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 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.
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