Heron with New ChicksWhite Heron Sanctuary Tour

Nesting season from September to February.

Whataroa is the departure point for tours to visit NZ’s only White Heron, Kotuku nesting site.
The White Heron Sanctuary Tour includes an informative minibus ride from Whataroa through lush South Westland farmland into the remote Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. Entry into the Nature Reserve is permitted through the Department of Conservation (DOC) and is only possible on a guided tour.

In the reserve there is a short walk through ancient Kahikatea rainforest to our purpose built viewing hide to observe the magnificent Kotuku, White Heron, in their natural nesting environment.

To see one of these splendid birds is a rare and special sight and to visit their only breeding ground is a truly unique experience. Learn about this rare bird in New Zealand and its nesting habits.

Kotuku Ngutu Papa, the Royal Spoonbill and Kawapaka, the Little Shag also nest in this special area and all can be seen easily from the hide. The preserved rainforest and its surrounds is also home to a great array of other birdlife including, Tui, Bellbird, Wood Pigeon, Fantail, Tomtit, Silver Eye and Grey Warbler.

Experience the untouched beauty of the prehistoric Kahikatea, White Pine rainforest and absorb the natural flora and fauna. Enjoy majestic views of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps.

You will find our White Heron Sanctuary Tour office in the small township of Whataroa on State Highway 6. We are 30 kms North of Franz Josef and 100 kms South of Hokitika. Please check-in with our office in Whataroa at least 15 minutes prior to your tour time.

Tour Times:  9.00 am, 12.00 pm, 3.00 pm
Tour times do sometimes vary and minimum numbers apply, bookings are recommended.

Tour Duration:  Approximately 2.5 hours return from our office in Whataroa.

Cost - 2023/2024 Season:  Adult $150.00, Child $75.00 (12 years and under)
Cost includes GST (15%) and Department of Conservation (DOC) entry permit fee.

Tours operate rain or shine.
Full wet weather gear is provided if it is wet.
A warm hat/clothing and comfortable, walking footwear is recommended.
Suitable for all ages and abilities.
Locally owned and operated, experienced guides with local knowledge.

Cancellation Policy:  All tour bookings made are subject to the terms and conditions of our cancellation policy. A valid credit card number and expiry date are required to secure each booking. We will hold credit card details without charge pending your arrival. There will be no charge to the credit card provided we receive 24 hours’ notice of cancellation of the tour booking. In the event of a late cancellation or non-arrival, a charge equivalent to the full tour cost may be charged to the credit card.

Rainforest Nature Tour

From March until September, outside of the nesting season our Rainforest Nature Tour is a popular choice. Walk amongst stands of ancient Kahikatea rainforest within the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve and explore its abundant flora and fauna. Enjoy crystal clear rivers, stunning views of the West Coast landscape and the snow-capped Southern Alps.                                                                                                                         For further information or to arrange a Rainforest Nature Tour please contact us.


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