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Review Highlights
Absolutely awesome kiwi encounter

Our guide found a kiwi on the bush walk at night and then for 45 mins it walked all around us and... read more

Reviewed 18 February 2021
madfisher44
,
Papamoa, New Zealand
Amazing experience, so worth the late night

We absolutely loved our trip. I was apprehensive about the amount of walking but I needn’t have... read more

Reviewed 18 February 2021
NZJ19
,
Invercargill, New Zealand
via mobile
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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.

Date of experience: December 2016
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.

Date of experience: December 2016
4  Thank CecilM129
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.

Date of experience: December 2016
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.

Date of experience: December 2016
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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Reviewed 2 December 2016

The night excursion was a full success. The staff very well prepared, knowledgeable hostile. The outing was relaxed, no rush and we returned well after midnight. The way is partialy mudy, bring good shoes and binoculars not necessarily

Date of experience: December 2016
Thank HanniR25
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 for taking the time to post this review. We are thrilled to see you rated the experience 5 stars! Our staff have great knowledge around all aspects of this tour and pleased you feel the same. We agree that good shoes are essential for this trip as you will be walking through native bush trails and along a beach on this kiwi spotting adventure.
Regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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