Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Masterton: Hours, Address, Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre Reviews: 4.5/5

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is NZ's most established captive breeding facility located just 20 minutes north of Masterton. Set in 942 hectares of ancient Podocarp forest, Pukaha is home to many endangered species including takahē, kōkako, kākāriki, hīhī (stitchbird), kāka and several kiwi including Manukura, the ōnly white kiwi in captivity. Our Kākā Cafe overlooks the takahē enclosure. Watch out for the cheeky kākā parrots who regularly visit the outdoor cafe area (please remember not to feed the birds). Visitors can join daily talks or choose from our suite of guided tours. We offer Night Tours (listen for wild kiwi and discover glow worms). Our Hīkoi o Pūkaha is a unique cultural tour where you can learn stories of the Tangata Whenua - includes kai (food). Our campervan dawn and night tours allow you to stay overnight in the Reserve from the comfort of your campervan. Bookings essential. [no pets]
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

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4.5
497 reviews
Excellent
295
Very good
154
Average
30
Poor
12
Terrible
6

SMILYEXPLORER
Whangamata, New Zealand63 contributions
Couldn't have been worse
Nov 2021
Made a special journey from Masterton whilst on holiday from Coromandel with great expectations, bearing in mind all the "hype" on the website & in the leaflets which say "So much to see and do". First stop was the Kaka cafe where we experienced the worst coffee we'd ever had (some of it spilt in the saucer) . Then the signage was poor and misleading and apart from the lonely Tuatara and 3 kiwis and a few eels, that was it for our $38.00. No birds in any of the aviaries. When enquiring at the reception about not being able to spot the wetas, we were told in an off-hand way that "They weren't there" and that the white kiwi (on the front of their leaflet) had died, also that you wouldn't see the Kakas until the 3pm feeding time, having been told earlier we'd see them all around a particular area. No apologies about anything.
No doubt their conservation activities are laudable, but as far as a visitor centre it's sadly lacking in any positive aspects.
Written 9 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora, Thanks for taking the time to send through your feedback, it's greatly appreciated. We understand how you must feel. You were expecting to see loads of wildlife and only seeing a few would have been disappointing. We do regular training for our baristas and will pass on your feedback. All our wildlife is just that: wild. They are bred for release. We are in the middle of breeding season at the moment and parents may be in their nests with their chicks and eggs. We apologise if you weren't able to see many birds amongst the foliage. The same with the Weta, they are free to come and go from the houses we have set up. Once again we do apologise you didn't have the experience you had hoped for and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Written 10 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

markoreilly
Wellington, New Zealand3 contributions
Amazing Experience
Oct 2021
This is a well thought out destination and experience. We learned heaps and has a great little cafe on site too
Highly recommend
Written 8 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for your review and kind words! We're really pleased you enjoyed your visit and learned heaps about our manu, conservation and Rangitāne. Hope to see you again soon!
Written 10 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Greg B
New Plymouth, New Zealand11 contributions
A must to do
Nov 2021 • Couples
This is a great place to see NZ Bird life. Recommend to do the night tour. Make sure you have the whole day for you visit. Great work by the staff keeping NZ birds for later generations to see
Written 6 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora Greg, Thanks so much for your lovely review, we're really pleased you enjoyed your visit and night tour. How amazing is it hearing kiwi in the wild?! We will pass on your kind words to our conservation and visitor teams.
Written 10 November 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Julie
Franz Josef, New Zealand53 contributions
A Highlight on our Holiday
Aug 2021
Pukaha, Mt Bruce. Wildlife Centre is so important for NZ as a captive-breeding sanctuary for some of our most threatened birds. Located in a pocket of an ancient forest, we wandered past rimu, rata, kahikatea and tawa for a couple of hours enjoying lunch with a view. We surveyed the wildly playful kaka tearing strips off the tree, takahe, monster eels and brown trout that live under the bridge; as well as saddlebacks, stitchbirds and resident kokako. The park also includes a kiwi house and a wetlands area with pāteke or brown teal. That was a highlight! We loved our visit and the warm welcome we were given by the staff. Thank you for your excellent work.
Written 25 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora, Thank you so much for your visit and very kind words! We're so glad you enjoyed your experience in the ngahere. Our pāteke often overlooked so thank you for highlighting them. We hope to see you again soon!
Written 27 October 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

