Okarito Kiwi Tours

Okarito Kiwi Tours

Reviews

Raphaele's avatar

Raphaele

Ranking: 10/10

The Kiwi tour was an unexpected highlight of our NZ trip. Be aware that this tour doesn't cater to the tourist masses but requires patience and stamina as you have to stay absolutely still and alert for several hours at night. However, seeing a Kiwi in its natural habitat was an incredibly powerful experience and well worth the wait. Mike was a great guide, friendly and knowledgeable and clearly loves what he's doing.

Reviewed 5 months ago

Erika Rosenfeld's avatar

Erika Rosenfeld

Canada

Ranking: 5/10

This operator purports to have a more than 90% success rate "seeing" the elusive nocturnal kiwi bird, and I had high hopes of being among the lucky few. I was initially taken aback by the guide (we had Mike, not the owner Ian) since he was a little smarmy and patronizing and spoke contemptuously of a group he had guided a few days earlier who were not sufficiently quiet or patient and therefore "didn't deserve to see a kiwi bird". That certainly put us in our place! Our group was very obedient, quiet, responsive, incredibly patient, and yet..... Yes, technically, we actually "saw" a kiwi bird, so I'm guessing our experience contributed to Okarito Kiwi Tours' high success rate, BUT… our sighting consisted of a fleeting glimpse of an unidentifiable hopping creature caught momentarily in a red spotlight. Just as my brain registered that this was perhaps a rabbit, the creature vanished into the bush. Our guide (Mike) asked each of us in turn (7 paying customers in all) "Did you see the kiwi?" "Did you see the kiwi?" Did you see the kiwi?, Etc. In good conscience we each answered "yes". After all we had seen "something", and we had no reason to doubt that the something had been a kiwi since our guide was carrying an antenna tuned to a transmitter fastened to the kiwi. Apparently, these admissions were sufficient to satisfy Mike's professional conscience, as he called the evening a wrap. In fairness, we had "seen" a kiwi, but I would be misrepresenting the facts if I told anyone else I had "seen" a kiwi. This tour was a disappointing use of $150, the most disappointing that my husband and I spent on our otherwise fabulous 24 day trip through New Zealand's South Island. However, our stop in Okarito was more than compensated for the next morning, when we went for a 2-hour kayak excursion on Okarito Lagoon with Okarito Kayaks. Okarito Kiwi Tours is lucky there is another operator in town able to salvage Okarito's reputation.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Rob Wiedenmann's avatar

Rob Wiedenmann

United States

Ranking: 10/10

What a fantastic experience! We were part of a group of 9, which I thought would be too large to have a chance to see a kiwi. After being issued with torches, dayglo safety vests and head-nets, our instructions were given -- quiet, no movement, stay in a line, no sound or gesturing. Mike was adamant that we followed instructions, and we practiced several times. Once he was convinced we were prepared, off we went. We walked on the road that led to Okarito while Mike used the antenna to pick up signals. Several times, he thought one of the males was close, only to have a car pass by and the kiwi stopped. After nearly 2 hours, a male called loudly, maybe 5 meters in front of us. We stood silently and without moving, in the dark. Then Mike pointed his red-filtered light onto the edge of the road, indicating where the kiwi would emerge. The bird emerged and ran across the road, near the one end of the line of us, giving us a look of less than 10 seconds. 'Run' is used loosely -- it looked more like it was off balance or needed a hip replacement. We only heard and saw the one male, but it was a wonderful experience. Mike clearly knew his stuff and his insistence that we comply with appropriate behavior paid off. Other than South Island Robin, no other birds were seen or heard. As long as anyone participating understands and is prepared to follow the 'rules', I would highly recommend this activity to see one of the world's very rare bird species!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Terry Kirkhope's avatar

Terry Kirkhope

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

This was a great experience in a small group of 8. After being issued with torches, head-nets and extra clothes for those who needed them, we were thoroughly briefed and firmly marshalled by Mike; Ian was having a rare night off Despite twice being thwarted by unfortunately timed passing vehicles which caused the kiwis to stop their progress, Mike got us all in position to see 2 kiwis. The first one was a bit over 10 metres away, but the other was considerably closer. Despite the attentions of the advertised mosquitoes, this was a most enjoyable evening and an experience I would highly recommend

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Lars Grosse's avatar

Lars Grosse

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Very informative, very interesting and fun evening. Tobi was a very passionate guide. After four patient hours we finally got to see our Kiwi - which was amazing!

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in March 2017

Leonie Aulbers's avatar

Leonie Aulbers

Ranking: 10/10

We had an amazing and very interesting evening with Ian who is so passionate about the Kiwi, he knows them very well, and we were so lucky to see the Kiwi very well!! Thanks for this exciting kiwi adventure.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Melanie and Pascal's avatar

Melanie and Pascal

Netherlands

Ranking: 9/10

I was very impressed by Ian who did really his best to show all of us a Kiwi. With success! Very professional, he used radio waves to detect them.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in February 2017

Ian Reid's avatar

Ian Reid

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

Excellent evening with Ian who is knowledgeable and passionate about the local Okarito Brown Kiwis. Patience is required, but we were rewarded with an unforgettable encounter.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

dkr's avatar

dkr

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

The Kiwi tour with Ian was one of our highlights during 6 weeks vacation in New Zealand and we will remember it forever. And yes, we saw a Kiwi - just for 10 seconds - but anyway it was more about the whole evening and night experience than only about this short moment of luck of seeing one of the rarest birds on our planet.
Ian managed to make it an unforgettable and exciting night including a lot of fun. The whole but yet small group (8 persons) has to struggle to listen for some "crunch crunch" or rustling in the bush and then provide a quiet signal to the others if having the feel there could be Kiwi near by. This creates an exciting atmosphere while the forest is slowly getting darker and darker and the Morepork owl is crying through the night . Whispering voices: "Have you heard something?" "Not sure, could also be a leave falling down." Torches sparkling and Ian with his antenna searching for near "Beep" of one of the transmitters.
So if you would like to join an exciting and funfull wildlife night adventure with very good chances of seeing a Kiwi then I clearly recommend to do a Kiwi tour with Ian and his colleagues.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Ben Jackson's avatar

Ben Jackson

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Just really great - Ian is great, and I got to see a Kiwi. Probably my favourite thing from a 6 week holiday in NZ. Thanks a lot!

Ben

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Pete Russell's avatar

Pete Russell

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Jan and I have since returned to the UK following an amazing evening's visit to Okarito, we vividly remember both seeing and hearing Rowi under the guidance of Ian's expert knowledge and field craft. A highly recommended trip which is bound to be a highlight of any NZ tour. Thanks Ian for a memorable evening, please keep up the excellent work.
Peter Russell

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Bryce Hain's avatar

Bryce Hain

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

My partner and I were lucky enough to do a kiwi tour with Ian. He was extremely knowledgeable and very engaging. He made seeing the Kiwi bird our mission and we not only saw 1 but 3!!!! It was absolutely amazing, one of the highlights of our NZ trip :). Highly recommended!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Mica&Inspector's avatar

Mica&Inspector

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Even though we returned back home from NZ couple of weeks ago - we are still keep talking about the amazing night out with Ian Cooper! It was definitely one of our NZ highlights!!! Ian just loves what he does, and so it's a pleasure to spend time with him. It is not a tour about tourist, it's a tour about Kiwis. If you are into nature and wildlife, you have to join Ian on his tours! He taught us a lot about Kiwis and how they live. And he explained that we would be very lucky if we could see ONE Kiwi during our tour. But what we experienced on hour tour nobody would have expected! We actually saw TWO Kiwis - really close - in their native habitat without them noticing that we are around. As if this would not be enough - they met to make Kiwi love! :D
It was extraordinary to experience nature as it should be.
Dear Ian, thank you so much for bringing us so close to the Okarito Kiwis Beaumont & BZ!
Best
Michaela & Thorsten

Reviewed about 4 years ago and experienced in March 2015

Lois Harter's avatar

Lois Harter

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Fabulous experience with Ian Cooper's tour last night. Ian is a true professional - informative, engaging and passionate. He quickly had us all involved in the magic of seeing Okarito Brown Kiwis in their native habitat, mosquitoes and all! He ensured we were well prepared and did everything to optimize the chances of success. Seeing two kiwis in this manner was a highlight of our NZ journey - thank you!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Craig Steed's avatar

Craig Steed

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

I'm not sure how best to put down in a few words how fantastic our recent experience with Ian and the Okarito Kiwi Tours was, but it was amazing. We've recently returned from 3 weeks holiday down south and this was a definite highlight. My wife and two kids met other members of the group, had our briefing and travelled the short journey to the local kiwi habitat. Ian prepped us well and kept us engaged with the whole experience as he tracked the birds and we waited for them to emerge. It was soon after 10 that not one, but two kiwi exited the bush directly in front of us, we stood there amazed as we had this close up encounter of such a unique bird. Even as NZrs ourselves, this was our first encounter of kiwi in the wild and it was outstanding. Can't recommend this enough!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

John Gray's avatar

John Gray

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

One of my fondest memories of New Zealand is sneaking through the forest in Okarito and having the most amazing Kiwi encounter. We saw the male and female of a pair and it was amazing. I always recommend the Okarito Kiwi Tour to people travelling down the West Coast. A wonderful experience, from a very knowledgeable and experienced guide. Okarito is also a lovely little place to stay, much nicer than Franz Joseph. We saw Kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Joseph also and although it was nice and I applaud the work they do, it didn't compare to seeing wild Kiwi in their natural habitat. A must do for West Coast travellers

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 4 Jan 2014

Thanks John for the positive review. From my diary I remember that this was a trip in a very tough location ? Fancy and Joeline were along a very very hairy track.....Ben...my co-guide did a fantastic job.

Thanks again for being part of a great team.

Ian

Dennis Seijts's avatar

Dennis Seijts

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

If you like to see a kiwi, go to a birdhouse.
If you like to explore, search and hopefully find, hear and see a kiwi, do this tour, it was amazing!
Ian, the tour guide, has now 16 years of experience with kiwis and he is a great guide that respects the birds.
We saw a female kiwi, Baymond, coming out of her shelter, heard her going through the bushes, with their big feet they are quite noisy, then we saw a beak coming out of the bushes, followed by the kiwi, it crossed the road right in front of us, just about 30 centimeters away from us, stood still for a brief moment and contineud his way in the thick bushes. It was really something beautifull and amazing!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 13 Nov 2014

Dennis.......I loved your attitude from the moment you climbed off your bike ! You were a pleasure to take out into the bush and share a little snippet of my life with the kiwi's.
This was day 27 of incubation.....we saw Beaumont emerge from her burrow and then appear on the track at 9.54......We saw her so well, that she had to deviate to go round us and continue her feeding journey.
Thanks for the positive review...Love it !

Ian

Patrick_Mirta's avatar

Patrick_Mirta

Switzerland

Ranking: 10/10

This tour was just amazing. We recommend it to everyone who wants to see a Kiwi in his natural environment. Ian is an enthusiastic guide and his knowledge has really impressed us. We have never expected to see a kiwi that near as we did. Thanks Ian for this unforgettable experience.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 22 Nov 2014

What an unusual trip....only 2 people in November !......but, what a great night....This was Day 5 of the birds incubating an egg in a breeding burrow next to the track. It meant we were able to see Beaumont very early......and what a view.....By 9.23pm we had seen her twice.

Thanks for the review

Ian

Jana Ahrens's avatar

Jana Ahrens

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

That was one awesome experience ! First of all Ian has a great way of sharing his knowledge with the whole group, making it very Interactive and fun. He really made a team out of 4 strangers. After a short while of trying to hear a kiwi, we eventually saw a beautiful kiwi lady very, very close to us and as Ian had told us before, she had a very nice little butt :). The whole evening was such a great experience and even without seeing a bird it would have been fun. If my boyfriend and I had more time in the area we would have done it again ! Thanks Ian, you' re always welcome in Bremen! Cheers !

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 22 Oct 2014
Thanks Jana and Jan....What Jana failed to mention...was the huge contribution they made towards seeing Beaumont.

Her transmitter failed and BZ had drifted off, deep into the bush....I was just about to walk into a different territory, when Jan came on the radio to tell me he could hear a noise in the bush. We all rushed to Jan.......and in the bush was Beaumont. She came out within seconds of us reaching her.....

Without the direct input......we would not have seen Beaumont.....So...a huge thanks and well done to all..most of all..Jan.. !!!

Ian

Joyce Davidse's avatar

Joyce Davidse

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

11th of Feb 2014 - Barbara and Joyce

Best thing about this tour are the Kiwi's we saw, and Ian as a close runner up!This tour was/is fun, educational, and epic.
Ian makes everyone participate and feel welcome in the group.
Our group had a stunning meeting with Kiwi "Jolene"
she was incredibly close to us. Foraging for food in the shrubbery, next to the path we where standing.

While we remained quiet and still to not scare off the bird she came out of the shrubs to check us out.
only 3-4- ft away from our group. Later we saw another Kiwi while leaving , not shure if it was BZ or Beaumont anymore.. we where still in awe :-)

Also camo out on the path and later took a run down it showing us their speed.

Anyway. We where delighted. A fair price for an awesome tour which we will never forget.

CRUNCH!

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 11 Feb 2014
An amazing group of people sharing another amazing night. Without the participation everybody would not have seen Joeline so well.......that's a big well done to the whole group.
We saw Joeline feeding for ages, and I was able to turn the torch off and let our hearing sense take over, hearing her 'trot' down the track was amazing.
Thanks for your words and keep up the great wildlife work you also undertake...

Ian

Johanna Bak's avatar

Johanna Bak

Sweden

Ranking: 10/10

Really good tour! Good guide and a reasonable price!

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 4 Jan 2014
Thanks for the nice review....Prices....that's good to hear....I have stayed static for 5 years now !

