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Petrel Colony Tours

Punakaiki, New Zealand
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About Petrel Colony Tours
Guided tours to the worlds only breeding grounds of the Westland Petrel (Procellaria westlandica), the largest mainland burrow-nesting petrel. Close views can be obtained from our walkway and viewing shelter located 5 km south of Punakaiki, West Coast NZ. Viewing from 1 April to 20 December.
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Hours Today: 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM
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Petrel Colony Tours
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Annika D wrote a review Nov 2020
Sydney, Australia24 contributions10 helpful votes
Had a great tour with Bruce viewing the Westland petrels at their breeding colony. We got to see a couple of them crash land in front of us and we could constantly hear them crashing among the trees around us. Loved seeing them take off from their take-off tree. Hoping to be back again at a different time of the year to see some more behavior. Bruce is very knowledgeable and is extremely passionate about the birds, I can highly recommend a tour to view the petrels.
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Date of experience: November 2020
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Denis W wrote a review Aug 2018
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand19 contributions7 helpful votes
After a small walk across a wet paddock the up 250 steep steps we arrived at the platform where we were to watch these birds crash down through the gaps in the trees and land uninjured within a metre of their nest where their mate and chick waited. The birds have no fear of people and will climb upon you if you are in their way to the preferred launching point. The access track is not suitable for disabled people or those with walking disabilities.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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Response from Bruce_Menteath, Manager at Petrel Colony Tours
Responded 11 Aug 2018
Thanks Denis. And I liked the comment made after that petrel came in at head height - "It's like watching cricket. You've got to keep your eye on the ball."
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DadaGee wrote a review Jan 2018
Montendre, France435 contributions176 helpful votes
We passed a sign for the Petrel Colony Tours coming into Punakaiki, and asked at the tourist office at Pancake Rocks for details. They were very helpful and phoned and made our booking. We’ve seen northern hemisphere petrels and shearwaters out at sea before, I’ve even see their burrows, but I’ve never been this close to petrels before. This is the only colony of the Westland Petrel (Procellaria westlandica), one of the largest burrowing petrels. Bruce, our guide, has done some amazing work helping conserve the colony and make it accessible, so that others can appreciate the work and help his efforts. The petrels return at dusk and dawn, so the tour started towards the evening, and as they nest on a mountainside, there’s lots of climbing up steps. Lots. But the trip is hugely worth it as Bruce tells you about the birds and their habitat, and then they start to land in the trees around you. It’s magical as they return to their feeding grounds, literally walking over your feet to launch themselves into the air. Bruce is fascinating, and can also guide around the southern sky after dark as you return. We didn’t hear any Kiwi, but we did hear Morepork. If you are an ornithologist, or in any way interested in nature, you wouldn’t want to miss this trip - the memories will stay with you forever. There’s a donation to help upkeep the colony in the tour fee - but it’s absolutely worth it. A definite highlight of our holiday.
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Date of experience: October 2017
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Response from Bruce_Menteath, Manager at Petrel Colony Tours
Responded 14 Jan 2018
Many thanks for the review.
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mattsim2 wrote a review Jun 2017
Tomball, Texas1 contribution
This was a phenomenal tour and an incredible experience. We went in the evening and watched as the Westland Petrels came crashing into the forest all around us. Our guide, Bruce, was incredibly knowledgeable and had a detailed answer for every single question we asked. The effort and energy he has put into this is remarkable and his passion for the petrels is contagious. It is a shame that so many people pass by without stopping at this amazing place. Would highly recommend and definitely hope to be back next time I am in New Zealand.
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Date of experience: June 2017
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Response from Bruce_Menteath, Manager at Petrel Colony Tours
Responded 23 Jun 2017
Thanks Matt. I look forward to seeing you in late November when the fledglings are doing their thing.
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Steve D wrote a review Jul 2016
Kilbirnie, New Zealand42 contributions4 helpful votes
Our family did this experience. One of the petrels literally landed on our 13 year old son. Others landed at the feet of our 5 and 8 year old. This was a real highlight for them. An excellent informative experience which is a must do!. Approximately 10 petrels landed during the visit.
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Date of experience: July 2016
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Response from B_Menteath, Manager at Petrel Colony Tours
Responded 4 Nov 2016
Thanks Steve. And the highlight for me was watching the reactions of your children!
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