knifewrap
Masterton, New Zealand6 contributions
Great day
Apr 2021 • Friends
Just the best experience. Full of interesting things and the staff a great help. Cafe also good if a little pricey
Written 29 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review! We're really pleased you enjoyed your experience in the ngahere, Visitor Centre and cafe.
Written 13 May 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Youngone51
New Plymouth, New Zealand519 contributions
I was so looking forward to the visit but I was disappointed
Apr 2021 • Couples
We were disappointed, we didn’t see the birds that we thought we would see. We stopped at the first enclosure trying to spot a bird only to be told about five minutes later by one of the staff that the cage was empty. If there were birds in all the enclosures, it was very hard to see them through the vegetation. I was very surprised after reading the information about pests, to see a cat walking through. Also a big crop of blackberry, again something I thought would’ve been removed. The home for wetas, we opened all the doors and just caught sight of one very small weta.

A suggestion regularly check the whiteboards in front of the cages that they are readable, most ones we saw we couldn’t make out what had been written on them.
Written 28 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora, Thanks so much for taking time out to provide feedback on your recent visit. We're really sorry it didn't meet your expectations. We can understand you would be disappointed having been looking forward to seeing lots of birds. As you say the vegetation inside the aviaries is quite thick, to mimic the wild. We encourage visitors to keep still and look carefully to spot the birds. They could also have been hiding due to cold weather or on nests (our tieke and kākāriki have chicks at the moment). We will endeavor to keep the whiteboard signs up to date. Pest control and weed management is an ongoing battle which is why we need the public's support through donations, Sponsoring a Hectare or becoming a member. Every little bit helps. The wētā living in the wētā hotels are wild and choose which room (so to speak) to live in! They also live in holes in trees and are nocturnal. We hope to welcome you into the ngahere again soon.
Written 29 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gavin W
12 contributions
Don’t bother
Apr 2021
Overrated bush walk! No so called rare birds to see, they are that rare! When we did see something a DOC worker fired up a petrol driven water blaster. Waste of time and money.
Written 26 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience, we're really sorry it didn't meet with your expectations. You are correct in that many common or non-threatened birds such as tui, tītipounamu and piwakawaka call our Reserve home. Some of our rarer current residents include orange-fronted parakeets which have a conservation status of nationally critical; kiwi's status is declining; kōkako and pāteke are recovering; takahē and whio are nationally vulnerable. We do offer four daily Ranger talks and feedings included in general entry, as is the nocturnal house, free flight aviary and interactive gallery. We're sorry you felt entry wasn't good value for money. We do hope to see you again soon.
Written 29 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TyphoonTyson
Whangaparaoa, New Zealand11 contributions
Stay away from the cafe
Apr 2021 • Family
1 hour wait for food - Expensive, dirty cutlery all in all a poor experience. The wildlife centre is worth a visit, but again an expensive few hours for a family.
Written 24 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora, Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. We're really sorry you waited so long for your food, that's not acceptable at all. We will pass on your feedback to our Team Leader and work towards reducing the wait time on super busy days like the ANZAC Day long weekend. We hope to welcome you to Pūkaha and the Kākā Café again soon.
Written 29 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Steve M
Auckland, New Zealand697 contributions
An enjoyable walk
Jan 2021 • Couples
The tracks were well sign-posted and you could certainly hear the bird chorus as you walk through the bush. You needed to be prepared to sit quietly and observe in order to spot the birdlife even in the Avery’s as the birds were often well hidden.
Highlights for us were the kiwis and tuatara.
The cafe had a sign not to feed the Kaha which indicates the these birds will wait to be feed. This is quite misleading. If your eating on the deck these birds will quickly pounce on any food on your table. There bold and cunning nature is fascinating.
The staff both at reception and around the venue were excellent, quick to share information and advice.
Written 31 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for your detailed review, we're really pleased you enjoyed your visit! The kākā certainly are cheeky and very bold when it comes to food. We look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Written 2 February 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

angelC3476SL
North Shore145 contributions
Enjoyable walk to see the birds
Nov 2020 • Family
We didn't get to see all the birds as it had been raining and still was a bit off and on. We still saw a few though and could hear some others that we couldn't see. Nice walk through and even saw some rabbits too.
Written 12 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for your review! The forest is still a lively and beautiful place when it's raining. We're really pleased you enjoyed your walk. Hope to see you again soon (in the sunshine!).
Written 18 November 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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