Something that many travellers to New Zealand want to see is a kiwi bird. The fact is that these little guys are shy, nocturnal and endangered. But it’s not just difficult for visitors to catch a glimpse of kiwis, many local people have never even seen one and, rarer still is the New Zealander who has spotted one in the wild. There are a lot of people working on saving our national icon, however and if you are travelling anywhere near these centres, you may be lucky enough to visit and see a kiwi yourself. Usually you need to enter a dark room and hold very still until your eyes can adjust enough to look out for any movement behind the glass. Because kiwis are nocturnal, it is necessary to reverse their night and day in order for viewing times to coincide with visitor times.
In Auckland, you can go to the Auckland Zoo to try your luck at the kiwi house there. It is just inside the entrance gate on the left and many people miss it. If you are willing to drive south for an hour or so, or if you are headed south anyway, a good option is the Kiwi House at Otorohanga. You can observe feeding time or go on either a self-guided or guided tour. In the South Island, check out the Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown. All of these places serve as educational posts and also keep you entertained and well-fed as they usually have cafes.
Something exciting that has happened recently is that a rare white kiwi was born at New Zealand’s National Wildlife Centre. Have a look at the video of this sweet little chick.
Photo credit: Danger! Kiwis! by Steve and Jemma Copley on Flickr