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“We loved this!”

Wild Kiwi Encounter - Stewart Island Experience
Ranked #11 of 16 Tours in Stewart Island
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Cruise at dusk to Little Glory Bay for an opportunity to encounter wild southern brown kiwi in their natural habitat. Depart Halfmoon Bay, Oban at dusk for a cruise across Paterson Inlet. During the cruise, pass Ulva Island (a predator-free sanctuary) and learn about Stewart Island's rich history. The walk, led by a nature guide, is on a track across the peninsula, through spectacular coastal forest to a secluded sandy beach. The track emerges on a wide sandy beach and as daylight diminishes, this is where Southern brown kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) are often found feeding among the grasses and seaweed. - Departures: Sep - May - Small group: 8 per guide, max 16 per night.
Reviewed 11 February 2017

Prepare to spend 4 or more hours outside, perhaps rather cold and damp. Our wonderful guides found several kiwis for us to watch as they fed near the beach. It was a thrill to see them, particularly since one was within a few feet of our group. The kiwis were pretty much oblivious to us, as long as we kept very still and quiet, very intent on getting their night's worth of bugs. We were surprised at how large and fluffy they are.

1  Thank Judy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Wild Kiwi Encounter - Stewart Island Experience, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2017

Kia Ora Judy P,
Thanks for taking the time to post this review. We are thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed this trip and how all your group managed to enjoy your up close and personal encounter with kiwis in the wild. We hope the rest of your trip was just as exciting.
Regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience

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Reviewed 18 January 2017

This was quite a long trip, starting at 8pm, and not getting back until 1.30 am. The presentation was informative. The trip out uses the ferry, a boat for about 70, with 15 people on board on our trip. So plenty of room. We saw a lot of birds and animals on the trip out. The captain and crew were relaxed and enjoying the trip and the wildlife - as much as we were, apparently, and this made the trip rather special. The captain was knowledgeable about the wildlife, and told us about it , without making an issue out of it. He did not keep a running commentary, but what he did say was to the point and had some depth.

The search for kiwis was actually the least satisfactory part of the trip. In a group of seven or eight, only the front two are going to see the bird in the forest should one appear. Manners are in short supply in this situation. On the beach, you will all get a chance.

The journey back in the dark across the sea was magical.

The "guarantee" of seeing a kiwi is meaningless. If one person in the group sees a kiwi, the guarantee is fulfilled. The presence of the guarantee presents its own risks - of guides disturbing habitat in order to find the bird. There are no guarantees of seeing any wildlife - and guarantees should not be offered.

1  Thank SaveTigerNorthants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2017

We booked well in advance for the Kiwi encounter alongside the ferry to get to Stewart Island and back. We only planned a 24hr stay in Stewart Island as being a busy time of the year, accomodation is expensive and hard to come by. We arrived at the ferry terminal in Bluff to be told that the Kiwi encounter was cancelled. At the time there was a little rain but otherwise the weather was fine. Especially for the type of activity it is. I was told I was emailed this and right enough, when I checked my email, I had received notice of the cancellation 20 minutes prior. I asked at the desk why it was cancelled and they said a problem with the boat. I checked my email and it said the weather. That didn't really add up. I got a full refund but it was a totally inconsiderate last minute cancellation with no straight answer as to why. No allowance to re-schedule or rectify the cancelled tour due to the busy time of year and difficulty with the Islands limited amenities.

4  Thank Cecil M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2017

The tour starts with a short informational slideshow about kiwi in the upstairs lounge, followed by a boat ride to another part of the island. The boat ride includes close encounters with albatross, sea lions, seals, titis and blue and yellow-eyed penguins, as well as some information about the history of the area. After landing, the group sets out in silent single file along a dark bush track. There are spots where it can be slippery and/or rough trekking, but certainly manageable by anyone who is reasonably fit. We were lucky enough to see 2 kiwi in the wild. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable, and managed to be almost as excited as we were whenever kiwi were spotted. Although pricey, the wildlife encounters were worth it. My only complaint would be that it's difficult to take 50+ people out in the bush at night with a single guide and expect that everyone will actually see the kiwi when spotted.

1  Thank Terri H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Wild Kiwi Encounter - Stewart Island Experience, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2017

Hi Terri, thanks for the review. We're delighted to see how much you enjoyed the trip and how much wildlife you saw along the way - Stewart Island has some of the most amazing birdlife, as well as seals, penguins and sea lions like you mention. We actually have a concession for only 30 people an evening, so that would be the maximum we would take on any given night and those groups are split into two smaller groups with guide per group meaning that you would never have more than 15 people in your group.
Kind Regards, the Team at Stewart Island Experience

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Reviewed 4 January 2017

We had kids on our trip which was annoying as they were well under 10 but i guess that's not the company's fault. Met at 740 for a 8pm start (would arrive at 8 if i did it again). Watched a short presentation on kīwī then boarded the boat to see penguins, seals, albatrosses and millions of tītī on the surrounding island while it got dark. This was pretty cool and there was free hot drinks (though very environmentally unfriendly). When we arrived was 30 or us that split into 2 groups. 15 ppl is a lot to rely on being still and quiet and shifting to the back to let others take turns. We saw two kīwī which was great the Aussie guide was a bit strange talking about how cute possums were considering they kill the eggs of kīwī. Over all great experience but too many ppl and very expensove.

Thank nzanz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at Wild Kiwi Encounter - Stewart Island Experience, responded to this reviewResponded 16 February 2017

Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to post this review. We are pleased to hear you saw so much wildlife on your trip. As well as having many kiwi, Stewart Island has some amazing birdlife. We have a minimum age of 10 for this trip and understand your frustration that some could have potentially been under this age. As you mention, it can sometimes be a difficult policy to enforce. We are working hard to improve the overall customer experience on this trip - it is only a few months old so we are still fine tuning. We really appreciate your comments for this reason.
Kind regards, the Stewart Island Experience team.

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