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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 12 March 2019

The experienced guides walk you through wild kiwi habitat with red lights so the nocturnal species aren't alarmed. Saw kiwi, rare penguins, other birds. A totally amazing experience!! And they gave us all a partial refund because we only saw 1 kiwi, and some folks didn't even see that one. Great company! I did other tours with them.

Date of experience: March 2019
1  Thank VictoriaAshland
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 April 2019

VictoriaAshland, Thanks for taking the time to post a review, especially of such a wonderful evening. We are pleased that you got to see the kiwi, penguins and other birds on your trip. Thanks again. The Stewart Island Experience Team.

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Reviewed 22 February 2019

The introduction at the beginning before we set off was very well done by Johnny and he clearly knew what he was talking about, even adding in extra little stories along the way that related to what he was talking about. I even had a toy kiwi with me and he told me straight off that it was a female because it had a curved beak. We went to look for yellow-eyed penguins and there were binoculars available to use which was very good as I didn't bring my own. For the actual walk, I was in Johnny's group and he stopped often if he thought he heard even the faintest noise of a kiwi. On the beach he showed us the food that kiwi feed on and even pointed out kiwi tracks that I never would've even noticed myself. He even touched what looked like kiwi poo to see how fresh it is and that's dedication! He was also able to tell how old a hole in the ground made by a kiwi's beak was. By the end of the night, all we'd found was a possum standing in the middle of the path and the back of a kiwi before it quickly disappeared into the bush which was a little disappointing. What was impressive was that just by this small glance, Johnny was able to identify the kiwi as being a male adult that's not quite fully grown yet. All through the tour Johnny and Robyn effectively communicated to each other and they make a very good team.

I tried again the next night with Johnny and Robyn again but with a smaller group this time. Because of the smaller group, we went with Robyn while Johnny went up ahead to look for signs of kiwi. Thankfully this time we were able to get more than just a tiny glance, but a proper long look at one! Johnny identified it as being a 1-2 year old male that is in some way related to the kiwi we previously saw the night before, whether it be a brother or a son.

Awesome experience and I hugely appreciate not only the effort that Johnny and Robyn put into the tour and how well they work together but also our skipper Miriam who safely got us there and back both nights.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank luckyme2332
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 2019

luckyme2332, Having time to go back a second night to try and see the elusive kiwi was well planned. I will pass on your comprehensive review and kind words to the team (Johnny, Robyn and Miriam). Your review will make good reading fol for other travellers too. Thank you for taking the time to upload a post. The Stewart Island Experience team.

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Reviewed 15 February 2019

We joined the Real Journeys launch at the Oban Township jetty and were given an introductory talk by the guides. They outlined where we would be going and what we could see during the four hour tour. As we boarded the launch our guide pointed to a blue penguin that was sitting on the rocks beside the jetty. Because the evening was light and clear the launch skipper said he would take a detour to see if we could find the rare yellow eyed penguin before we reached our destination of Ocean Beach. At the Ocean Beach jetty we were given a torch each and asked to walk in single file through the now dark sub tropical forest. All the time the guide was looking and listening for kiwis. After a fruitless thirty minutes walk we came out onto the beach. Still no kiwis were in sight. As we walked along the shoreline our guide told us to stand still because he had seen a sea lion hiding in the tall grass on the sand dunes. The seal was a female with a pup. As we stood the seal came out at us. The guide had to distract the seal by shining his torch at it. We were then asked to walk quietly and in single file along the beach whilst he continued to distract the one tonne animal. Safely out of harms way we watched as the seal crossed the beach and disappeared into the sea. Walking back through the forest our guide eventually located a kiwi grubbing about in the undergrowth. We all stood around and had good views of the elusive bird for about fifteen minutes before it walked away and out of sight. Because the guide was using a torch with a red filter it was difficult to take photos because both undergrowth and kiwi were shown in the same light. Returning to the jetty we joined the launch and were ferried back to Oban. The night was cloudless and our guide pointed out the Southern Cross, Orion and the Milky Way. We left the launch at 1am and all admitted we had enjoyed the evening's entertainment. Not only had we seen kiwis but we had been chased by a protective female seal and seen the rare yellow eyed penguin, blue penguin, various albatross' and done some star gazing. What an adventure.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank RonP967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2019

This is a very different type of tourist experience. Leaving by boat at 9pm we were lucky enough to see seals and penguins along the way. Then a two hour tramp around in the bush with two excellent guides, Erin and Robyn, and we saw two kiwis going about their nightly business very close up. Arrived back at our accommodation about 1.30am exhausted but very happy. Highly recommended but you need to be reasonably fit and mobile. Not kid friendly.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank ODW300
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 2019

ODW300, thanks for your review. Yes, it can be a tiring trip, but in your case highly recommended because you saw penguins, seals and kiwis. Erin and Robyn are excellent guides and their expertise is paramount in finding the kiwis each night. We look forward to seeing you again in the future. The Stewart Island Experience team.

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Reviewed 8 January 2019

We have just spent nine weeks in New Zealand and enjoyed a lot of tours, but the wild kiwi encounter was by far the best. We not only learnt a lot we had the most exciting time first with a encounter with a seal and then seeing four kiwi our tour started at 8.30 and finished at 1.30
The ferry ride across, the lodge we stayed in and the tour was amazing and our tour guides John and Ollie was very informative.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank Resort554845
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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