Marilyn Cossey's avatar

Marilyn Cossey

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Ian Cooper gave us a fabulous adventure on finding kiwi in the wild. He was very knowledgeable about the birds and followed procedures that all allowed his tour group to view the birds with the least disruption to the birds and the best viewing for us. He keeps the group size small (8), told us what to wear to be comfortable, informative orientation before tour, and money back guarantee of seeing birds. We had up close encounters with 2 kiwi. I highly recommend his tour to see these endangered birds.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 19 Feb 2014
Thanks Marilyn for the detailed review. We all had a great night seeing BZ four times, then seeing Beaumont 15 mins later. They then got together and we all heard the unique snuffling communication.
One Note....I do not offer a money back guarantee, however, I do guarantee that the effort you put into a trip is directly translated to the reward you receive. This trip is all about input, ownership and responsibility.

Götz Winguth's avatar

Götz Winguth

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

It was a fantastic tour. The Kiwi has really impressed me. Ian thanks for the interesting insight into the lives of Kiwis.

Goetz and family

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2013

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 28 Dec 2013
Thanks Goetz for your review....This was a German dominated trip...We all worked hard and were rewarded with a nice sighting of Fancy, then, to top our night off we saw BZ on the way home.
Ian

Joerg_and_Susan's avatar

Joerg_and_Susan

Ranking: 10/10

Ian took us on an amazing trip into the bush in Okarito on March 11th, 2014.
After a short introduction of how to behave during the tour, we sneeked through the night for a couple of hours. During that time we experienced probably the most remarkable event of our whole New Zealand trip, that was catching sight (even three times) of a kiwi in its natural habitat. The kiwi (it's been Joline, right?) stood directly in front of us, what we never had expected to see!!
Many thanks Ian, for that unforgetable experience, it was really awesome!

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 11 March 2014

What an amazing trip....thanks Joerg and Susan...

A big European night.....6 Germans, Swiss, French and English.....

Joeline was the star of the show.....we heard her in the bush, then, heard her call, then saw her really well.....

We also had a bonus on the way home, with Beaumont.

Thanks for the great review

Terry Seaman's avatar

Terry Seaman

United States

Ranking: 10/10

We wanted a genuine experience of seeing wild kiwi in their natural habitat and we got it. Ian conducts his tours in a responsible manner that minimizes conditioning or impact on the rare, resident Okarito kiwi. The adventure of the tour includes the very animated Ian sharing kiwi facts and quietly walking through the dark bush in search of the elusive bird. We were very fortunate to come across three birds, one of which hung around the trail for a while and put on quite a show.
Viewing kiwi birds at the zoos and nature centers is interesting, but watching wild kiwi in their natural habitat is truly amazing.
Okarito Kiwi Tour is a must-do activity for anyone with an appreciation for nature and wildlife.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 27 Feb 2014

Thanks for the description.....Fancy, Joeline, then Beaumont.....quite an adventure.

Ian

Paul I's avatar

Paul I

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This trip was brilliant on many levels. Ian is obviously knowledgeable regarding Kiwis. He is also very talented at getting the best from a group of people. Spending the evening in a fabulous part of the world with Ian leading us on the quest to view a rare breed of Kiwi was truly enjoyable. Spending some time at the end of the tour gazing at the brilliant star lit sky was fantastic. Actually observing a Kiwi going about its business in the wild was 'the icing on the cake' and an experience money alone cannot buy. A real high point of our holiday.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 25 Feb 2014

This was a nice trip...We didn't have to walk too far and it was an early night.

After hearing BZ and Beaumont....we saw Beaumont 3 times....A great view, a great night.

Ian

Stephan Tegtmeier's avatar

Stephan Tegtmeier

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing experience! We had to search and show how patient we can be for a long time but in the end we saw 2 wild kiwis. So worth it. Ian was a great guide.
Definitley my west coast highlight!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 13 Jan 2013

Thanks Stephan.....You are right......we had to show sh#t loads of patience that night...

Finally at 12.08 you were rewarded with a sighting of BZ....Well done for hanging in there !

Ian

Ludvig Fagerstrom's avatar

Ludvig Fagerstrom

Sweden

Ranking: 10/10

Really nice tour and guide. He will do his absolute best to find a kiwi to spot. Extra fun is that you have to be active and help find this amazing bird. Bring lots of patience!

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 26 Dec 2013

Thanks Ludvig....Deep in the territory of Fancy and Joeline......After hearing Whire Eyes and Husky call at 10.15, we were rewarded with a sighting of both Fancy and Joeline at 10.47, then had another good view of Fancy at 11.14....well done on your patience.

Ian

Arjun Chandna's avatar

Arjun Chandna

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

After three weeks of traveling around the South Island and seeing a whole host of amazing things... this was undoubtedly the highlight. An unforgettable evening. Thanks Ian.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Eventually.... Arjun !!!!!!!

I think Arjun attempted this trip about 4 times !!! Either me, being away, or the weather stopped us.....So.........

Finally 24th Feb.....we all tracked into the bush and were rewarded with a nice sighting of Joeline at 10.50....

Thanks for your persistence

Ian

K P's avatar

K P

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

This was an amazing experience and Ian's passion and knowledge is admirable and it was definitely a highlight of our NZ trip. Tour date 4 February 2014

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 4 Feb 2014

Thanks Karmen and John.

We saw Joeline a few times, then after seeing Fancy we heard a little bit of snuffling from the pair. The location we found these 2 in that night.....I have not been down that track since !

Thanks for your kind words

Ian

Andrew Lowton's avatar

Andrew Lowton

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Great tour. From the start to finding a kiwi took 3.5 hours but that didn't matter. Nor did the fast walk through a dark forest. Nor did the fact that we had to stand for ages listening. The silence, the stars, the kiwi calls, Ian's knowledge and sense of humour (British of course) and eventually the kiwi sighting made it all worthwhile.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 24 Jan 2014

Thanks Andrew......a tough trip.

Finally we saw Beaumont, glad the group stayed trusting to the end.

Fancy and Joeline made it tough by not coming close, White Eyes evaded us. Was great to get the calls from these birds though.

Thanks for the positive review.

Ian

Pam&Steve's avatar

Pam&Steve

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

We joined Ian on 29 Dec 2013 for an unforgettable evening in the wild. It was close to the physical limits for us older members of the group but the jaw dropping sight of a kiwi looking out of the bush and casually emerging to forage in front of the whole group had us feeling like 10 year olds on Xmas morning. Thank you - it was amazing.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 29 Dec 2013

Thanks Steven and Pam. Was a great night....really nice to have so many New Zealanders out in one night.

Joeline popped out of the bush at 10.54. It took quite a bit of patience, but, you are so right, it was so worthwhile.

Thanks for your efforts

Ian

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Michael's avatar

Michael

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

We joined Ian on Dec 20th 2013. It was a wonderful night, that Juliane and I will not forget again. And we would not forget it either if we had not seen a kiwi, because the experience, team building effort and in general 'being in the bush' was great. But after listening for kiwi steps for some time and hearing Fancy from further away, we did go back and, much to my amazement, we found BZ right next to the street. And then he also called in the end - a perfect end to a great tour - thanks Ian!

Michael

PS: Drove back very slowly the next day...

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 20 Dec 2013

Thanks Michael for the great review....funnily enough....Jan and John did see a kiwi on the road a they drove back to Franz Josef. This was a tough trip, we looked for Fancy and Joeline......then headed back to look for BZ and Beaumont. We got a great view of BZ at 11.30, then, he called from quite close 15 mins later.
Thanks again

Ian

anemone678's avatar

anemone678

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

What a night! Was so excited to hear Fancy (or was it Jolene) snuffling through the forrest. Thats right I heard a kiwi snuffling! Was amazing to see a kiwi poke its head out of the bushes and another run down the track with that hilarious looking bum. Nothing more interesting and cute. Ian is a wealth of knowledge and his passion definitely makes the trip. Thanks so much Ian - loved every moment. Justine (Australian)

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date Boxing Day 2013

Thanks Justine, nice description of a lovely night out in the bush in Okarito.
We saw Fancy and Joeline, then saw Fancy wander off down the track away from us.
We also had a beautiful duet from both birds....Stunning.

Thanks for the great review.

Ian

Jennifer Valder's avatar

Jennifer Valder

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

A really great tour! We joined Ian's tour on 28th December and saw two birds :-)
After we left Ian's house we drove to the forest nearby. After a little walk we got to a position where Ian located Fancy. It was really exciting to stand there an hear into the forest. Finally we listened to the big CRUNCH Ian told us about and we saw Fancy coming out of the bush! As we went back to the bus we also saw BZ near the street. It was amazing to see them doing their picking and sniffling in the forest!
Many thanks to Ian for this great experience and the lot of things we learned about kiwis. This was one of the highlights of our trip to NZ! Jenny and Tim

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 28 Jan 2013

Thanks Jennifer for the great review.

A great European night, Germany and Spain.

We got a couple of calls at 10.22 and 10.24.

30 minutes later Fancy popped out onto the track for us all to see. Back near the car park, we caught up with BZ at 11.30. Another terrific group pulling together to see one of the rarest birds in the World.

Ian

doris parker's avatar

doris parker

Austria

Ranking: 10/10

What a magical experience, saw 2 kiwis and heard another crashing through the bush!
Ian is a great guide but also takes his time educating the "team" and making everyone kiwi advocates. Through the radio telemetry he can place you where the kiwis will appear, hence we met Jolene up close and personal and heard her mate cross the path and move on his way.
Then Ian did some real magic and whilst organizing us to be ready to see BZ, BZ appeared and approached us!
Truely magical and I will recommend this to everyone.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 10 Jan 2014

I think......Better than Dynamo, was a good description !

This was a great trip because both Fancy and Joeline ( now mastered on guitar ) were in the terrible triangle. A huge bit of bush that once in, I rarely see a bird. However, both birds came our way.
We all saw Joeline at 10.24, then, heard Fancy in the bush after he had crossed the track.

The real magic was saved for the way home.....well described Doris.....

Thanks

Ian

ben de with's avatar

ben de with

Belgium

Ranking: 10/10

I had a great evening with Ian our guide and Kiwispecialist. We got good information, he takes his time to find the lovely creatures, in our case very succesful as we saw 3 Kiwis.
Ian might be pleased to hear that on the way back home(campingsite) I ran over a possum, (possum kill kiwi).
thank you Ian.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 26 Dec 2013

Thanks Ben, great work from an all European group.
Lots of effort required to see both Fancy and Joeline. Well done on that Possum !

Ian

kellie francis's avatar

kellie francis

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Such an excellent tour! Ian is the perfect guide so knowledgeable and friendly and really cares about the kiwi birds. Such a special experience when you do get to see one. Can't recommend this activity enough!!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in May 2013

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 6 May 2013

Thanks Kellie and Abe.

It was great that Plan B worked ! Another night for Dolly Parton to sing "Joeline"

Thanks

Ian

François's avatar

François

France

Ranking: 10/10

Seeing a Kiwi in the wild was an awesome experience, definitely one of the highlights of my year in New Zealand! I had been unlucky before that, despite me night walking in the bush on Steward Island...

The tour is very educational and very professionally run by Ian, who demonstrated exemplary Kiwi attitude (genuinity and trustworthiness).

Thanks again mate!

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip date 7 Nov 2013

Thanks Francois, great review. We all saw Beaumont at 9.50.
BZ and Beaumont were sitting on an egg, meaning we had only one possible chance to see ONE bird. The group took that opportunity.
Well done on your patience.
Ian

Adam Moore's avatar

Adam Moore

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

WOW!!! What an amazing experience!!! Ian wasn't keen on taking my sister and I because we are aged under 12 but boy was he proud of us!!! We stood for hours and finally Beaumont showed herself, she was incredible. Thank you so much Ian! We're still buzzing about it!!!

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 11 Oct 2013
Thanks Adam for being my youngest reviewer !
Your whole family were great and your mega patience was rewarded with a view of Beaumont.

I will never forget your comment......'Ian...Ian.....she is........Beautiful'

Your attitudes and ability was outstanding

Your Parents are rightly proud of you both.

Ian

Andrea Thiemann's avatar

Andrea Thiemann

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

-Date of the tour 21. September 2013-
With only Ian and the two of us on the tour we spent 3.5 hours in the forest. Right in the beginning we heard Beaumont and BZ waking up sniffling and snoring. Then we looked for Joeline. We could only see her for one second. And then waited very long for her to come out of the forest again. Then Ian decided to go back and look for Beaumont and BZ again and then we saw them very close.
Such a great night. Seeing a Kiwi in its natural environment is really awesome! But you have to be patient.
Many thanks to Ian that we could see them.

Marcel and Andrea
(Munich, Germany)

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Marcel/Andrea

Wow, that was a tough night. The birds we eventually saw were the first pair we looked for.....the moved about 2kms by the time we saw them.

Tough nights are always easy to remember !

Ian

Murray Lord's avatar

Murray Lord

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

I had an extent night with Ian, seeing one kiwi several times and hearing another.

You need to know that you may have to stand quietly in the dark, with torches off, for quite a while before you see or hear anything. You may have to walk a reasonable distance, but on good, relatively flat trails. But that's the only way to see kiwis in the wild.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 24 Sept 2013

Thanks Murray. It was good to catch up with Joeline. I think we finished pretty early. Heard the birds snuffle, get up, call, then saw a different bird.....not to shabby !

