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“Magical experience!”

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 15 June 2017

I cannot recommend this enough! Saw three kiwis and a very over excited sea lion too. The whole thing was just great- an amazing walk through the woods in the dark, spotting a kiwi on the beach, getting so close to it that if we wanted we could have touched it, watching for 10 or 15 minutes as it caught bugs and dug in the sand.
The guides were fantastic, really knowledgable, organised friendly and you could really tell how much they loved the birds. We spent ages after the tour chatting to them about the birds and the other wildlife, and it was lovely to hear all their stories. The guides were what made the trip so good! Would 100% recommend.

Thank LemonPip14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 April 2017

We had about 16 passengers in our group with two guides. When we arrived at the location we split into two groups. Almost immediately from the boat the guide sensed that there was a Kiwi close at hand so she let our group slowly through the forest. When we entered the beach she scanned the area for sea lions so we wouldn't be in danger. After 20 minutes of walking down the beach we came across a Kiwi foraging for a meal. We stayed with the Kiwi for at least 20 more minutes and got the 2nd group to share the wonder. After we left the beach and were walking back to the boat in the forest we spotted another Kiwi walking down our path. It was a marvelous night of discovery.

Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2017 via mobile

This trip was a treat. We were very lucky to be able to follow a kiwi along the beach as it fed off sand hoppers and then it drank from a fresh water stream. It was completely oblivious to our presence and because we could spread out in a line on the beach everybody could get a great view. Our encounter lasted at least 30 minutes. Our group was very well behaved and quiet. The guides Maia and Jos were both very informative and enthusiastic.

Thank Jane B
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 31 March 2017

Hi Jane, thanks for the review. We're delighted to read how much you enjoyed your kiwi experience. We will make sure your kind words are passed onto the team here. Hopefully the rest of your holiday was just as fun.
Regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2017

We were very disappointed by this "encounter experience". We were split into two groups. Our guide was very bossy and we were given strict instructions not to point our torches around and to make no noise, whereas she conversed loudly with her colleague in charge of the other group using her walkie talkie. We walked through the bush in wet, muddy conditions and she did not seem in the least concerned as to whether we were managing to keep up. She hardly even turned round when one man fell quite heavily. We "saw" one kiwi, from a distance of perhaps 6 metres, half hidden by a log. The guide obviously knew where to find it and even had a name for it! Not too wild... We were hurried on when everyone had caught a glimpse of it. On our way back to the boat those at the front of the group were lucky enough to "see" another kiwi behind a tree trunk - or was it the same one? I don't think we were told its name. I was fortunate enough to see its foot which was definitely a kiwi foot but people at the back of our group did not see anything at all. Our guide seemed to be mostly in a hurry to reach the boat as the other group were already back and waiting to go home. The best part of the outing was the preliminary talk in which we learnt about kiwi. The rest was not worth it. You would have as much chance of seeing a kiwi, given a little patience, at the rugby pitch above Oban and it would not cost you anything.

3  Thank JofromFrance1
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 23 March 2017

Kia Ora, thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback, we are disappointed to read that it did not live up to your expectations. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and can assure you we will be following up with the guide in question to ensure that we are keeping to these high standards. Our specialist guides do their utmost to find the kiwi, however on occasions the kiwi wish to forage within the bush which unfortunately creates disappointment for our valued guests. We are pleased to see you enjoyed the presentation at the start of the trip.
Regards, the Stewart Island Experience team.

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Reviewed 16 March 2017

We saw one kiwi on our trip - a round shape about 20 metres away, amongst the seaweed, very difficult to make out with the torchlight aimed a little away from it, but we all agreed we did see it. I think I caught a brief glimpse of the beak through my binoculars, before the shape disappeared altogether into the undergrowth.

This was after walking for an hour through the bush, and then along the beach in near total darkness (cloudy and drizzling, so no moon or starlight). Along the way the guide threatened torch confiscation after some at the rear of the group apparently shone their torches a bit too far sideways.

Wildlife is not choreographed, so we just thought, bad luck, could have put our money to better use as it turned out. And could have had a good sleep instead.

How could things be improved?

First start out much earlier. We arrived at the wharf at 8.30pm as per ticket, waited 20 minutes till a briefing was given, travelled in total darkness, then waited at the jetty 15 minutes till the other group of 12 got a head start, tramped for 2 hours, and travelled back again in total darkness.

Second, have smaller groups. There were 25 paying customers on the boat, so 2 groups of a dozen. Hard to keep close together, and impossible for anyone other than the first few to see or hear anything.
And with smaller groups, the guides wouldn't have to get grumpy.

The best part was the excellent presentation from the guide at the start, informative and engaging.

1  Thank VerilyA
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 23 March 2017

We are sorry to hear you found your Kiwi Encounter Experience to be a disappointment with only sighting a glimpse of the Kiwi on the beach before disappearing into the bush. Kiwi are nocturnal like many other New Zealand native animals and are most active in the dark which creates additional efforts to sight. We need to manage external factors such as noise or torchlight that could scare the kiwi away and result in no persons in the group seeing one. We are pleased to hear how much you enjoyed the presentation delivered by our specialist guides.
Kind regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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