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Curio Bay Natural Heritage Centre

65 Reviews

Curio Bay Natural Heritage Centre

65 Reviews
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5-Day Stewart Island Tour with Small Group from Dunedin
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5-Day Stewart Island Tour with Small Group from Dunedin

1 review
This is a very small group tour packed full of adventure but not requiring a high level of fitness. While there is plenty of action for all ages, we often have older retired people on our tours who are still active and love the out doors. We aim to pack in as much as possible each day without compromising on the comfort and rest you'd expect from a holiday like this. We often run the tour for just 2 people. The maximum would be 6 people. We can cater for larger groups on a private tour basis only.<br>You will have your own local guide for the duration of the tour, as well as meeting a number of Stewart Island local guides with all the activities included. We book everything for you and are well prepared for dealing with any unforeseen changes by weather or other circumstances. You will enjoy exploring some of NZ's most remote, pristine and beautiful environments, unique wildlife, hear interesting stories and discover local history. Great food and Stewart Is hospitality is second to none.
US$2,645.24 per adult
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niamhs456 wrote a review Oct 2020
Auckland Central, New Zealand568 contributions98 helpful votes
+1
Modern carpark and cafe nearby Well signed posted area for the must see spots and information We didnt see any penguins etc but it was a wild day .worth seeing the whole area porpoise bay,cliff and penguin walk and taking your time to walk around . We didnt really get low tide for petrified forest more like mid tide but it's a cool spot to look out at anyway and walk around
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Rantin rover wrote a review Sep 2020
Biggar, United Kingdom8,129 contributions1,236 helpful votes
+1
Our previous visit to the Centre in 2013 was after closing time so we didn't get access but it was a modest structure near the campsite, now superseded by the current one built in 2017. There is plenty of parking and the Centre has a large cafe (one of the few places in the area to get food and drink); a small gift shop; toilets; and a visitor centre (Gateway Experience) which has interactive displays, interpretive boards and a small theatre showing a film about the area on a continuous loop. The Gateway Experience is subject to an entrance fee of $15 per adult. We were fortunate to visit at a time when the desk was unmanned and got a free look at the visitor centre which we found a bit disappointing. To the west of the site (left on leaving the Centre) there is a path through landscaping which leads to a staircase for access onto the petrified forest at Curio Bay. Here at low tide, to the untrained eye it may at first be difficult to notice the fossilised trees as they blend in with the shoreline however once you see one it all becomes obvious. We were fortunate during our recent visit that a DoC member of staff was present and was happy to point out some of the features and provide some information. Amazing to learn that the fossils are around 180 million years old! The fossils were a good distraction whilst we and many others waited hopefully for the arrival of yellow-eyed penguins which come ashore at dusk to their nests in the dunes at the base of the cliffs. We waited over 90 minutes until darkness made the likelihood of spotting these illusive creatures impossible. The DoC ranger indicated that there was still a presence of the yellow-eyed penguins at the site but the numbers were few in comparison to previous times. (We saw several on our last visit). We had to pick our way over the rocks back to the stairs in semi-darkness, all a bit disappointed. My wife and I returned to our accommodation via the campsite and along the beach at Porpoise Bay which with hindsight wasn't a great idea. Although I had a headtorch it wasn't easy to distinguish where the beach access path was through the dunes to get to the property. On the way as we approached large clumps on the sand we were wondering whether it was seaweed or a slumbering seal or sealion - not something you want to mistake. We eventually took a path through a neighbouring place, onto the road and walked back to our studio. Being based at Porpoise Bay we had hoped to see the resident Hector Dolphins and some sea lions during our stay as well as the yellow-eyed penguins however we didn't have any luck in that respect either. Even the blue penguins which usually nest below the accommodation were absent. It's a picturesque, interesting area and well worth seeing - although the wildlife is a definite bonus. We visited in March 2020, during which the Covid-19 alert level increased to stage 3.
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Date of experience: March 2020
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pd7 wrote a review Sep 2020
London, United Kingdom535 contributions235 helpful votes
There seems to be a lot of confusion with reviews of the "heritage centre" actually reviewing the bay, the scenery, the wildlife, etc. The building is good but the real attraction is outside - which is stunning! Need to see the petrified forest (Porpoise Bay?) at low tide and even then don't expect to see too much - brown rocks is what they are - the fact that they were once trees is not easy to make out. Worth seeking out for the bays/scenery but not the heritage centre.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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riggersrock wrote a review Dec 2019
Port Ludlow, Washington121 contributions67 helpful votes
We didn't see penguins or dolphins but still enjoyed our time. Low tide show the petrified forest which was interesting and the walking paths are well laid out. Nice scenery.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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Julie P wrote a review Dec 2019
United Kingdom1,414 contributions276 helpful votes
This is best done at low tide. At the end of the road is a large car park and visitor centre. Walk from here along a marked path lined with NZ flax to the viewpoint which stands above the bay, and look down onto the rocks. At first glance you can't see anything other than rocks, but as you get acquainted with the shapes you can start to make out trees lying down and then realise that the stumps are tree stumps. Descend the stairs to get a closer view of these petrified remains, being careful on the slippery rocks. In season there is a roped off nesting area for the Yellow eyed penguins - the rarest penguin in the world. We were fortunate in getting a glimpse of four.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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