Ian

birderdavid's avatar

birderdavid

Ranking: 10/10

I went out with Ian to look for Okarito Kiwi last night and had a great time. We saw two different kiwis in the space of about two hours and had excellent views. Ian really knows his area and his birds extremely well and runs a great trip.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 26 Sept 2013
Thanks David for the review.
A small group made for a very exciting night. Well done on your patience.
We heard the kiwi snuffle and snore prior to them getting up, heard them move around in the bush and bugger off !
We then tracked into a different territory, we saw a Female ( Joeline ) on a bit of a mission on the track. She re-appeared again.
On the way home we stumbled ( pretty much ) on the pair we were looking for earlier on. Another great view.
Cheers....Ian

antje fricke's avatar

antje fricke

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

The trip into the kiwi habitat was a very impressing experience: Ian shared his vast knowledge with us in a very lively way, let us feel his enthusiasm for the birdlife and the kiwis in particular and provided good gear and patient guidance in order to enable us to see a bird. It was exciting to hear the bird coming out of the bush, learning about the noises they make when they move and hear them calling later on. After a while of waiting and "searching" on the track in the bush that night we saw BZ, a male kiwi feeding right in front of our feet for quite a while and nearly sniffling at our boots. I was very touched by that moment and happy to have seen one of these rare, special and peculiar looking birds.
Thank you!

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Antje for the great review.
I remember that night really well, also remember you very well !

BZ fooled me a little, however, he did an about turn and came back along the track and walked past everybody. This was a special night and I really enjoyed having you as part of a fantastic group. Thanks for your effort and your input.

Ian

Rhys Bowen's avatar

Rhys Bowen

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Thanks for an amazing night out Ian! Simone and I were blown away by getting up close and personal with both two Kiwi (White Eyes and Husky). Fantastic experience, highly recommend!

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in April 2013

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Rhys/Simone
Thanks for the review, Funny night, we heard one bird get up....then bugger off without seeing him.
Decided to go looking for another pair. We walked into another territory and saw White Eyes, after walking away from him, he then called. While walking back we then saw Fancy...the brid we were looking for a couple of hours ago. Quite a complex night, but made successful with 2 very good patient people.
( We had a moment.....Simone... where focus was lost for a while, I think you realised after, that you would not have seen any bird if this continued ? )

Regards

Ian

Johanna Loehlein's avatar

Johanna Loehlein

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Hey out there!
Are you thinking about joining Ian on his Okarito Kiwi Tour and not sure if it is worth it? Don't waste another minute and get in touch with him to book a tour!
I did it not long ago and it was AWESOME. You can do the impossible!
Before Ian told us more about this very special brid I already knew Kiwi are interesting, that they can't fly and are active at night, but now I am a real fan of those funny walking animals - thanks to Ian and his way to infect you with his enthusiasm.
So I hope, no actually I am sure, you will have a very good time when you bring patience.
Thanks again to Ian!! Patricia and Johanna

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hey Johanna
Great Review.
We did have a great night didn't we !!
We saw 3 birds that night ( 9th April ).
Was a great small team, glad you all participated and bought heaps of patience. Well Done
Ian

Kat88's avatar

Kat88

Ranking: 10/10

it was an awesome experience going on the tour. there was a lot to learn and also to see! we saw two birds on the track right in front of us! thanks for a great trip!

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Andrea Wollmann's avatar

Andrea Wollmann

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Great! Saw one kiwi.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Andrea
Thanks for the review
Ian
Okarito Kiwi Tours

Erica Emes's avatar

Erica Emes

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Fantastic experience! We joined our guide, Ian, on 1st Feb for the Okarito kiwi tour, having been unable to see a wild kiwi for ourselves and impressed by Ian's extremely high success rate. We were not disappointed. Ian really knows his stuff, so make sure you come with the right attitude (patience and teamwork) and be prepared to follow his instructions carefully whilst out in the forest. Not only were we able to see a kiwi (Fancy) who appeared from the forest right in front of us, but as the person standing very still at the end of the line of our small group, Fancy actually came up to me and gently prodded my boot and leg with his bill! Amazing! Although Ian told us this is very unusual behaviour. Perhaps my feet smelt strange! If you are a person willing to put in several hours to listen and wait for a kiwi then this is the tour for you. Highly recommended. Thanks so much Ian. Erica and Chris

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 1st Feb 2013
You were soooooo lucky Erica !
We had 4 birds relatively close to start with, they went bush a bit, Fancy went away, tried to meet up with Joeline with a few calls, got confused, gave up looking and ended up on the track. He approached and yes, poked at Erica's leg and boot. This is very very rare, infact, I hope it does not happen too often as I am looking to have NO interaction with the bird.
Great trip, great group, great night.
Ian

MartinJ's avatar

MartinJ

Ranking: 10/10

We were stuck near Okarito due to a washed out bridge. What should I say: Staying in Okarito and going for the Kiwi Safari was the best idea we ever had. Ian is a hell of a guy and a very professional, friendly and enthusiastic guide. We had fun, the group we went with was nice and you could really feel the passion for those tiny and often too helpless birds. But what we really enjoyed most was the fact that we had to work hard to see our Kiwi. This isn't just a zoo visit. You need time, engagement and patience. If you got that, you're rewarded with a fantastic experience. Promise!

Thanks, Ian, for such a wonderful time!

Kathrin & Martin

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 3 Jan 2013
Great Group - I even scored you a 9/10 !
Beaumont was seen at 10.20pm. She had no idea she was being watched by 8 fantastic people.
Thanks for the great review.
Ian

Romain_Emilie's avatar

Romain_Emilie

France

Ranking: 10/10

The tour we did with Ian really made our stop in the Franz Joseph region unforgettable! Going in the bush at night with such a nice/friendly/professional guide is already a great experience but with a kiwi (Joeline) coming right in front of us and so close (2 meters) was fantastic!!! We had to wait quite long but it definitely worth it! The longer you wait, the more you enjoy the moment you see the bird. A big thank to Ian for sharing his knowledge, experience, passion for these birds with us! Romain & Emilie

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Michaela A.'s avatar

Michaela A.

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Couldn´t be better! An awesome experience with a bloody good guide. Ian does the Kiwi thing with a lot of passion and that makes the tour unique. We saw BZ (a male Kiwi) a couple of seconds on the path and it was gorgeous. Definitely a highlight of my holiday! Many thanks to Ian, take care of the Kiwis and I hope, there will be 386 or more in the forest next year.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 14 Jan 2013
First review of the new year, thanks Michaela.
I am pleased I was able to persuade you to come.....This was a tough and easy trip at the same time.
BZ was in a great starting position, then moved to a tough decision making location.
I made the right decision andwe all got to see BZ in a tough place, come out onto the track, have a little shake, then walk off and around th track - beautiful.
He had NO IDEA we were there watchinh him. Perfect.
Ian

MJB's avatar

MJB

Ranking: 10/10

Our family really enjoyed seeing the kiwis in the wild, hearing their calls, and actually seeing them mating. Standing still on the side of the track without coughing or fidgeting was a challenge, but we all had a great experience. Thank you Paul for a good tour.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in July 2012

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 9 July 2012
Thanks for the photos, I have passed on to Paul. I was quite jealous when I read the trip report. I have only seen the kiwi mate on a handful of occasions - You were lucky !
4 Birds seen, snuffling, calling and mating......blinkin great !
Thanks for the great review

kjredstart's avatar

kjredstart

United States

Ranking: 10/10

We were in Australia and NZ for eight weeks and this was absolutely the best experience of the whole trip. Beaumont and Bizet walked within a couple of meters of us on the track. It was a wonderful Halloween night adventure. Ian approaches this almost as a military exercise which actually just adds to the sense of adventure. His love of these birds is very evident. Ian...Ann painted a couple of watercolors of the birds after we returned to the US. I am not home right now but will scan them and send you copies within the next week or two.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in October 2012

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 31 Oct 2012
This was a small trip, only 4 people, but, they all gelled well to co-operate as a team.
We were rewarded with a call from BZ and Beaumont at 9.10pm. 5 minutes later, Beaumont appeared on the track, followed close by BZ. We them heard them snuffling together for about 8 mins ( ok - exactly 8 mins ! )
Thanks for the review, I recieved the picture of BZ, many thnaks.
Ian

annaterc's avatar

annaterc

United States

Ranking: 10/10

My husband and I attended the Okarito Kiwi Tour and thought it was one of the best expereinces of our 3 week trip. Ian, the guide, was personable, friendly and funny. The village of Okarito is a great escape from the busy turisum dirven cities of the south island and worth staying the night in. During the tour, we saw two kiwi and heard 4 of them. Ian was able to translate what was happening when we heard the Kiwi... they were on a teritory boarder and having a tiff. Lovely expereince! Anna & Jed

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in October 2012

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 24-Nov 2012
Jed....you also made a great co-guide. Thanks for your imput and belief.
All of the group showed great belief and patience. 3 people got to see Joeline at 10pm, then only 40 metres away we saw a male from a different territory.
What followed, I thought was better, we had calls from 4 birds, all within 90 metres.
Thanks again Anna and Jed

jenny_a's avatar

jenny_a

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

I went on the Okarito Kiwi Tour on the 28th November, what an amazing trip! led by Ian Cooper, the very knowledgeable and passionate tour guide, he certainly kept us on our toes and because of him we had an excellent sighting of two Kiwis! He has such love for the Kiwi that it gave me a greater appreciation of how special these birds are and what a privilege it was to see them in their natural environment. I would highly recommend to all who want an educational and professional trip that is also heaps of fun! Thanks Ian!
Jennie Anderson, Christchurch, NZ

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in January 2012

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Jennie
Trip Date 28 Nov 2012
What a great review, it's always a great pleasure to take New Zealander's out into the bush looking for kiwi. We all achieved. Beaumont was the first to appear, closely followed by BZ.
After crossing, Beaumont called, then, just as I though BZ responded with a fantasic call only 5 metres away.
I saw Dot and Jan this morning, they really loved the trip also.
Don't forget about my email ?
You made a great co-guide.
Ian

mneise's avatar

mneise

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Our Kiwi Tour on the 18th of November 2012 was incredible. We were 8 participants plus our guide Ian. Ian was very kind and funny and passionate about his job. During the tour he provided us with interesting facts about Kiwis. I liked, that we could contribute to the tour and that it was important to work as a team to see BZ and Beaumont. We were very lucky and heard both Kiwis in a duet before we saw them crossing the trail right in front of us. It was very exciting. I feel happy when I think about the tour and BZ and Beaumont.
Thank you Ian for this great experience.
Felix and Maria

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 18 Nov 2012
Thanks Maria for that great review. This was a great trip, for the first time in ages I got to hear BZ and Beaumont duet, it's certainly a very rare thing to hear so close.
I am pleased that Felix finally left you alone, it was quite off putting !
Regards
Ian

lej's avatar

lej

Austria

Ranking: 10/10

This beats everything we have done so far on our NZ trip. It was an exciting and even moving experience to go into the bush and see two kiwi birds in their natural habitat. Ian, our guide, was extremely knowledgable, entertaining, encouraging, and induced a lot of team spirit in the group. If you are even slightly interested in nature and outdoor experience and ever get the chance to go to Okarito, this is an absolute must-do.
Irene & Laurenz (Austria)

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 8 Nov 2012
This was a most enjoyable evening - 8 really keen, open minded people fully aware of the responsiblity required to see a kiwi in the wild.
We searched for Beaumont ( female ) and BZ ( male ). They moved very quickly in a gulley. I made a call where they would appear on the track. This proved 100% accurate. Prior to seeing the birds we heard them call to each other.
We all got great views of each bird, then, the group understood the importance of walking away.
Well done Irene and Laurenz

dag's avatar

dag

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

In my opinion, Cathy (emptybeach) wrote the perfect review, I can not describe it any better! I must admit, that I was not able to completly muffle a giggle when the bird picked at my walking boots. Thank you Ian!

Cheers
Christian

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Christian
True, true true, Quite an amazing trip. Having Beaumont come that close is not really the ideal thing, but, she chose to come near. Well done. Ian

emptybeach's avatar

emptybeach

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

If you just want to tick “kiwi” off your list of “things to see in NZ”, this is not the tour for you. See them at a wildlife centre instead.

If you can’t stand perfectly still, in complete silence, in the cold, in the bush, at night, (sometimes unable to see the nearest person) for an unknown length of time, then this is not for you.

If you don’t like the idea of doing all that with no guarantee you will see a kiwi, then this is definitely not the tour for you.

But if all that is right up your alley, and you want to know what life in the wild is like for NZ’s rarest kiwi (the Rowi), experience what their pooh smells like, hear what their calls sound like, and find out what some wonderful people (and the NZ Department of Conservation) are doing to help protect and restore the Rowi population, then this may be the perfect experience for you.

If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a kiwi just being a kiwi in its natural habitat.

Our guide Ian must be one of the Rowi’s most passionate advocates and protectors. Happily, his people skills were just as good as his kiwi skills. He quickly created a team spirit between total strangers, delivered clear instructions and serious information while also making us laugh, and I learned more about Rowi in the first 20 minutes than I have from any wildlife centre or website.

Personally, I felt I’d got my money’s worth as soon as we heard kiwi calling to their partners in the distance, but to then have the rare opportunity of seeing the birds emerge from the bush, behaving completely naturally, was something I cannot put a price on. To see them just centimetres away (exploring a fellow traveller’s boot) literally took my breath away.

This tour will change the way you walk in the bush and drive on the roads in kiwi habitat anywhere in NZ, and will give you hope for the future of these fascinating little creatures.

Cathy - tour date 10 August 2012

Reviewed almost 7 years ago

tonydoy's avatar

tonydoy

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

we thoroughly enjoyed it. Paul was a really great guide. He had plenty of knowledge and sound skills in ensuring that we all got good views. My wife was especially rapt with the fact that the male couldn't keep his balance on top of the female and fell off!
It was the highlight of our holiday on the coast. No mean feat as we crammed in plenty in and had an awesome holiday.
we are recommending it to all our friends and family.

