2 adults and up to 4 children (5-14 years) $55.00
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced sanctuary for native wildlife. Pūkaha is home to a small population of North Island brown kiwi. Where, their teams monitor the breeding pairs and collect the eggs as part of Operation Nest Egg.
6. Kāpiti Island
Location: The island is easily accessible from Wellington, located only a one hour drive north of the capital city, and reached by a short ferry trip.
Kapiti island is just a 15 minute ferry ride away.
The ferry departs from the Kapiti Boating Club at Paraparaumu Beach.
Telephone: 027 726 7525
Kapiti Island is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most important nature reserves. You can visit Kapiti Island for a day tour, or truly experience all the island has to offer with an overnight stay at the lodge.
Location: 53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand 6012
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Last entry to the sanctuary is at 4:00 pm.
Admissions: General Admission
- Adults: $22
- Child (under age 5): Free
- Children (ages 5 – 17): $10
- Concession (NZ senior, NZ student): $19.50
- Family (2 adults and 1-3 children): $50
- Members: Free
Concession Tickets: Require presentation upon admission of a valid New Zealand Student ID, SuperGold Card, Community Services Card or WCC Leisure Card.
Telephone: +64 4 920 9213
Zealandia is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare (500+ acre) ecosanctuary is an innovative conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
8. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Location: 60 Hussey Road, Harewood, Christchurch 8051, New Zealand
- Weekdays 9:30am – 5.00pm
- Weekends 9:30am – 6:00pm
- Kiwi Nocturnal House open from 10.30am daily
- Closed Christmas Day
- Adult – $32.50
- Child (5 – 14 Years) – $12.00 – Preschoolers are Free
- Family Pass – $81.00
- Senior / student (with I.D) – $26.00
Telephone: 03 359 6226
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve incubates eggs for up to 4 species of kiwi – Ōkarito Rowi, Haast Tokoeka, Great Spotted and North Island Brown
Record of 100 eggs incubated in one season and over 600 kiwi re-released to the wild to date.
9. West Coast Wildlife Centre
Location: Cnr Cowan & Cron Streets, Franz Josef, New Zealand
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm every day of the year .
(except Christmas Day)
General Admissions: All day unlimited pass
(Online prices are slightly cheaper)
- Adults $34
- Senior/ student $32
- Child $16
- Family (2 Adults and 3 Children) $79
Telephone: +64 3 7520600
West Coast Wildlife Centre lets the public meet and discover New Zealand’s rarest kiwi, the rowi, at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef.
10. Stewart Island/Rakiura
Location: Stewart Island is a one hour ferry ride from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island or a 20 minute flight from Invercargill Airport.
Stewart Island you can find The Rakiura Tokoeka. They stand approximately 40cm tall, weigh 4kg and their beak is 18-20cm long. Stewart Island tokoeka are stocky round birds and one of the largest variants of the Southern brown kiwi, with females reaching weights of over 4kg. Tokoeka means “weka with a walking stick” which references their long beak.