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Okarito Kiwi Tours

Features Animals
Okarito, New Zealand
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About Okarito Kiwi Tours
Multiple Award Winners Okarito Kiwi Tours takes you deep into kiwi habitat looking for one of the rarest birds in the world. We are the only licensed operators on the South Island of New Zealand. We give you an impressive 98% chance of seeing the rarest kiwi in the wild. Required from you is a good attitude, empathy, patience and the ability to work as a team. This is not a circus, not a game park, not a zoo experience, this is the REAL DEAL. Please be aware that this trip requires a certain buy-in, ownership, responsibility and the ability to work as a team. 16 years of guiding experience with kiwi. This is an owner operated business at it best. A shining example of putting nature first. I welcome anybody who has the passion and ability to put in the effort to get the rewards. You will not be disappointed.
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Okarito Kiwi Tours
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234stevenz wrote a review Mar 2022
Auckland Central, New Zealand108 contributions53 helpful votes
If you’re into birding and you want to see as many different species of kiwi as possible this is the best opportunity to see the Rowi/Okarito Brown Kiwi, the rarest of the five species. If you would like to see a kiwi of any species there are better choices elsewhere in NZ, which you won’t need a guide for. Before the walk you will be given a radio, a torch/flashlight, mosquito netting (use it), and instructions on what you will do and how you will behave while you are on your expedition. Expect a dark 20 minute walk to the observation area. It’s flat so not strenuous, and very pretty and peaceful. Did I say it’s dark? If it’s a clear night the stars are spectacular. Use lots of insect repellent. After about an hour and a half of waiting and moving around we did see a Rowi. Ours came right up to our feet so we were lucky. Nature does its own thing so no promises can be made in this regard, and you have to go into it knowing that you may see no birds at all. There is a public track in the same area of this tour so you can try your luck on your own but your chances of seeing the Rowi are quite small. Other commenters here have concerns that the guide uses radio tracking to find the birds. That’s not really a problem. The tracking device doesn’t attract the bird, it just lets us know that it’s there, somewhere, and gives an idea of the chances of seeing it. It has no effect on the bird’s behaviour. I can attest to other posters’ comments about the manner of the owner. I would not call it professional but demanding. His defiance of any criticism in his replies here is ample evidence of a “unique” approach to customers. I say this only so you’re prepared for a somewhat different experience than you may have with other NZ tour operators. It’s unfortunate because looking for the Rowi can be a lovely experience. It’s too bad that it can be a tainted memory.
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Date of experience: February 2022
1 Helpful vote
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Response from OkaritoIan, Owner at Okarito Kiwi Tours
Responded 10 Mar 2022
It's really funny - The people who put the smallest amount of effort it, come up with the biggest of challenging comments. This person made the trip a lot harder than it should have been, by NOT listening to any of the briefing. It was very clear from the very first meeting of this person that I was going to have a tougher time than I should. All of my trips are super difficult, super challenging, however, unfortunately some people make the challenge a lot harder than it should be. Be very aware - this is a trip that require YOU to listen, YOU to make the effort and YOU to buy into the experience. I can also attest that 99% of the trips this season have been fantastic, with fantastic people, its too bad I remember this demanding guy more clearly than the other people who have come through and that has clearly tainted my memory. As a side note, the previous reviewer was on the same tour.....go figure ? Ian Okarito Kiwi Tours
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Julia van der Maat wrote a review Jan 2022
1 contribution
We still can't believe that we saw a kiwi in the wild. Thank you so much Ian! PS: If you are thinking about booking a Kiwi Tour please bear in mind that you have to be very patient and be able to stand completely still and listen for a while.
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Date of experience: January 2022
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Response from OkaritoIan, Owner at Okarito Kiwi Tours
Responded 10 Mar 2022
Hi Julia Great review, I really enjoyed the night with you two, it made my life a little easier knowing you were there putting the effort in to make it work Ian
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Bill C wrote a review Jan 2022
5 contributions
The whole experience was great, starting with an excellent explanation of the bird's behaviour and how the combination of this and our participation was going to affect what we saw. Standing still and quiet in a darkening forest and listening with complete focus is something I have never done before, despite having lots of opportunities. It was interesting working as an impromptu team to work out range and direction of the birds we were hearing. An interesting and very different experience. And yes, we did hear and see kiwis.
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Date of experience: January 2022
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Response from OkaritoIan, Owner at Okarito Kiwi Tours
Responded 10 Mar 2022
Hey Bill Thanks for the great review, it was great to read that you understand the need for participation and effort. You were rewarded with a great sightings ! 3 of them... Ian
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Jessie F wrote a review Jan 2022
1 contribution
Ian is a total pro, and while patience is definitely a necessity, you won't believe how exciting just standing silently in the bush listening to rustling can be! Our patience was rewarded with an incredible sighting of White Eyes on the track, who then hung around in the bush for a few more minutes just to make sure we hadn't missed him. An amazing night, can't recommend it highly enough.
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Date of experience: January 2022
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Response from OkaritoIan, Owner at Okarito Kiwi Tours
Responded 10 Mar 2022
Jessie Awesome review. You hit the nail on the head. Patience is a necessity, but standing around putting the effort gets rewarded. Thanks for coming out a second time, each time you had success, this time you were rightly rewarded with a great view of White Eyes feeding from a very close distance. I was super happy to hit the pillow dreaming of White Eyes Ian
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Ben Lamond wrote a review Jan 2022
Christchurch, New Zealand1 contribution
Definitely worth the money and time spent doing it! Would definitely recommend doing it if you are willing to sit down and be patient. Ian was an amazing guide and kept things serious and had a good joking matter with everything. It is definitely an experience worth doing if you are willing to put in the effort. Definitely read all the rules and emails he sends you because it really does matter and be prepared to sit down for a while
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Date of experience: December 2021
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Response from OkaritoIan, Owner at Okarito Kiwi Tours
Responded 7 Jan 2022
Awesome Ben. I am so pleased that you worked hard as a team, you were rewarded with a really nice sighting of White Eyes. We had a bit going on that night, a little bit of Murphy's Law with Jolene being in the bush at similar times. Thanks for the great review. Ian
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