Reviewed almost 7 years ago

batzi's avatar

batzi

Ranking: 10/10

Trip date: 03/04/2012, 18:45-21:45
I have been on a Rowi Tour in April with seven other people and Ian as the guide. The conditions were very good with exceptional good weather the days before (clear, no wind, dry). After a short introduction we headed out well equipped (spotlights, mosquito protection etc. provided) towards Rowi habitat into tall Podocarp forest. Due to the radio tagged Kiwis it is posssible for Ian to locate the birds and follow their movement in the bush along the forest track without seeing them. After approximately 2 hours team work and patience we were lucky first to hear and even spot a female Rowi for less than one minute coming out from the bush on the track very close (ca. 1 m). Half an hour later we heard another pair calling. About 9:30pm we headed back towards Okarito.
Wether you are a birder or not I can highly recommend joining a Kiwi tour in Okarito. For the non-birder it is a very good opportunity to get a taste of what is bird watching like - staying patiently at one place in the deepest night with a lot of mosquitos for hours for spotting one bird for just 30 seconds!! For the birder it is an unique opportunity to experience the rarest of the five Kiwi species in their natural forest habitat. In comparison to other Kiwi experiences I had (Northland, Kapiti Island, Stewart Island) the Okarito Tour offers Kiwi spotting in Podocarp forest, the most difficult surrounding for observing a Kiwi and to do so with a very low impact for the birds (due to the radio transmitters). Thanks Ian for this unique experience.
Sebastian, Germany

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Awesome review Sebastian.
This was the last big trip of the season. All went to plan and I had a great group of people to share another magical night.
Thanks for making the effort of reviewing. It all helps me gain an insight inot what I am doing right, or, what I can improve on.
Ian Okarito Kiwi Tours

evasch's avatar

evasch

Austria

Ranking: 10/10

With Ian being totally committed to the Kiwis we had one of the most special evenings so far in New Zealand. There was only 2 of us and Ian and we were prepared before the trip by some basic information on the Kiwis in that particular area and their general behaviour. Out in the bush we were waiting and listening and we were successful - only 2 meters from us a Kiwi came out of the bush. Absolutely amazing - Beaumont (the Kiwi's name) paused on the track for a while and watched us watching her before she disappeared into the forest again.
A perfect evening and thanks again Ian, for such a wonderful experience and that you took the time to go out with us.
Eva & Martin (Austria)

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 16 April 2012
Thanks for the review - It was great night, also was about the earliest I have been home. I even got got see my daughter before she goes to bed !

I was let down during the day by people ( I really trust people too much sometimes ! ) not turning up for the tour. I usually take minimium numbers out into he bush, however I was left with Eva and Martin. A great couple of Austrians really keen to see a kiwi in the wild.

The trip started well with BZ and Beaumont nesting very close to the track - Right on Cue, after the birds got up.......it started to rain ! GREAT. Now I can't hear them moving in the bush.
Luckily I used the telemetry the best way possible and was able to estimate how close Beaumont was coming. Soon after, I heard her pooh in the bush then, out she came onto the track. She paused infront of us for a while, then, continued along her way.

In the end I was kinda pleased the other people didn't turn up because we had such a great night and those who didn't bother to show or let me know really missed out on one of the best wildlife experiences you can ever have.

Thanks Ava and Martin

melemele's avatar

melemele

Spain

Ranking: 10/10

Completely advisable. The guide, Ian, is a very passionate person about kiwis and he is trying to spread his knowledge among people, in order to promote the kiwis conservation programs. And he is succesful, at least with us. We didn't have luck in our tour, but it was an incredible experience, being in such a forest at night, with kiwis so near (we heard two of them crying). A must.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 7th April 2012
This trip was guided by Paul - who did and excellent job on a tough night. It's a tough ask - getting 8 strangers to gel together then head out and look for one of the rarest birds on the Planet.......at nightime. Well done for attempting the near impossible. Ian

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bongo_travellers's avatar

bongo_travellers

Ranking: 10/10

Certainly one of the highlights we experienced on our trip around the South Island. Ian (our guide and operator of Okarito Kiwi Tours) is 100% passionate about the Kiwis and did a great job!
The tour starts in Okarito (usually in small groups of up to eight people) and Ian gave us an entertaining and educative lesson on all the Kiwi facts and what we had to expect on our tour into the bush. All of us were excited and started to catch the Kiwi-fever as well and after we got equipped with bird-watching gear (flashlights, radios and mosquitohats) Ian drove us to the Kiwi habitat right into the bush.
Unfortunately we were totally out of luck this night. Although Ian did his best and we were on the tracks for several hours we didn't even hear a single noise from one of the Kiwis. Of course we were pretty disappointed, but Kiwis are wild birds after all so we knew that it was possible that we won't see one of them.
Back in Okarito Ian had a great surprise for us: He was so kind to invite us to join the tour on the next evening! This time we were confident that we would see the Kiwi. Our group was much smaller and we were already kind of "experienced" so we knew how to behave in the bush and walk around without making too much noise that might scare the birds. And then our patience paid off: Suddenly we heard a crunching noise in the bush and Ian told us to follow him quickly. We walked a few meters then stopped and held our breath. "Crunch" , "crunch"... And then BZ (one of the male birds) stepped out of the bush onto the track just about a meter in front of us! He walked around a bit probing for food and vanished back into the bush.
What a great and exciting experience!
If you'd like to see a Kiwi and are interested in "the real thing" then come to Okarito. You'll learn a lot about this unique and fascinating bird and see it from a totally different perspective after going on a tour with Ian! Thanks again!
Annika & Markus (Germany, March 8/9)

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip dates 8/9 March 2012
Thanks for taking up my offer of looking for the birds a second night - you made great co-guides and certainly helped.
The first trip was REALLY REALLY tough - no sightings or calls ! Hard to believe that we were in kiwi habitat at all ?
The next night the birds were in different positions and made it a little easier. BZ came down from the ridgeline and we heard him in the bush at 9.17. Three minutes later he appeared under a fern within a couple of metres of us all. He then had a little stop to look for food then he was off - into the bush and away. This was probably the one chance we had of seeing kiwi over the 2 days and we took it. BZ had no idea that 2 people from Germany had put in 5 hours worth of effort for 30 seconds of joy !
Well done and thanks.
Ian

chk's avatar

chk

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

We got a place for the easter sunday tour and were looking forward to it. The trip to the bush with Paul was very interesting - and also quite tough. We spent almost 4 hours on the track, with a lot of patience and mosquitos. We heard four Kiwibirds (yelling and walking) and they must have been really close to us, but unfortunately none of them came out. We have to admit that we were disappointed, but it was still a great experience and we would book that tour again!
Chris & Bianca

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip date 8 April 2012
Thanks for the positive review. We hope you all apprechiate that seeing a kiwi in the wild is one of the most challenging things going. We are really pleased you had a great night with Paul. You came very close to 4 birds, though frustating it's great to hear your feedback.
Thanks for the great review - sounds like you had a great time, you even got to hear BZ, Beaumont and Fancy call.
It will be great to see you again.

garycrusan's avatar

garycrusan

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Having returned from our 4-week New Zealand vacation, we wanted to take the time to review our experiences. Our journey with Ian into the Okarito bush on 19 Mar 12 was certainly a highlight--a thoroughly educational, exciting and rewarding experience! Our particular excursion had some challenges since the majority of our group spoke little or no English. Despite this hurdle, Ian led the group masterfully and we had a rare opportunity to observe the Kiwi close-up and within its natural habitat. We highly recommend this tour to anyone interested in Kiwis. Thanks again Ian.

Gary

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 19 March 2012
Cheers Gary for the great review - This was a Franch dominated experience with a little German influence.
We started looking for Beaumont, however, she went deep into the bush and away from us. This trip involved heaps of patience as we all had to work really hard to see a bird.
We were rewarded with BZ walking along the track on his way to a new burrow of his. BZ appeared infront of us then walked past us. We all had great views as he ambled past. The key thing we did next was to WALK AWAY from the bird.
To see a kiwi in the wild is a very special achievement, we are in his environment and we must respect that at all times - once we have seen a bird a key element of what I do is to walk away knowing the bird has been undisturbed in any way.

Marjie905's avatar

Marjie905

Canada

Ranking: 10/10

March 2, 2012 We were all committed even though it was raining and dark and we might not see a kiwi.
The bird we were tracking is called BZ His mate is Beaumont who used to be mated to another Kiwi but she ditched the fellla for BZ. BZ's previous mate was BQ but her beak got broken and she starved to death. BZ was asleep on a ridge above us and he woke up around 8:30pm. He then walked left along the top of the ridge, making his way down. Then around 9pm, he back tracked and went right. We then had to scramble and get into position. We then had to spread out about 3 feet apart and listen. BZ is tagged but when he gets within 10 feet, you have to listen for him. Ian flashed his red light three times (time to get into position). We got in to position and we were rewarded with a good view of BZ foraging with his back to us. I could see his little fat bottom waving as he had his head down looking for food. By this time it had stopped raining.
BZ then moved into the car park. Finally BZ came out and was doing his kiwi thing, head down snuffling around. We watched for a couple of minutes and then BZ lifted his head and looked left and right. We had seem him stand up and in profile. What a treat.
The other interesting thing is that kiwi have a lovely scent. They are slightly floral and that scent is enticing for dogs so you cannot allow dogs into kiwi habitat. I was most taken with the fact that kiwi have a scent, that they do not mate for life, have eggs half as big as their bodies and the fact that I braved the rain for a chance to see a kiwi in the wild. Although I enjoyed seeing him with his head up, I most enjoyed seeing his little butt up in the air, moving quickly as he foraged for food. What could possibly beat this experience?

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 2 March 2012
Great Lengthy review - thanks.
We nearly didn't go, lots of rain nearly prevented us from haiving a great night. I left it as late as possible to make a decision, then with 6 keen people we attempted the impossible.
We were rewarded with outstanding views of BZ foraging for about 5 minutes blissfully anaware of 6 awestruck visitors enjoying one of the rarest things in nature.
Good trip - Good people.

suzanna's avatar

suzanna

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Great trip, and well worth the wait to see a Kiwi in its natural habitat. It takes patience and you have to buy in to the experience, but was definitely worth it for that moment when the Kiwi pops out from the bush. Went on 16 Feb, and Ian was on for a 100% success rate for the month. Great bonus is getting to learn so much about the birds as well as seeing one. The area itself is beautiful too.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 16 Feb 2012
Thanks Suzanna for the great review. A very unusual end the trip ?? When we got back to the van I went to get my keys from under the trye ( my normal hidden spot ) and they were missing ! After a slight panic....I heard them ????? A cheeky Kea had gotton my keys from under the van and bought them to the middle of the car park - maybe it was you Suzanna, but, somebody was treading on my keys and I heard them rattle. I now keep my keys on me !
BZ put in an appearance at 10.20. About 30 minutes prior BZ gave us a beautiful call from 30 metres.
I am really pleased you learnt heaps about kiwi - this is a vital cog in the whole tour.
Ian

jbunn185's avatar

jbunn185

Ranking: 10/10

I wrote in my journal that Ian Cooper “was a bit of a character” and that he was very knowledgeable and passionate about the Kiwi. There were nine of us plus Ian on our tour on Jan 11th. Ian made this a casual and relaxed affair, but instilled in us a sense of excitement and anticipation at going out to find the Rowi Kiwi, the world’s rarest. Ian talked about the research he was doing and the different pairs of Kiwis and which ones we were likely to see that night. We saw two (though I can't remember their names) that night, though only briefly. But you have to remember that these are wild birds, and that’s what makes this so special. It takes great patience waiting for them to cross the path, but it is well worth it. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to experience a real bit of nature. It’s inexpensive compared to a lot of other tours, and Ian is a great teacher and encourager, AND they are so rare! Do it – you won't be disappointed. Question, Ian if you're there; please clarify the number of Kiwi species. Robertson and Heather, “Birds of New Zealand” says there are 3, you said 4, and still other sources say 5 or even 6. Can you clarify please? And thanks for a great experience.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in January 2012

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 11 Jan 2012

Thanks for the great long review. The birds seen were BZ first at 9.47, then, Beaumont at 10.42.

There are 5 Species of Kiwi at present - NI Brown, Little Spotted, Great Spotted, Rowi and Tokoeka.
Tokoeka has 3 different types.

Heath and Robertson book is pretty old and they are reluctant to re-print as the North Island kiwi may be split into a few more species. They are waiting for classifiation before going into re-print.

I remember this trip as being quite a tough trip as I found the team was a very quiet group and I found the lack of feedback quite draining - I was pleasantly surprised to find a review from this particular night - many thanks. I put alot into the trip and love feedback - I found at the end of such a great night the group seemed........un-inspired ? Maybe I was wrong ?
Regards
Ian

Thorsten's avatar

Thorsten

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

For anyone who likes spotting animals in their natural habitat rather than in a zoo, this is definitely a "must do". Waiting quietly in the silence of the night for Ian to signal that he had tracked a kiwi and then to see one of these cude fellows is just an amazing experience!

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 2nd March 2012

Rain, no rain, rain, no rain. We almost didn't go out ! What a reward for those who showed 100% trust and belief.
We saw BZ feeding on the edge of the track for a very long time - I think the longest I have ever obseved BZ.
Huge Effort = Huge Reward.

