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“Stunning & Magical”

White Heron Sanctuary Tours
Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Whataroa
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 8 February 2017

This tour is a unique experience and one to put on your 'must do' list! There is a minibus ride to the river with a friendly driver commentary that is most informative, then a brilliant jet boat spin to the nesting site, going past ancient kahikatea on the riverbank. A boardwalk through the forest takes you to the hide from where the Kotuku can be seen in trees across the water. A wonderful trip - do it!

Thank Kaye W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (92)
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4 - 8 of 92 reviews

Reviewed 22 January 2017 via mobile

Fabulous trip down the river with friendly and knowledgeable Guide Deon. The drive in is across farmland and then a 15 min jet boat ride down the river almost to the coast before turning into a DOC controlled reserve of natural bush and the amazing white heron breeding colony. Plenty of time to view and ask questions and local family on our trip made it all the more entertaining giving their kiwi slang on the ride. Excellent value for money and couldn't recommend it more highly, especially as it is an escape from the crowds around the glaciers into the peaceful NZ bush with amazing views of the Southern Alps to Mt Cook.

Thank Margaret H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2017 via mobile

Great tour. We had been sitting in the rain at Franz Josef for several days and were a bit stir crazy to do something. After a torrential downpour the prior night we decided to do the 9:00 AM tour in Whataroa. Initially the 6 people on our tour climbed into a van for a 14km ride. There was so much water from the rain that the road was flooded in many sections. At the dock we climbed into the jet boat for our fanciful ride down the rain swollen river. Whee! After arriving at the conservation area and docking, there was a short bush walk on a boardwalk platform to the viewing hut. The cranes were just across the water channel, maybe 50 yards away. The sun was shining! We saw parents swooping in to feed chicks, some recently hatched chicks in the nest and the comical looking Spoonbill birds overseeing the action. Plenty of opportunities for photography and questions. There was a spotting scope in the hut that you could use. This was a great half day activity.

Thank H2OAlgae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2017 via mobile

An enjoyable trip to see the heron breeding colony, hosted by a very knowledgable guide. The trip involves a ~15 minute van ride followed by an enjoyable ~15 minute jet boat ride to get to the breeding grounds. You then have ~30 minutes to watch the herons from a well prepared and situated viewing hut, complete with binoculars. You are only 10-20 metres from the herons so plenty of opportunity to have a good look

A good experience but perhaps my expectations had been raised too far by previous visitors

1  Thank DexterD2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2017

Sometimes the best experiences are the ones you stumble across unexpectedly. The White Heron Sanctuary Tour is not be missed - the jet boat ride down the river into the lagoon, a bush walk to the hide where binoculars and insect repellent are supplied, and then the magical breathtaking moment when the shutters are opened, and there, just across the river, are the white herons nesting, flying in and out, and keeping the royal spoonbills in line. An amazing sight. If you are traveling down the West Coast between November and March, don't miss it.

1  Thank Anne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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