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“You will not regret going on this trip”

White Heron Sanctuary Tours
Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Whataroa
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

On other trips you might spy white heron out and about catching dinner, but this is the only tour with a licence to take you to the nesting spot, a short stretch of the river where they have nested for hundreds of years.

Our guide Deon, a west coast local has been doing this for 20 years. They pay a concession to Department of Conservation for access to the reserve, and are also actively involved in trapping and enhancing the area.

After a short drive we put on lifejackets and wet weather gear and I am ready for my first ever jet boat ride. Very cool – could do more of that Then it is a short walk on a boardwalk through the wild life reserve to the hide across from the nesting area.

The Kotuku

The White Heron (Kotuku) in New Zealand is a very rare and sacred bird.

Kotuku White HeronIn Maori oratory to see one of these birds just once in a lifetime was considered to be good fortune and to liken someone to a Kotuku was paying them a great compliment.

We are all in awe of these beautiful birds still in their mating plumage – white herons are rare and beautiful – it is a such a treat to see them.

We spy the Royal Spoonbills nesting in the higher trees, and the black shags are there too, though harder to see.

PS across the road from their office, buy a whitebait fritter, or buy some to take home. This is a traditional West Coast delicacy and absolutely delicious. We cooked ours us with eggs – yummy.

Thank onerosenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 - 5 of 96 reviews

Reviewed 15 October 2017

What a great trip! Dion is a first class guide, very knowledgeable, friendly and laid back and the herons are a spectacular sight. We saw about 30 odd nesting pairs in full plummage. The trip in to see the birds in a Hamilton jet boat is in itself quite fun and very pretty and the hide’s positioning, very close to the nesting birds provides for great viewing. Dion was also able to arrange accommodation for us at their motels. The motel was perfect - spotlessly clean, warm, really comfy beds and with the added advantage of covered parking so we didn’t get wet packing the car in next morning’s rain!

Thank oamarugirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2017

After a scenic jet boat ride down the Waitangitaona river,under stunning views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, we entered the nature reserve that is the only New Zealand nesting site of these beautiful birds. A short walk through Kahikatea rain forest (with some Royal Spoonbills nesting above) and suddenly there they were.....dozens of Kotuku wearing their courting plumage -thrilling. Watching from the hide we observed the courtship, nest building and some antics as they stole nest building materials from the shags. Our thanks to Dion who provided us with an informative and entertaining experience throughout the tour. We cannot overstate this unique, 1st class wilderness activity. no better way to spend 2 hours.

Thank Lynne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2017 via mobile

The kotuku have arrived back to the only breeding site in nz and are starting to pair up. Other birds here are the little shag and royal spoonbill. Dion took us on a magic trip and was very willing to share his extensive knowledge. Thanks! The journey to the colony is great too.

Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2017

We have just spent the most magical afternoon with White Heron Sanctuary Tours visiting the hide opposite the only kotuku (white heron) nesting site in New Zealand. Our guide Dion was very knowledgeable about the birds and the area. We were privileged to be there on only the second day this season that there have been kotuku at the site. We also saw Royal Spoonbills, kereru, little shags,grey warblers, tui and piwakawaka. We highly recommend this tour to everyone. It's breathtaking!

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

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