Phyl_Dave's avatar

Phyl_Dave

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Unbelievable experience. Ian is so full of enthusiasm and this is very infectious. Only 9 in our group and we were all able to take a full part in the trip. You do need patience but the wait is well worth while - a live Rowi kiwi. We would highly recommend it. All the beforgo Ian and his efforts in the future and to the rest of the group we met.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 27 Feb 2012
Great Bunch of people - we all gelled very well to make an outstanding team.
We started out looking for BZ - he got up quite early then decided to go deep intop the bush.
Plan B.....we decided to walk further into the bush looking for a few other birds.
When we got into the other territory it came clear to me that we only had only tangible bird to look for, Fancy.
He made it very difficult for me by being so close to a running noisy creek. He soon made his way out onto the track, he then made a stunning appearance infront of all of us.
The trip was made possible by the outstanding attitudes of all 9 on the trip - thanks for your trust and patience.
Ian

DavidLim's avatar

DavidLim

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

My wife and I were taken by Ian on a night tour in February 2012. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip down the West Coast. Ians knowledge of, and passion for, the Rowi is inspiring. Ian made sure we all had a good sighting of the kiwi in the Okarito Bush, and now we can join the few New Zealanders who have actually seen a kiwi in the wild. I totally recommend this experience to anyone
.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 8 Feb 2012

Thanks David. Always great to take New Zealanders out into the bush. We all got to see 2 birds - BZ and Beaumont quite early.
As I remember it started in a very strange way - I think a campervan was parked about 10 metres from the birds - luckily the campers obliged and moved.

Ian

thomasW346's avatar

thomasW346

Denmark

Ranking: 10/10

10+ - Ian is very good at what he is specialized in: Finding the Kiwis. Follow his instructions, and you will have a very very good chance of seeing the local Kiwi species, but also where to find other species of Kiwi. Thanks Ian!

Beside that Ian is a great guy and very helpful! He gave me lots of good advise how to find Kiwis on my own.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in December 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Thomas - This is a first. Thomas didn't even come out on a kiwi tour !
Poor Tomas had to babysit while his wife enjoyed her night out.
I gave Thomas advice about seeing Rowi after his wife got in from her tour and also information on Great Spotted Kiwi.
Thomas would have made a great co-guide for me.

Cheers - Ian

Ritchie's avatar

Ritchie

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Fabulous night out. Ian Cooper is very professional and is amazing in his ability to predict where a kiwi will cross your path within a few metres.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 15th Feb 2012
As Always - It's great to take New Zealander's out into the bush and try and experience a once in a lifetime event.
Twice Beaumont came out onto the track - The second time every body got a stunning view of one of the most beautiful birds in the world.

What a Job I have !!

Ian

sav's avatar

sav

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

For the past few years we have taken clients to Okarito as part of a round NZ birding trip. We have seen Okarito Brown Kiwi on every trip - more than 10 times now. Ian (and Paul) has the whole thing brilliantly organised, and has developed a technique which - with a bit of luck/patience - enables the birds to be observed in a completely natural state without disturbance. I cannot recommend this trip too highly - it is simply wonderful.
Sav Saville, Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ

Reviewed over 7 years ago

prbkiwi's avatar

prbkiwi

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Great trip on Fri 3 Feb with Ian and 2 others. Ian is really passionate about showing Kiwi in the natural to people and brings that passion out in you as well. After briefing us at his office we then went to the bush and had further briefing before the real fun started - standing and listening passionately for any sign of a kiwi. After about 30 mins ( very quick I gather) we were rewarded by a kiwi, BK, appearing and wandering down the track we were on.

My first sight of kiwi in the wild and something every 'kiwi' should do.

I defintely recommend this trip

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 3rd Feb 2012

Thanks Peter for the review. This was a boys night out. My last night before my golfing weekend !
I really enjoyed the small group.

BZ ( male kiwi ) played his part by coming down the hill, appearing on the track, then walking away looking for it's partner.
I think I was home in bed by 10.30 - a record for Summer !

As always, taking New Zealanders out to see a kiwi is my biggest thrill - They do exist - you just have to try.

cpope's avatar

cpope

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

The tour is a great experience and the guide Ian is very experienced and a top bloke. Well worth a visit to Ian and his mad chooks.

Apparently historically he was unable to find any Stevenage Brown Kiwis in the UK so decided to travel to NZ instead and search for their distant cousins...

cheers mate and hope to see you again some time

Chris, Roger and Louise Pope

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 21 Jan 2012.
This was a stark contrast to the previous review.
Beaumont was sleeping only about 12 metres from the track.
I was pretty confident she would cross the track quite early giving us a quick view - I was also pretty confident, if we gave it another hour we would be rewarded with a better view ( once it git a little darker ) of Beaumont casually crossing the track again.
Thanks for your trust and patience - well rewarded - as ever.
Ian

magpiemareth's avatar

magpiemareth

United States

Ranking: 9/10

I had a great time with this tour - Ian is a superb wildlife tour guide. My tour, was, unfortunately, one of the 5% of tours that didn't actually see a kiwi - although we heard the birds calling several times. Also, just being out for a hike after dark and listening to what was going on in the forest was a great experience.

And not only was the tour great, at $75 it is one of the cheaper-priced wildlife tours I have come across in New Zealand. If you are at all interested in seeing a wild kiwi, or experiencing the kiwi's environment first-hand, I would strongly encourage you to consider this tour.

You can read a longer account my experience on the kiwi tour at my blog. http://notesfromanaccidentalnaturalist.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/call-of-kiwi.html

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 24 Jan 2012
This was certainly a tough trip - The closest we got to seeing a bird was when 'Husky' came to the margins of the track, but, not quite close enough to see.
One of the most important things about the Okarito Kiwi Tour is the lack of impact and disturbance on kiwi. This was no more evident as Husky is by far the shiest bird I look for - Infact I only saw her twice in 2010 ! These birds are not 'used' to me, and will be very cautious and wary - Every effort is made to sustain the quiet environment and the importance of us being a visitor into kiwi habitat.

topshotone's avatar

topshotone

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

This tour is just amazing. You´ll need a bit patience, but seeing a kiwi in it´s natural enviroment is worth the price. The guides are very professionell and know everything about the birds. We were very lucky - B.Z. (name of the bird) came out of the bush direct in front of us, so we had a really good view. It´s an absolut must-do on a New Zealand-trip.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date : 30 Dec 2011
Thanks Chris/Claudia for the review.
BZ was seen again, this time he took his time getting to the track.
At 10.42 he popped out onto the track, crossed over. Within 2 minutes he called for the first time that evening....right infront of us. Great timing.
This was a trip where patience was the key. I had a feeling BZ was making his way along a gully, I then anticipated his exit point. We waited, then, then the excitement rose as we all heard him in the bush getting closer and closer.
He stepped out onto the track and almost ran into Claudia !

Another stonking trip. Another great group. Thanks - Ian

KandJ's avatar

KandJ

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

As a NZer - it was so amazing to be able to see a kiwi in the wild. You have to really want to see one, and be willing to be patient. But the wait is well worth it. It's an experience I will always remember.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date : 9th Jan 2012
Thanks Karen and John. This was a tough trip as it started to rain at 10.30. This made it real tough for me to predict where BZ was going to come out onto the track.
20 minutes after the rain started I could hear BZ getting closer, out he popped.
As always - Patience is the key. Karen - you have touched on it also...you need to really really want to see one in the wild and YOU must make the effort.
Thanks for the review.
Ian

trentworr's avatar

trentworr

United States

Ranking: 10/10

This was one of the highlights of my 3 1/2 weeks on the South Island in Dec. 2011, during which I did a lot of birding. Ian and his fellow guide Paul really know the Okarito brown kiwis. They provided lots of information on the birds and the ongoing efforts to recover this rare species before we began our search. They also did an excellent job of training the small group on this night tour how we needed to act together to optimize our chances of seeing these rare nocturnal birds in the wild. The proof is in the result: We saw 2 birds very close up. Ian seems to know how the birds think and can accurately pinpoint where they'll emerge from the bush onto the trail, a remarkable feat. This tour is a must for anyone who would like to see New Zealand's iconic bird in the wild.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 19 Dec 2011
Thanks Trent for this great review. I was blown away with your comment..." Ian seems to know how the birds think and can accurately pinpoint where they'll emerge from the bush onto the trail, a remarkable feat "
It's through years and years of study, patience, dilligence that enables me to predict what a wild bird is going to do.
It's great when it all pans out and the birds behaive as I expect, however,.......it's not always like that, these birds still surprise me with their speed and stealth.

Thanks again, I am really pleased you got to see BZ first then Beaumont.

Ian

thebraininjane's avatar

thebraininjane

Canada

Ranking: 10/10

This is a long overdue review for Ian's kiwi tour. My friend and I visited him in October for a tour, and we were lucky enough to be just the two of us (it was quite early spring, so there were not many tourists around yet). Ian gave us a great rundown on our responsibilities during the tour and then took us to the spot where we would be seeing the kiwis. We were very lucky in that Beaumont came tramping along quite quickly and we got a great view of her when she stopped right in the middle of the path on her way across! Ian then asked if we wanted to try to see some other birds, but we were less lucky. That's okay, though, because we had a great time listening and learning with Ian. He's very knowledgeable and was able to teach us a lot (my friend is a kiwi and she learned a lot herself!). I highly, HIGHLY recommend this tour, but BE WARNED! It requires lots of patience and effort (you have to help spot the birds!), but if you are patient and contribute, you will be greatly rewarded. DO IT!! :) We had a great time and were rewarded for our patience with a wonderful view of the southern hemisphere night sky.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in October 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date : 22 Oct 2011
Thanks Jane for the very informative trip report/review.

We saw Beaumont at 8.45pm, then, as Jane mentioned we walked further into the bush to see if we could fine any other kiwi.
We did find Husky walking around in the undergrowth for 20 minutes - however, Husky is the most shy bird I look for.

As mentioned, this trip involves Patience, ownership and participation - be prepared to work. Without your participation we won't see kiwi in the wild.
I am glad Margot learnt more about kiwi. Empathy is the key - the more you learn the more you care.

Ian

eboese's avatar

eboese

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

We joined Ian on his Kiwi Tour 2 weeks ago and his passion and enthousiasm and the opportunity to see the rarest kiwi in the wild made this Tour into a great experience. At the start of our evening BZ and Beaumont were in a perfect position and we had good hopes of seeing at least one of them crossing the track. Several hours of patiently listening and waiting later neither of them had come close to the track though and as rain started to set in we made a final move further down the track trying to catch a glimpse of Fancy and/or Joeline. Although things started to look grim in the end our patience was greatly rewarded when we heard them snuffling in the bush and both came out on to track together. A magical moment! Funnily enough, after we returned to the car park, we heard one of the kiwi's we waited so many hours for, BZ, actually moving around in the bush a few meters from our cars. Great ending to a great evening. Thanks Ian!

Cornelis and Katarina

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date : 13 Dec 2011
Another really really tough, but, rewarding night.
We started off looking for BZ and Beaumont. They didn't come close and we got no calls from them either.
I decided to walk in a couple of kilometres to look for Fancy and Joeline......it started to rain, my hopes faded and the trip increased in difficulty.
I then heard a bird in the bush.....Fancy, then, snuffling....Joeline and Fancy together. A few minutes later and they both appeared on the track. What a wonderful end to a very tough trip.
Too date, that is the last time I saw either of those birds !

Thanks for a great review and thanks for trusting me.

Ian

Garlu's avatar

Garlu

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian,

Without a doubt the best experience I have had in New-Zealand.
With a nice British couple we waited around 20 minutes on a chair in a religious silence, we were listening for Kiwis going out of their burrows. Then, the magical moment came...2 kiwis popped-up from the bush just 2 meters from us. Just unbelievable!!
Apart from the kiwi sighting, you will learn a lot of stuff about this animal, and you will experience a truly unique moment that makes Aotearoa even more mysterious...

Thanks for all Ian (I mean for the Kiwis & for towing me out of the sand with my campervan in the morning).

Hope to come back one day in your little paradise.

Flo (from France)

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in August 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 4 Aug 2011

Thanks Flo for the glowing review - This was one of the last times Fancy and Joeline were close to the track at the start of the trip.
I really like going out in Winter time ( my favourite time of the year ) and it was great to share a little bit of paradise with you.

I was glad to help you get your camper out from the ditch !

Ian

Sander's avatar

Sander

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

It is beyond doubt that spotting and hearing the kiwi in the wild as it wanders through the forest is our most unique experience in New Zealand and Ian made it happen. His enthousiasm and dedication are absolutely remarkable. He thought us how to make the most of our own sensors in an effort to increase the chance of experiencing a miracle. As a result, on the evening of November 26th we enjoyed the characteristic call of BZ, just after he crossed the path right in front of our very eyes. Thank you very much!

Sander and Maria.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date 26 Nov 2011.
Thanks Sander for the flowing and glowing review. This trip I will remember for quite some time. Not much action, however it was pretty good.
BZ crossed the track infront of us at 9.58 - while feeding I had THAT feeling that he was going to call and I mentioned it to you - within 5 seconds........he called, that's what I am going to remember for some time !
I have just read a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I think what happened that night has some strange paralells with that book ?
Thanks for being part of a great team - I was outnumbered by the Dutch that night !

Trace's avatar

Trace

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian
Claire and I were just bubbling over with extreme joy - tears of happiness when we were treated with a wonderful sighting of Fancy, foraging the forest floor, only to learn from yourself he had been released from nesting to re-coup energy levels, having to return to duties come dawn. Great call to move up along the track! I recall a team of 2 Aussies and an amazing starry night sky, an experience that will live with me for a lifetime and is shared with many!
Thanks a squillion for taking us out and sharing with us your knowledge and years of experience and research, your passion for life and all things living is infectious!
All the best for the great work your doing!
Still Smiling - Trace :)

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip Date - 2nd Dec 2011
Thanks Tracey for the great review. I will remember your great reaction at seeing Fancy feeding in the bush.
I still get goosebumps everytime I see a kiwi in the wild and its great to see that some things in nature can still bring a tear to the eye.
This was an all exclusive Aussie night.
For your info - Fancy and Joeline have abandon the egg they have been sitting on - The second time they have done that this season.
Ian

willemenlilian's avatar

willemenlilian

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

This is the real kiwi experience! Ian puts in a lot of effort to spot the kiwis. It was great to hear the calls and see a male als well as a female. Awesome!
Willem and Lilian

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the Review - Trip date 28th Nov 2011.
2 Birds seen on this trip - We saw White Eyes at 9.52, then, walking home we heard Beaumont call, then saw her 2 minutes later.
Nice trip with 4 from The Netherlands and 3 from the UK.

dgi3005's avatar

dgi3005

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Excellent evening seeing and hearing BZ and Beaumont calling to each other on a beautiful evening.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Pretty good night I think ! Thanks for the review - Ian

damaca's avatar

damaca

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

very enjoyable night walk with Kiwi expert Ian, and 5 other guests, we were patient and saw a kiwi close up in the wild. Brilliant !

