Honda Odyssey for sale. Had it for nine months and now it is time to let...
Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs
Getting up close to a real live kiwi has to be one of the must-do experiences in New Zealand. At Rainbow Springs, you can see one for yourself and find out everything you ever wanted to know about kiwi at Kiwi Encounter.
Kiwi Encounter is a working hatchery and nursery. Kiwi are hatched and nurtured here, and when mature enough they are released back into the wild to the areas they came from.Just a few hundred years ago, there were millions of kiwi living in New Zealand. Today, that population is declining so rapidly that it’s halving in size every 10 years, and kiwi could be close to extinction by 2015.
Kiwi survived millions of years and developed defences against other birds which preyed on them. But these defences were useless against man and mammals such as stoats, rats, cats, dogs and possums.
Kiwi Encounter is a big part of the Operation Nest Egg programme managed by the Department of Conservation, and the best thing about this tour is you can see this process in action.
This 45 minute guided tour includes a look around the kiwi egg incubation area and hatchery. It was pretty cool as we got to see an egg and the movement coming from inside which was really amazing. It would have been fantastic to be here on the day it hatched! Ah well, that would just be too lucky!
We were shown around and told how the specialist staff care for the cute kiwi chicks in their nursery. We also got to see the ‘Forest Floor Café’ where the kiwi chick diet is prepared.
Then we had a walk through an open plan nocturnal area to search for adult kiwi roaming round in a moonlit enclosure, to give them a feeling of night-time as they are nocturnal. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, but it didn’t take too long to spot a kiwi snuffling around with its long beak prodding the undergrowth.
We then saw an example of the outdoor environment where the older kiwi chicks grow until they are ready for release. And we had chance to learn more about kiwi and their plight in the wild by reading the “Kiwi Culture” static display. During my Kiwi Encounter tour, I learnt a lot about kiwi, its unique and endearing characteristics, its origins, its character and how it lives. David Attenborough would be proud!
The best thing about the Kiwi Encounter is the admission fee goes directly back into Kiwi Encounter, allowing even more work to be done to help the kiwi population.
It was a fascinating experience and a great way to learn and discover more about this amazing New Zealand icon.
Rainbow Springs can be found at Fairy Springs Road, 6km from Rotorua.
It is a wildlife park with many New Zealand animals, fish and birds, with a free-flight walk through aviary. There is over 1.5km of easy walking track surrounded by native bush, ferns, trees and plants with spring-fed pools.
It is open every day from 10am until 11pm and Kiwi Encounter guided tours leave every hour until 4pm. Visitors who want to return in the evening can see the park lit up with coloured night lights.
Admission into Rainbow Springs is $25 and $27.50 for the Kiwi Encounter, or there is a combo price of $40.
There is also an evening package combining a night visit to the wildlife park with the Mitai Maori Cultural Experience, which includes a hangi dinner.