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Tours to visit New Zealand’s only White Heron Nesting Site

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Whataroa is the departure point for NZ’s only White Heron Sanctuary Tour.

The 2.5 hour tour consists of an informative minibus ride through private farmland into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. In the reserve a short walk takes visitors through ancient Kahikatea rainforest to our purpose built viewing hide to observe the magnificent Kotuku, White Heron in their natural nesting environment.

The Royal Spoonbill and the Little Shag also share this special area and all can easily be seen from the hide.

The White Heron use this area for breeding so can be seen in the nature reserve during the spring and summer months, usually mid-September until early March.

Over the autumn and winter months they disperse widely throughout New Zealand and are generally seen as a solitary bird.

The population of White Heron in New Zealand is approximately 120-150. To see one of these splendid birds is a rare and special sight and to visit their only New Zealand breeding ground is a truly unique experience!

White Heron Sanctuary Tours (Est 1987) is the original and only tour operator allowed to visit New Zealand’s only known White Heron nesting site.

For over 30 years the Arnold family have been delighting visitors by sharing this world class attraction with them.

Tours operate with a Department of Conservation concession and entry into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve is by permit only.

Rainforest Nature Tour

From March through to September over the winter months, We offer a very informative Rainforest Nature Tour into the reserve from March to September.

The tour is 2.5 hours.

Tour is suitable for all ages and abilities

All weather activity -we operate rain or shine (wet weather gear is provided)


64 Main Rd, Whataroa 7886, West Coast, New Zealand

64 Main South Road, State Highway 6. Whataroa. 30 km north of Franz Josef. 100 km south of Hokitika.

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