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in September 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Many thanks for the review - I am glad you had a great night.

Louise Bush's avatar

Louise Bush

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian,

Better late than never!

Alex and myself had a great time on your tour back in September, it was without a doubt the highlight from a holiday touring the South Island which was full of amazing highlights.

Seeing the rarest bread of Kiwi and in the wild was an opportunity we could not pass up and after a long time stood very quietly in the cold we got the view we had been waiting for, first a beak, then the whole head, then the Kiwi as he stepped out on the track and made his way across the past to the safety of the bushes on the other side. We also got to hear both male and female call to one another earlier in the night. Ian is not lying when he says you need patience to go Kiwi spotting, but it is more than worth the effort!

The tour is completed with the utmost respect for the Kiwi at all times which was great to see, and Ian gets you involved throughout; something a number of wildlife tours we have been a part of in the past often miss, and was really appreciated by us both.

It was a pleasure to go Kiwi spotting with you Ian and we have been talking about it to ALL of our friends and family. Thanks again for a great and memorable night!

Louise & Alex

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in September 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the descriptive review, always great to hear your thoughts and feelings.
I am glad you both got so much from the tour. Up to this point ( Nov ) that was the last time I saw Fancy, as he has now gone into incubation mode - meaning he is sitting on an egg and not being that active.
It was a night for patience as we did not get a call for an hour, then, it took another hour before we saw Fancy sprint accross the track.
Cheers - Ian

justus's avatar

justus

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Our Kiwi spotting experience last night was unforgettable! We saw BZ (a male) and Beaumont his mate, they called out to each other before crossing the track looking for each other. Ian is extremely good at finding these shy birds in the dark and put a lot of effort into coaching us to work as a team to increase our chances of a sighting. We have travelled extensively throughout NZ, visiting many bird and wildlife attractions and rate this among our favourites. Sharon & Steve

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Quite a tough night, sometimes I get people who are prepared to work hard, bring patience in abundance and give 100%, sometimes......not very often I get people who expect me to 'magic' a kiwi out of the bush.

This trip I had a contrasting group of people, luckily, the strengths and characters of Sharon & Steve saw the trip turn from potential disaster to extreme delight and fascination.

Thanks for keeping me on track.
Ian

taffski's avatar

taffski

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian,
an absolute pleasure is all I can say about the tour.
Informative, exciting, rewarding (Patience was indeed what was needed) and finally we got to see BD in the wild (which was unexpected !)
To top it off, he gave us a late night call up close! We will never forget that !
Although some of the team seemed to get cold before others I applaude you for your patience and persistence in ensuring that all the team got the magical experience of seeing a kiwi in the wild.
We've also seen Kiwi in the Wild in Stewart Island and can only say that this experience tops it by a mile ! Thanks and we hope BD got back to his Egg ok and all is fine with him and Beaumont ?
Hopefully see you again soon
Alan and Steph (Wales & England)

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Alan & Steph
Wednesday night was one of the most challenging of the seasons so far. BZ surprised me by getting up and making an early appearance on the track. I was checking for BZ, however, the speed of his movements caught me out.
For the last 2 weeks, his partner has been the one allowed to get up and roam.
For me, it was like and old fashioned trip, where patience wins.
Well done for trusting me. I kinda knew that if we waited long enough, we would be rewarded with a sighting. BZ must have realised that we had waited long enough, because, he rewarded you with a close, loud shrill of a call.
Thanks for your great comments, patinece and attitudes. Nice to get back to 10/10 !
Ian

David Taylor's avatar

David Taylor

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Thoughtful and extremely well-organised hunt for the Kiwi birds. Ian is very involving and the whole evening is good fun for the patient birdseekers.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

David - thanks for the review. Always a shock for me to see a low score like 8/10 ( I think that's my lowest ever ).
Rankers is all about giving accurate reviews to enable future visitors to gain information relating to the experience. Good or Bad all reviews are very helpful.
From Memory, David's night included hearing a bird awakening in a burrow close by, seeing it emerge, then seeing the bird going back down the burrow and re-appearing again.
10 minutes later the same bird called with another male calling about 20 minutes later.
Ian

Jasmin Loeffler's avatar

Jasmin Loeffler

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Seeing wild kiwi in Okarito.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in April 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the Review...Ian

David47's avatar

David47

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

First of all this has been a really great experience and if you could give twelve points we would have done this. We joined Ian's Kiwi Tour on the 6th of october and we totally agree with all the good reviews that have already been written.
At the beginning of our tour Ian gave us a short briefing at his home. So we already knew what a kiwi male and female sounds like. He explained his equipment and told us a lot of kiwi facts. So we already knew what to look for when we went to the forrest.
It's right that you have to bring a lot of patience to see a kiwi in it's natural habitat and environment. But it's something completely different to go to a zoo or to see new zealands emblem under these circumstances.
We can just say that this has been amazing to see Beaumot, one of the kiwi females. She was so close to us that we hold our breath not to scare her away.
This has been something that we will never forget in your life. If that's what you want we can only say that Ian is the right man for this affair. ;-) Thanks a lot!

Bea & David

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks David and Bea
Can I also say that I always need the 'right' people take make my trip a success.

It goes without saying that you both showed the perfect attributes, Beaumont crossed the track only once, we were in the right place at the right time and she had no idea we were there. PERFECT !

Thanks for dragging me off my sofa.

Ian

jenckes's avatar

jenckes

United States

Ranking: 10/10

My wife and I took Ian's tour on an overcast Friday evening September 23rd. Two Russians, two English, and two Americans (us). Ian Cooper is a New Zealand treasure. He built us as a team, coordinated the walk (quite easy), and with directed zeal, attuned us to sounds and characteristics of a pair of Rowi Kiwis. We heard them snuffle for a couple of hours, and then magically they appeared, not 5 feet from one end of the group (the male), and the larger female just 8-10 feet away across a small path. Seemingly not bothered by the red light shining on them, we watched with adrenalin pumping for about 5 minutes. We walked right past the male, seemingly not at all frightened, to make our exit. All in all a marvelous evening. Lesson learned? No two Kiwis are alike, they make quite some noise in their journies in the bush, and getting to be a part of Ian's "team" is an experience not to miss in New Zealand.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

100th Review ! Thanks for that.
This for me was a real 'old fashioned' trip. It was great to know Fancy was in the bush, then, to my delight he was joined by Joeline. ( when 2 kiwi meet up, they often start to snuffle together, letting me know there are 2 birds together )
The snuffling continued for 1 hour and 20 minutes. With great patience the group waited with anticipation.
I was quite confident they would make an appearance on the track, but, I was torn between 2 places.
In the end, the female came out first, at one of the places I thought and the male came out at the other spot !
We then tip-toed past Fancy, letting him continue his nightly forage un-interupted.
Another great trip, another great team, another great night ! What a job !
Ian

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

pepette31's avatar

pepette31

France

Ranking: 10/10

If you're looking to experience wild kiwi in their original habitat - this is the place to go. Ian is passionate about the kiwis and has so much knowledge to share :) We had a great time, and our kiwi sighting made the hanging around in the cold and the dark for quite a while definitely worthwhile.
If you want to see a kiwi up close - go to a kiwi house in a zoo.
If you want to feel what it must be like for DOC workers who track and monitor wild kiwis - go to Ian's !
Marie and Gabriel

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Marie and Gabriel.
I was not expecting 'Fancy' to be where he was. I was expecting him to be sitting on his egg. His egg obviously had been predated ( maybe the night before ) and he had suffered some kind of trauma, because he was very jumpy and careful and very quick when he crossed the track.
I am now waiting for Fancy and Joeline to possibly lay a second egg for the season.
Thanks for the positive review.
Ian

Susi_Lars's avatar

Susi_Lars

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian, there is not much to say...we totally agree with all the nice words of the other reviews. We had the great possibility to join your tour two nights and could learn more than only how it sounds when a kiwi poo's!! :-)
Even when the first try was cold, freezy and not for all of us successful we had the great possibility on our second one. Thanks for your positive attitude and your passion in finding these rare birds where they naturally belonging. We are definitely kiwi fans now!!

Cheers Susi & Lars

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the great review. I am glad you learnt lots. The trip is far more than just seeing a bird in the wild. It's about learning about them, apprechiating them, and letting them be a wild bird with no interference from us. As always patience is the key. Well done.

JenandHeinz's avatar

JenandHeinz

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Sorry Ian, it took us a while ... nevertheless we want to thank you for the amazing tour.

Seeing three of the kiwi birds was one of the highlights of our NZ-trip.

Thanks again, best wishes from germany

Jen & Heinz

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in April 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Seeing one kiwi in the wild is great, seeing 3 is a huge bonus. Thanks for the positive review.

northernbird7's avatar

northernbird7

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was my highlight of our NZ holiday and a definate must do! Ian's passion and dedication to the kiwis is wonderful and his knowledge paid off as we saw two kiwis at very close quarters- Jolene and Fancy. It was amazing to sit and listen to then 'talking' to each other as they emerged from their burrow and then see them searching for food. I can also claim that I am an expert in kiwi poo sniffing!! Thank you Ian for creating a wonderful kiwi spotting experience which we will remember forever :) Catherine and James

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Trip took place on a cold 4th August night. Thanks for the review.
This was an unusual night as Joeline ( female kiwi ) was on a huge mission. She walked for about 600 metres infront of us along the track and made very good time also. This really gave you a great idea about the size and distance of a kiwi territory and how quickly one bird can cover such distance, so quickly.

Fuzziefay's avatar

Fuzziefay

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Hi Ian
Many thanks for a very exciting evening in the bush. It was fabulous to have success on Monday night and to see Joelene in her natural habitat, so much better than viewing the kiwis at Orana Park in our hometown, Christchurch. I was amazed to hear Joelene and Fancy snuffling to one another in their burrow and even more amazed to see how big Joelene is as I thought kiwis were half that size. I look forward to hearing that the egg they are sitting on will hatch successfully in about 76 days. Thanks for the factual experience and for being so passionate about what you do. Keep up the great work. PS Ralph was delighted to observe me sitting so quietly and still - he never thought I had it in me! LOL.
cheers
Fay and Ralph

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Fay/Ralf
Brrrrrrrr....What a cold night aswell. I am really glad you soaked in all the sounds of the snuffling kiwi's.
Not a night to be out longer than we were and I was pleased to see Joeline appear and give you a view of herself.
Some nights, looking for kiwi is getting on impossible, other nights a little easier - I am glad you got the easier version of the trip.
Thanks for bringing the Patient Fay.

KatieW85's avatar

KatieW85

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

What an amazing experience! My mum and her partner were visiting me from the UK and I REALLY wanted them to get the chance to see kiwi in the wild. We turned up and Ian gave us a great introductory talk about the kiwi's we might see and a real insight into their plight. We then headed off into the beautiful okarito forest on a clear winter's evening and had the unbelievable opportunity of hearing a male and female snuffling to each other at their burrow entrance. We then saw them both emerge and got fantastic views of both- to cap it off we then heard them call to each other, a noise like nothing you've heard before cutting throught the darkness! Incredible! Thanks for your work, dedication and passion Ian.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Katie for the fine review - Hot News......Fancy is now sitting on an egg !
As of Saturday he has not come out of the burrow at the normal time - which indicates they have a 3 day old egg !

DaveWilliamson's avatar

DaveWilliamson

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

We met early evening in the very attractive village of Okarito. Before setting off into the habitat of the very rare Okarito Kiwi we heard about it's behaviour and the work that is being carried out to protect it. Once in the nearby habitat we waited very quietly on the trail at a point where we could see the entrance to the burrow of one of the Kiwis. After a short while - and still during daylight! - the Kiwi emerged and we had fantastic views for several minutes while it stretched and got ready for a night's foraging. A wonderful experience and thoroughly recommended!

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in November 2009

EvaandJulian11's avatar

EvaandJulian11

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Hey Ian,

thanks for that amazing trip in the Okarito Forest. We had a great time and saw 2 Kiwis and the girl kiwi two times at the same place, just because of your verry good eyes and ears. It was verry cool and we had much luck withe the weather that day because it stoppt just at the moment the Kiwis came out.

Thanks Julian and Eva

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for that review - Yes, we got pretty lucky with the weather. This was sach a great trip, 3 sightings and the same birds called....all before 6.30pm !!

jasmin's avatar

jasmin

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Thank you, Ian, very much again for this real lifetime experience.
We have been so lucky to see the Kiwis in the wild and told everybody that this was one of the highlights of our trip.
I really get more out of your tour, than i had ever expected. Maybe we see each other again quite soon.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Jasmin for another great review. I have read on your blogsite the full review of your evening. Very descriptive. Regards. Ian

Snowythecat's avatar

Snowythecat

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

It was a really good tour and we saw two kiwis! It was good fun and even though we waited a while we did see some. We also saw Felix and Jenny a couple of days later.
We would recommend it to anyone!

