White Heron Sanctuary Tours (Est 1987) is the original and only tour to visit New Zealand’s only White Heron nesting site. For over 30 years the Arnold family have been delighting visitors by sharing this world class attraction with them.
Whataroa is the departure point for New Zealand’s only White Heron Sanctuary Tour.
The 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 the purpose built viewing hide to observe the magnificent White Heron, Kotuku in their natural nesting environment. The Royal Spoonbill, Kotuku Ngutu Papa and the Little Shag, Kawapaka also share this special area and all can easily be seen from the hide. The White Heron only use this area for breeding so can be seen in the reserve over 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 single solitary bird. The population of the White Heron in New Zealand is approximately 150. To see one of these majestic birds is a rare and special sight and to visit their only breeding ground is a truly unique experience!
White Heron Sanctuary Tours is the original and only tour to visit New Zealand’s only 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 is with a guide and by permit only.
Please note: There is no access to the White Heron nesting site from Okarito. Kayaks are not permitted into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve.
Tours operate wet or fine (wet weather gear is provided).
Duration: Approx 2.5 hours return trip from Whataroa.
Cost including DOC entry permit: $150 per adult, $75 per child (12yrs and under).