Monthly Archives: February 2016

Places to see Kiwis in Rotorua and the North Island


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As our national icon, the kiwi is a must-see for any traveller to New Zealand. Sadly, these wonderful flightless birds are endangered, threatened by animals that were introduced to the country when it was colonised. The good news is that us Kiwis do love our kiwis, and there are many sanctuaries and conservation projects that have been set up to protect the birds. Currently there’s about 70000 left in the country.

You are more likely to see a kiwi in captivity than in the wild, particularly because they are nocturnal (and shy!). Here are a few places to find kiwis whilst visiting Rotorua and the North Island.

Kiwi

Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs, Rotorua

Rainbow Springs joined the "Operation Nest Egg" breeding programme in 1995 and are now the leading kiwi hatchery in the country. There are “behind the scenes” tours every hour but we recommend keeping your ticket and coming back in the evening to see kiwi in the open air aviary – they come out around 8.30pm.

Kiwi Encounter

Te Puia, Rotorua

There are live kiwis living in the grounds of Te Puia, which also has a breeding programme. Visit the specially lit nocturnal kiwi house to see some of the birds. Once they reach maturity they are moved to the outdoor enclosures to breed.

Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

An hour and half drive from Rotorua and close to the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, the Otorohanga Kiwi House is well worth a stop. They have been looking after kiwis since the early 70s. Home to New Zealand’s largest dome aviary, they also have tuataras, a native reptile that pre-dated the dinosaurs. Otorohanga town is also home to a few giant kiwi sculptures!

Zealandia Kiwi - photo by Jo Moore

Zealandia, Wellington

If you make it down to our capital city Wellington, check out Zealandia, an amazing eco-sanctuary that is home to some of NZ’s rarest wildlife. The best time to see kiwi is on a night tour – these depart 30 minutes before sunset and allow you to glimpse kiwi in a natural environment. If you can’t visit at night, kiwis are also kept in captivity at Wellington Zoo.


For a full list of places to see kiwis in New Zealand, check out the website Kiwisforkiwi.org.

Photos courtesy of NewZealand.com, Jo Moore (Zealandia) and iTravelNZ on Flickr.


The Five Best Geothermal Experiences in Rotorua


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Rotorua has one of the most concentrated and dramatic geothermal areas in the world - multi-storey high geysers, crazy coloured mineral pools and steam wafting over cauldrons of boiling mud.

Here are our top five geothermal experiences to check out during your stay in Rotorua.

Te Puia Rotorua

Te Puia

For raw power, get up close and personal with the famously huge Pohutu geyser, regularly erupting to 30m! You can walk through yourself or take a guided tour and get that sense of connection with the land and the people. Also the place to come to watch master carvers and weavers at work.

Hells Gate

References to the underworld are everywhere in Rotorua and at Hells Gate you can see why - sulphur and heat combine to form a landscape that is definitely out of this world! Hot waterfalls, steaming craters and seething fumaroles. Have a soak in a mud bath spa - a truly surreal way to unkink your muscles after a hard day's sightseeing.

Waimangu Valley Rotorua

Waimangu Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley has won numerous well deserved awards for eco-tourism in New Zealand. It's really unspoilt nature at its best. You can take a short walk or spend the day, either on your own or hire a guide. You can also arrange a boat cruise on beautiful Lake Rotomahana past bizarre steaming cliffs!

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park Geothermal Reserve is free. Like most parks it has beautiful gardens, a duck pond and a playground. An added bonus are the boiling pools of mud, sputtering vents, huffing steam and even a crater lake. Kick off your shoes and soak your feet in one of the hot mineral footpools.

 

Wai-O-Tapu

Wai-O-Tapu is an area of extreme geothermal activity. The walks offer startling views of a whole host of colorful, bubbling, steaming, and stinky attractions. The Champagne Pool is the crown jewel - 260 degrees Celsius (500 F), with shocking oranges and emerald greens, it's a photographer’s dream!


Find out more about what to do and see in Rotorua.

"Best TOP 10 Holiday Park so far! The location is fabulous! Near to the city, and especially near to the Saturday Kuirau morning market, a mere 5 mins walk to the park. Loved the thermal pools (38C and 40C), perfect for a nice soak on a cold winter day."

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