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

alangshaw's avatar

alangshaw

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Ian delivers the goods. He had us listening for kiwi footsteps in the bush. We listened so hard in the silence that we could almost hear our own heart beats - as well as the mozzies around our protective head nets. Two hours of waiting under a glorious full moon listening to more porks, fighting off inquisitive possum and finally hearing the kiwi calling each other there it was, crossing the track within two feet of us. Concentrate on what Ian tells you. Be patient and I repeat, Ian will deliver the goods.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Great descriptive review. My trips are all about what effort you are prepared to put in. Give me 100% effort, patience and concentration and you could enjoy one of the rarest wildlife experiences of your life.
Cheers Alan.

kyle802's avatar

kyle802

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Absolutely spectacular experience! Ian prepped us carefully, provided lots of information on the natural history and conservation of the birds, and--drumroll--delivered a knee-weakening look at White-eyes, a male Rowi, waking up for the evening! (We saw him unobstructed from no more than a few meters away.) Ian took the utmost care to avoid disturbing any birds, and he ensured that our whole group did the same. In addition to the top-notch Kiwi tour, he helped me find my first Fernbird (about seven, actually!) around town earlier that day, and he hooked me up with Okarito Nature Tours, an equally awesome experience, for the next morning. Apologies, Ian, for the late review. Thanks again for the stellar birding!

Reviewed almost 9 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Kyle
Thanks for stopping by. Glad to show you the elusive fernbirds, in my backgarden.
You are never going to believe this.....Fancy and Joeline have now taken over from that burrow. It's all change since the death of BQ in October.
I am glad you got to see White Eyes. He had no idea we were there, well done on being my co-guide, although, you didn't have much to do that night !

topsy08's avatar

topsy08

France

Ranking: 10/10

Ian worked really hard for us to see a kiwi all whilst being respectful to the birds in the wild. I saw two and reflecting on the experience after I had finished my tour around south island, it really was the highlight of my trip. Thanks

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Co-guide ! I am pleased you decided to stay another night to get onto my kiwi tour. You were well rewarded with great views of Okarito Kiwi in the wild. Well Done.

jlgavin's avatar

jlgavin

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

This was an amazing experience of hearing calls and loud footsteps and then seeing a female and male kiwi run across in front of us, unaware of our presence. This is a very professional event. Ian's passion and knowledge meant we not only saw Kiwi, but also learnt about them as well.Thanks very much for this Ian. This is not a standard tour it is more an experience.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in March 2011

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for yet another great review, always great to see the 10/10 pop up and surprise me. February and March 2011 were two really tough months for me. The dynamics of the trips changed as we had a few territorial struggles going on.
April saw me getting the rewards for sticking to my plans. The trips have swung round and have become pretty easy ( as easy as seeing kiwi in the wild goes ! ) and my wife now expects me to be back from a trip before Coronation Street begins !
I am glad you enjoyed the kiwi tour, it's always great to see Australians out in the bush enjoying the safety of the bush at night. No snakes or big spiders here !

K4thy's avatar

K4thy

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

A really great experience. Seeing two real, wild kiwi in their natural environment was amazing. To think that these birds can go about their nightly activities while a group of spellbound people look on is really cool. The birds could have gone about their business anywhere in that huge expanse of forest and wetland but they did it there. If I could rate this higher than 10 then I would. Great, great experience. Ian, you do a great job.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

The second time Kathy has been on a trip, boy, did we get one right out of the top drawer !
Fancy and Joeline seen together at around 6.30pm. We heard snuffling, we saw snuffling, we saw shaking, neck stretch, feeding, all from about 3/4 metres.
Kathy had a round trip of 3 hours drive - thats dedication.

Judith's avatar

Judith

Switzerland

Ranking: 9/10

The tour was one of the highlights so far. Roughly five hours were spent in the forest (19-24hrs) to look for a kiwi. Just before heading back we saw one, what a success! Small group and experienced guide.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

This was a real tough trip, I still talk about it. I was just loading everybody into the van, we had not seen a bird ( pretty rare event ) then.....a pair called about 90 metres away. I ran off to locate the bird, everybody jumped out of the van to follow.
I heard the pair in the bush walking, then, one of them came out onto the track and ran up a little hill.
It crossed over, then called again. The other bird responded.
The group went from pretty disappointed to ecstatic in a matter of minutes !

JennyAndFelix's avatar

JennyAndFelix

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

It was absolutly awesome. Ian is a very friendly and entertaining guide and he knows ALL about Kiwis. After a short introduction how we should behave when a Kiwi is jumping out of the Bush we went straight into the forest and after some waiting we saw THREE different Kiwis. Really awesome if you keep in mind that most of the New Zealanders will never see one in their life.
So, all together: If you are just a little bit interested in native wild life: DO IT!

@Ian: Unfortunately the weather the day after our trip was too bad for kajaking, so we left the campground early and didn't dare to wake you up on Sunday morning. That's why we couldn't write something in the guest book and couldn't have a look in the statistics how many Kiwis our friend Stefan saw on his trip. :-(

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the great review. Since this trip, it's been tough, tough, tough !
I have sent you an email, I think you friend, Stefan, also had a superb night, maybe......even better than yours ?
Ian

B_mckenz118's avatar

B_mckenz118

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

We had a wonderful experience as we saw Jolene on the 7th of April. Our Guides Ian and Paul were very professional and well organised.We left Okarito at 5 pm for a short drive up to the bush. We had the correct equipment provided by the guides eg mosquito proof hats and radios. Paul provided a comprehensive plan before we left. Ian was already up in the bush locating the sleeping kiwis. We were positioned along the track,and we waited patiently and at about 830 we saw Jolene,step out onto the track and watched her for about 3/4 minutes .I won`t go into too much detail as it will spoil the surprise.I can thoroughly recommend this tour. It`s Fabulous. Bev Mckenzie. PS all the others in the party loved it as well.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Bev and Bruce ( I got it right )
Thanks for that lovely review - It's always a pleasure to take New Zealander's out into the bush to see their iconic bird.
This was looking like a real tough trip..until....I found Joeline on the track. She went into the bush for a little while, then, the excitemnet grew as her huge footsteps were heard getting closer and closer.
I always get very excited when I hear a bird walking in the bush making alot of noise. The moment before a kiwi appears my excitement rises because I know when a bird is going to be seen by the group. That exact moment is very special and very personal to me ( until now ).
I was not going to come out on this trip as I had been working hard re-arranging our garden for the last week. I'd got ahead of schedule and decided to come out. I am really pleased I did, 700 trips and I still get a huge buzz from seeing kiwi in the wild.
Thanks Bev and Bruce.

CynthiaPeng's avatar

CynthiaPeng

United States

Ranking: 10/10

We took the tour on March 10th 2011. The tour started in the office in town with Paul orienting us with info about the area, the three pairs of kiwis we might see, their territories, etc. Apparently, the territories were being re-negotiated because BZ lost his partner BQ. The situations were shifty. They were all over each other's territory like never before! We then met up with Ian who explained the works and responsibilities expected from each of us. Yes, this outing was very much about team work! We sat or stood silently in dark listening for kiwi approaching. The first sound everyone heard was the loud mosquito buzzing all over. Thank goodness that we were given mosquito-net hat which did not totally prevent but reduced the involuntary blood donation to the annoying guests. So the night went on and we heard owls, fierce possum fight and even kiwis calling from far in total darkness which was very neat but the kiwis never came by. Ian and Paul finally called it off a little before midnight. We heard a very loud and close call right when we were ready to get into the van so off back to the trail we went! To everyone’s amazement, we heard some loud callings and eventually spotted a kiwi which was not tagged and new to the area. We ran into two ladies from the tour the next day in Fox Glacier and we all recounted the surprise ending last night quite excitedly still! I wondered sometimes how BZ is holding up, did he meet up with the new kiwi we spotted, was the new kiwi named yet, etc.??? So do I recommend the tour? You bet! Paul and Ian are some of the most enthusiastic, accessible and fun guides I have ever met! They + kiwi(s) = must! Thank you both again for an unforgettable night!

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cynthia - GREAT REVIEW, Thanks.
I still talk about that moment ! I was just saying that 'You, as a group, really deserve to see a kiwi' because as a group they all worked really hard and showed great patience and trust.
We had a few calls between 9.05 and 9.45, then, we had nothing for the next 2 hours !
I was just loading everybody into the van, when I heard a male and female call. I ran to detect where they came from, Paul organised the group to follow.
At 12.10 we all saw a female on the track. The place we saw this bird is one of the toughest places to view kiwi. The path is very noisy and it is really hard to creep without making too much noise.
After shining my red torch on this bird I was really only expecting a few of the group to say 'yes' we saw her. But, to my relief all I saw were smiles, everybody got to see her ! I was impressed.
To cap of our night, another bird was quite close and at 12.15 we had calls from both birds only a few metres away from the track.
We give 110% EVERY night, we also expect 110% effort every night, without the buy in of the group, the ownership of the group and the effort of the group, you are not going to see Okarito Kiwi in the wild. Come prepared to focus.
You are right Cynthia - it was unforgettable, for me also !

Binita's avatar

Binita

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing experience and worth it for real kiwi fans. We had seen kiwis in the zoo, but wanted to go on this tour to really see and hear kiwis in the wild which was far better. Ian was a great guide and really, really knows what he is doing. We saw White Eyes twice and only for a few seconds, but it was all well worth the wait, bug bites, and cost. 10% of what you pay also goes directly to the DOC to help these amazing birds out. I highly recommend this tour if you are interested in these amazing birds.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Binita/Steven
Great review - you guys got the last 2 spots and...another incredible night. Prior to seeing White Eyes we had calls from Fancy and Joeline at 8.18, a call from Fancy at 8.28, a call from BZ at 8.56, another set of calls from Fancy and Joeline at 9.20, then, White Eyes called from about 7 metres away.
White Eyes then made an appearance, heading towards the breeding burrow of another pair, he then went down the burrow for ( sorry Steven not 10 mins ) 25 minutes later, before re-appearing and feeding right in front of us.
We had a bit of a coughing going on during the trip while White Eyes was really close. The reaction from White Eyes was to run away, he was scared. This really showed the extent of the impact I have on these tours. These birds are not used to me at all and I don't want them to get used to me, I want people on the tour to experience a kiwi in the wild, not a pet or a humanised bird.
Everybody coming on this tour must put in 100% effort and take ownership of their actions. The results directly attribute to the effort put in.
Hope you come back one day to NZ, maybe a little slower next time ?

Sven's avatar

Sven

Austria

Ranking: 10/10

Ian Cooper provides night walks and kiwi spotting in an incredible, excellent way. 8 pax maximum, what do you have to bring? Patience and warm clothing.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Sven Thanks for the review. You had a really really tough trip. One of the very rare occasions a bird was not seen. We were lucky enough to hear an array of calls. Thanks for your extra patience. Patience is more important of tough nights - thanks.

Seonaid's avatar

Seonaid

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

We joined this tour as it is such a rare opportunity to see such a well-known but little seen bird. Although it's literally a 'walk in the park,' it is not an easy thing to see a kiwi and without Ians guidance there is next to no chance of ever witnessing a kiwi in the wild.

As Ian will reiterate before you sign up for the experience, it does take a lot of patience and all tour members have to work as a team and stay as quiet as possible for several hours at a time. At dusk the mossies sounded so loud as we were trying to listen for kiwi's moving but the nets given out by the tour meant that we didn't get bitten. Ians training worked very well for our team even though it was a full tour and a couple of hours of standing still and silent in the dark of the forest paid off when we witnessed a kiwi snuffling for food right in front of us in the path. We had been spread out listening for them and by following his guidance we were alerted to it and moved together without a sound disturbing it. A really special experience! We saw another one a few minutes later too (and I can't remember who we saw)! I think the effort put in in trying to see them make the whole experience more rewarding.

Do remember though that although most tours see one, not all do. As well as seeing the kiwis, just the sound of them calling was special - so loud and distinct. There was no light pollution and the stars were quite dramatic and just the feeling of being in the middle of a forest in the dark (could only just see the person either side of me 20m away), listening to the nights sounds was unique in itself. Actually witnessing the kiwi in in natural habitat is what made it a 10/10 experience though.

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Seonaid - Great comprehensive review. White Eyes was the bird you saw - twice. He made an appearance at 10.15pm then went into the bush for 5 minutes before re-appearing down the track at 10.20.
We'd heard him call an hour before quite deep in the bush. Patience, again was required together with the belief that kiwi can move a huge distance in a short period of time.
Thanks - Ian

Chouchat's avatar

Chouchat

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing experience with lots of passion and dedication from the guides which makes the whole night a lot more enjoyable. Seeing a kiwi in the wild especially this species is something not to be missed!

Reviewed about 8 years ago

geoffbutton's avatar

geoffbutton

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

I have now done this trip 4 times and every time I have had not just a great time, but I have learnt a lot and had fun. Ian and Paul are so passionate about ther birds they see and it come through in their trips. I cannot say enough, they are in it for the long haul, don't miss this trip, it is not for people that have a vague interest in kiwi watching, you need to be dedicated and the rewards will be 10fold.:)

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Geoff Button is a tutor at the Tai Poutini Poly tech in Greymouth. He brings his tourism students to witness tourism in action on many fronts around Okarito and Franz Josef.
His students always give 100% and are always aware that the effort put into the tour, actually relates to the rewards received.
Cheers Geoff

Teknik151's avatar

Teknik151

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Thanks to Ian and Paul we managed to see two of the kiwis in the region. Both guides are knowledgable and passionate while teaching you for what to listen to und look out for - and what background noises to suppress.
But be prepared for some nasty mozzies and the possibility to be scared to death by a curious possum approaching from behind while you're focussing on the other side of the path. If you're lucky you can also enjoy a wonderful starry sky on your way back.

Fully recommended!

