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“Fantastic 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 12 February 2018 via mobile

This trip is a great experience if you’re interested in wildlife. Our guide ‘Jonny’ was very knowledgable and obviously passionate about kiwis so it was great to listen to the very informative introductory talk before the cruise.

Once on the boat we saw albatross before we even reached the island.

The small groups this tour takes makes sure everyone gets a great view of the kiwi - we just saw the one but down on the beach where we could all get a good view. The guide had fantastic skills and was able to track and hear things that the rest of us were unaware of!

Definitely worth the money, but take warm blotches and be aware it will be late!

Thank Cherry S
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 5 days ago

Hi Cherry, Getting out into the wild and viewing kiwi in their natural habitat is a once in a lifetime experience, we are thrilled you enjoyed this with us. Thank you for your awesome review and kind words. We will be sure to pass on your high praise to Jonny!
Kindest - The Team at Stewart Island Experience

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"split into groups"
in 3 reviews
"muddy conditions"
in 2 reviews
"magical experience"
in 2 reviews
"new zealand"
in 3 reviews
"shoes"
in 3 reviews
"bugs"
in 2 reviews
"kiwi"
in 20 reviews
"presence"
in 2 reviews
"path"
in 3 reviews
"outing"
in 2 reviews
"wildlife"
in 6 reviews
"sea"
in 4 reviews
"forest"
in 3 reviews
"highlights"
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11 - 15 of 36 reviews

Reviewed 10 February 2018

These guys are careful not to promise that you will see a Kiwi and we were lucky and we did. It is a very cool experience but we did not appreciate that we would return as late as we did - 1.30am! That being said we got good value for money. I agree with an earlier poster that he was concerned about the inexperience of the guides. Both were new this season and I didn't get as far as asking about their "qualifications" and while they both seemed to know a lot about some wildlife I'm sure there are more experienced and able guides out there. I believe that Real Journey's bought this concession off another operator who developed the tracks and my guess would be that the groups that are being taken now are larger - and that; combined with staff who lack years of Kiwi experience can't be good for the kiwi spotting likelihood.

The guides were pleasant and enthusiastic and clearly cared both about the Kiwi and about ensuring that their customers had the best experience possible.

We had had the unpleasant experience of having our trip cancelled due to low tides. Real Journey's say that they only made that call that day and they believe that 5 hours notice is adequate. However they contacted us by e mail with 5 hours notice and it was lucky we saw the e mail. They seem to lack the organisation structures to collect mobile numbers for such matters and when they contacted us they did not make us aware of any arrangements for alternative bookings or refunds. We had to chase them for that. They have since apologised and the fact that we did have a great time when we finally went certainly made our day.

Would I do this trip again? I think I would try another operator ? What would I advise others to do? Do some research and be aware that there are other options.

1  Thank travellingbuzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2017

The tour started with a 30-minute presentation with facts about the kiwi. We then hopped on the boat and sailed to some nearby islands where we spotted penguins and other interesting birdlife. The sunset in Half-Moon Bay was amazing! We then went ashore to look for kiwis. We saw two of them, and they came really really close. It was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to my friends. Nice bonus: hot chocolate, tea, coffee and cookies are included in the trip. ;-)

Thank Elias D
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 19 December 2017

Hi there and thanks for the amazing review. We are delighted to see how much you enjoyed this wonderful experience.
Kind regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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Reviewed 4 December 2017

This was a disapointing night with no views of kiwi - mainly because of unexperienced guides with bad field skills. Listening for the kiwi walking on the ground is essential to find these birds, but our guide did not even once take her time to listen carefully. Short stops lasting less than 10 seconds is not even close to enough to hear the birds - even if they are close. Same problem with her "scanning the beach with a flashlite-tactique".

We are experienced birders and realized very soon that this would go wrong, so we kept a little bit distance to the rest of the group to be able to listen carefully away from the sounds of moving people. The two of us heard a kiwi call and move on the ground BEHIND the group. The rest of the group did unfortunately not have any encounters at all and because of this we at least got a 50% refund.

There are other operators offering kiwi-trips on Stewart island and we absolutely recommend to choose one of them. They are run by more experienced birders and cost way less.

Thank Terje K
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 19 December 2017

Hi there and thanks for taking the time to post this review. We are disappointed to receive this low rating. We will definitely pass your comments onto the team however failing to see a kiwi on this trip is the exception, rather than the rule, hence why we are happy to offer the 50% refund for any persons who do not see a kiwi.
Kind regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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Reviewed 28 November 2017

I had no idea what to expect when I did this trip other than knowing that this was the best way to see a kiwi in the wild. Despite the bad weather making visibility and listening difficult, we kept to our guides and in the end we found one! A very worthwhile experience to see one in it's natural habitat, but more than that it was fun just tiptoeing through the woods and beach looking and listening and stalking the elusive kiwi. I highly recommend this trip while on Stewart Island.

Thank Dan M
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 5 February 2018

Kia Ora and thanks for the review. We are delighted you experienced this trip with us despite not really knowing what it entailed. Seeing a kiwi in the wild should be on the 'must-do' list for anyone!
Kind 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

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