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Review Highlights
Thanks to Nick, Annie, and Taki!

Nick captained the boat in the most professional and talented manner- we had some decent swell and... read more

Reviewed 1 June 2021
sarahnutmeg
,
San Juan Island, Washington
via mobile
Magical experience

We really enjoyed this trip. Our guides were great and we managed to find 2 kiwi. One in the bush... read more

Reviewed 20 April 2021
FranciscaM944
,
Auckland Central, New Zealand
via mobile
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Reviewed 19 March 2018

There is little point in going to Stewart Island unless you plan to see kiwis. Wild Kiwi Encounter is the perfect choice. Johnny Sharplin is an exceptionally knowledgeable, exceptionally caring guide. He led us through the dark forest, stopping occasionally to point out kiwi calls and kiwi beak holes. I have no idea how he was able to initially spot this holes with a flashlight, but he did. We reached the beach and Johnny located a kiwi. Neither Johnny nor the kiwi were in a rush to leave, and we enjoyed a long, lingering viewing. Obviously seeing kiwis is up to chance, but Johnny also found us one on the return trip. We had about 16 on the trip, with one other guide, so the ratio of guide to client was perfect. Hot drinks and coffee were included in the trip.
A photography tip: you can use your iPhone--the pictures I have posted were with my iPhone. I also used my digital camera with a strong telephoto lens and an ISO setting of 6400.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank PraisePhotography
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 20 March 2018

Kia Ora and thanks for posting this review. We are delighted to see how much you enjoyed this trip and to learn how well Johnny looked after you all. We have passed on this feedback to him already! Hope the rest of your time in the region was just as good.
Regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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Reviewed 27 February 2018

If you're interested in seeing a kiwi this is a must do trip. It was unlike anything we'd experienced. Johnny was our guide. He was knowledgeable and helpful. He was able to locate a kiwi on the beach that we followed for well over half an hour.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank meanmoma3
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 20 March 2018

Hi there! Thanks for posting this awesome review. Johnny will be delighted to read your feedback. We trust you enjoyed the rest of your time on Stewart Island and hope to see you again.
Kind regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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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!

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank 193cherrys
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 October 2018

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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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.

Date of experience: January 2018
2  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. ;-)

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank 868ed
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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