Sebastian

Reviewed about 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Sebastian
It was a boys night ! You saw White Eyes ( male ) and Fancy ( male ).
I hope the mozzie hats I gave out saved you from being bitten ?
Sebastian came out as part of a full group of Europeans, 4 from Sweeden, 2 from the UK and 2 from Germany. Everybody worked hard as a team and was rewarded with 2 sightings from 2 different birds
Well done and good work.
Ian

Bjorn1's avatar

Bjorn1

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

My wife Christine (Chrissi) and I were on the tour on January 17th 2011 with 3 employees of the DOC and a nice couple from England. The tour began with a bit of theory and building up our team for the night. Ian was very enthusiastic when talking about these rare birds, so you could feel his love for the Kiwis. Everyone of us was highly motivated!
It took some patience and the little mosquitos were quite annoying, but it was more than worth it. Finally we saw WhiteEyes coming out of the bush and into the shine of the pale red light. Ian said, the bird didn't hardly notice us, so we could take a good look from about 3-4 metres until the little bird got back to the bush.
Furthermore we heard several calls from the inhabitants of "Bungee's Corner" as Ian called this area.

It was sure one of the best experiences we had on our trip on the South Island of New Zealand. You can watch one of the rarest animals on the planet (there are only about 350 of the Okarito Kiwis left) without having the bad feeling, that you disturb the birds in their natural enviroment.
Absolute Recommendation for every New Zealand visitor (and for New Zealanders/Kiwis too, of course ;-)

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

What a lovely positive review - Bjorn and Chrissy was on the same trip as Chris Bell below. Nice to read about differing perspective's. All inspiring comments - thanks.

jms73's avatar

jms73

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

We took my South African in laws on this experience & at first I think they wondered what we got them into! Ian is a passionate man when it comes to his kiwis and his dedication to whipping us into shape so we could share his experiences was amazing. It's hard to describe what it's like to see the kiwi in the wild. We get so caught up in photographing everything but, because you obviously can't photograph the kiwis, this is purely an experience. We watched Joelene saunter across the track and then her mate (I think Fancy) sprint down the track to meet her. We then listened to some fairly intense calling before leaving them to it. Amazing experience. Highly recommend it. But don't be late! (sorry Ian). Janet & Riaan

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Nice Review - Thanks. I did wonder if this was the right trip for your folks, as this trip is not for everybody, you need patience, good attitudes, the ability to grab your opportunity and more patience. Everybody proved up to the task and was rewarded again with the most unique experience in the South Island, Oh....and you are right....I don't do late ! :o)

martin_kohls's avatar

martin_kohls

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Great Experience!
With a small group of only 3 participants, Ian and Paul gave us an unforgettable experience. Really passionate about these odd mammal-birds, they gave us a lot of information about kiwi behavior and their habitat. In the bush, we were teached to listen to their characteristic sounds - and to be patient. When we saw the first kiwi, it was a really great feeling! Until the end of the tour, we could see three different kiwis. However, we are kiwi fans now.

Thanks to Ian and Paul!
Regards from Nadja and Martin

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Martin/Nadja - Another mind blowing trip. White Eyes so close, then Fancy and Joeline as a bonus. You were blissfully unaware what a tough night we had, because our telemetry devise was giving us false readings all night. We went back to our old skills and was nice to realise that we still have them ! Ian

ThomasHarley's avatar

ThomasHarley

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Had a great night. Really unique experience, have never had a tour quite like it. Got to see a kiwi and heard a lot of them all night long! Ian and Paul were very passionate about their work and were very professional to make sure we had the best chance of seeing the kiwi in the wild without disturbing them.
Highly reccommend the tour for everyone.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

For a New Zealander to see a kiwi in the wild for the first time is always a great, humbling feeling. I am glad you shared this experience with Jessica.

MikeG's avatar

MikeG

United States

Ranking: 10/10

A++++
If you want to see a kiwi in the wild, and a super rare one too, this is the tour for you.
Ian (and Paul), take you into the wild and show you birds the way it should be. With utmost respect for the birds, super knowledge, and passion.

Highly recommended if you want to see kiwis in the wild and have patience to do it!
Mike G.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Mike for coming all the way from Nelson just to do this trip - I am glad you were rewarded with a fantastic evening. Ian

mnm's avatar

mnm

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

A highlight of a fantastic holiday. As a NZer I knew how elusive kiwis are so was blown away by actually seeing 3 in the wild, going about their usual evening routines as though it was perfectly natural for them to be there. (Yet they are the rarest kiwis in NZ).
This was only made possible by the knowledgeable,personable guidance of Ian Cooper. Somehow he managed to teach our group of 7 how to move silently together to the exact right spots to see the birds. It was the combination of being taken to the right place, shown where to look, and being shown how to sneak along quietly that allowed something so exceptional to work.
The location was of course stunningly beautiful (like all of Westland) in the rainforest with a fantastic starry sky at the end.
Another great part was learning more about the kiwi (facts I didn't already know!) and about the conservation programme from Ian as we walked along. His friendly and interactive style kept the whole tour fun and interesting - not just the jaw dropping moments when we actually saw them trundling across the track or having a nice long stretch after waking up from their day's sleep.
As a NZer I found Ian's genuine, passionate dedication to the kiwi and its conservation very inspiring, especially considering he didn't even grow up here. It's great to know people like him are looking out for our national bird!
One of the great things about the tour is that a proportion of the cost goes directly to the kiwi recovery programme, which from what I learned that night is doing a great job (with the help of people like Ian) of getting the bird numbers up.
Overall this was a truly incredible, memorable experience, and a really genuine "non-touristy" NZ experience that my daughter and I feel very lucky to have had, easily one of the best parts of an all round amazing trip around the Sth island.
Monika, Wellington

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Monika and Maya - blimey, another spectacular night. It seemed to good to be true. 3 Birds seen before the sun lost its glow ! Amazing. Lots of calls, duets and activity. I wish every night was as easy !

Anja_Chris's avatar

Anja_Chris

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

One of the most beautiful experiences we had during our vacation in NZ. Who considers to do a kiwi-tour should do it definitively with Ian Cooper!

It was the 22nd December 2010, a cloudy and rainy morning when we booked our tour at Ian. He explained that it does not make sense to go in the forest if it rains because the chance to see a kiwi will be impossible.

An hour before our tour started we had to check the wheather again. At this time we were the only remaining participants of eight who were not dissuade from doing the kiwi tour with Ian in spite of the bad wheather. What followed was an unforgettable evening.
On the way into the forest Ian explained a lot about the birds and their behaviour. How do their calls listen? How do they communicate under each other? What must we pay attention to in order to recognize the steps of the kiwis? How must we behave to get the kiwis to face. Basis for the whole explanations is that everyone participates in the search of the kiwis. Equipped with radio equipment Ian divides the group in order to pursue the steps and sounds of the kiwis at several places simultaneously. As soon as a kiwi is very close all other participants get informed. At the beginning, BZ was directly near the way. Ian was confident, that it could become a promising evening. And so it happend! Unfortunately we could not get a glance of BZ but we were very lucky to be able to oberserve the shy kiwi couple (unfortunately we forgot the names) on food search. After a few fascinating minutes we left the kiwis on their own and made us on the way back! We will never forget this awesome experience and do thank Ian for this wonderful evening! One time we will come back... :-)

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hi Anja and Chris
6 people decided to not show up, because of the Weather forecast. You were rewarded with a stunning night. Husky and White Eyes made a very rare appearance and you deserved your experience.
Thanks for your efforts. Ian

chrisbell's avatar

chrisbell

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

There were two levels of interest going on the night we joined the Okarito Kiwi tour; the first was experiencing kiwi in the wild, and man did we do that. Not only did 'Whiteeyes' come out to feed in front of us before returning to the bush non the wiser, but to see him under a fat full moon and the Southern Cross, standing beneath the big Rimu trees in the middle of the swamplands with a serenade of Moreporks and distant kiwi calling...amazing.

The second was seeing Ian in action, he's the genuine article, utterly focused on finding his clients kiwi while being completely respectful of the bird, and asking a level of involvement from all that makes it your experience. Even while working for a safari company in Africa I've met very few guides to equal his combination of knowledge and skill.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Chris for your great kind comments. Thanks for making the rewarding effort of driving nearly 2 hours each way for my tour !!! I am really pleased with your efforts.

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nzhoneymoon2010's avatar

nzhoneymoon2010

Belgium

Ranking: 10/10

In December, we spent our honeymoon in New Zealand. This turned out to be a really great trip, we totally fell in love with the country: Visiting both islands, we spent most of our time in the south. Though the weather was rather bad, we experienced some spectacular views and lots of truly great activities while touring the island.
While in Franz Josef we looked for more things to do and see. That's how we came across the kiwi tour Ian's organizing. Neither of us has any particular experience of birds, we still wanted to see a real kiwi in the wild. Little did we realize that - as Ian pointed out - even the New Zealanders themselves rarely see kiwis.
Showing up in the early evening it all started with a briefing session at Ian's place where he meticulously went through background, expectations as well as a basic idea on how he would go about the task. In addition to being a really nice and humourous person Ian turned out to be very knowledgable, and on a first name basis with the kiwis.
The group members were given individual tasks assisting Ian in tracking the birds, and as the sun disappeared it turned into a really exciting endeavour. After less than an hour, we started hearing loud crashing sounds from the bush. The first kiwi crossed the path in front of us less than 3 meters away. This was followed by another one crossing behind us. Then silence for a while, until one of the female birds started "talking" with the immediate result of her mate answering and running down the track to join her.
If you have any interest in wildlife or just want an adventure, this tour is something you shouldn't miss. The guide is the best you could wish for, and shows the utmost respect towards these rare birds going that extra mile to assure not disturbing them in their habitat. If we returned to NZ we surely would want to do this again! We are still talking about BZ and how he is doing without BQ.
Thanks for a great evening!
Elane and Johan (from Malta and Sweden)

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Wow - what a review ! Sure was a special night out in the bush. White Eyes responded to the call from Husky and appeared in front of us all. The impressive thing was that the bird had no idea we were there !
Thanks for being part of a superb, quiet, respectful group.
Ian

Vanellus01's avatar

Vanellus01

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

In November 2010 my new wife and I travelled the length of NZ as an unforgetable honeymoon. Our night out with Ian Cooper and his Okarito Brown Kiwis stands out as a certain highlight of the entire tour of an amazing country. Ian's enthusiasm and the style of the tour are totally unique, definitely unmissable and will live in the memory forever. No trip to New Zealand should be undertaken without sampling the Ian Cooper Kiwi Experience!
Ian and Victoria Merrill, Whitwick, UK

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Ian - great review. I am glad you had a great trip to NZ - thanks for taking the time to post your comments - really apprechiated.

Zorni's avatar

Zorni

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

We had one of the most amazing experiences in our 25 day trip through New Zealand! Ian Cooper made happen what seemed almost impossible. We had the great luck to see a Kiwi less then a metre in front of us, totally unknowing we were their at all. It was really a touching moment we will never forget! Ian is impressively well organized and really forms a team out of a few strangers in those hours. I highly recommend that trip to every one interested in Kiwis and wildlife in general!
Ian, it was a great honor to have been your "Co-Guide" on that 30th November! I hope BZ will find a new partner soon!
Stefan, Bavaria, Germany

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Stefan for the great review. BZ seems to be a bit more vocal these last couple of nights. You were a great co-guide.

Wendy's avatar

Wendy

United States

Ranking: 10/10

On the night of 25th November, my dream came true! I had always wanted to see a wild kiwi during my six week birding visit to New Zealand and Ian's expertise made that possible. It was a wonderful evening which was so well planned, as well as being interesting. It was fantastic to see BZ and I do hope that he locates a mate soon. Many thanks, Ian, for showing so much enthusiasm and giving the group such fascinating information. Wendy, USA

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Wendy for your review - I hope your World Wide Travels are going great ? We have plans to catch a female in Feb and try and integrate into BZ's territory.

gbanddennymac's avatar

gbanddennymac

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Had a fantastic night with Ian . BZ came out on to the track and ran though the middle of our group . Heard a male and female calling to each other from twenty feet away in the bush. Ians is a enthusiastic and knowledgable guide with a genuine love for these birds. Highly recommended. Gerry and Denise Christchurch. NZ.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the great review - always pleasing to hear positive reviews from New Zealanders. Thanks for your help co-guiding Gerry.

Birderdave's avatar

Birderdave

United States

Ranking: 10/10

As birders, my wife Carol and I had always wanted to visit New Zealand and see a truly wild kiwi. Ian of Okarito Kiwi Tours was an extremely knowledgeable, interesting, and humorous guide and the perfect person to take us under wing. What a night! A kiwi loudly called and then walked right in front of us along our path giving all a spectacular view of this most curiously looking bird. But without Ian's experience and thorough understanding of New Zealand's creatures, we would never have seen the bird. Okarito Kiwi Tours is recommended at the highest level ... 10+.
Dave & Carol Roelen, Torrance, California

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Dave for the great, honest review. I am glad you had a rewarding experience.

Barbara's avatar

Barbara

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

absolutely unique experience! Best whishes to Ian and his Kiwis, especially BZ to find a new partner. Thanks a lot for giving us the opportunity to see the Kiwi in his natural habitat, it was one of the highlights of 4 weeks New Zealand!!

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Barbara - Well done on your patience. A nice early night - we saw BZ at about 9.30 !

dantunder's avatar

dantunder

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing experience! Ian's passion and knowledge for the Kiwi program and the birds was amazing and shone through! We were lucky enough to see both BQ and BZ, after passionately waiting for a while, BZ almost walked out onto my foot from the bushes and wandered down the path for a good minute, amazing! A must if your on the west coast!!!

Reviewed over 8 years ago

BrentCain's avatar

BrentCain

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

The Kiwi Tour was the highlight of our recent trip to Franz Josef.The entire experience was little short of incredible & it was breathtaking to be standing little more than a meter from a Kiwi in the wild.It was easy to feel Ian's passion & commitment to the conservation of the Kiwi which just added to the experience & made each one of us feel privileged to have been part of such a special event.Simply magical.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Brent/Karen
Really really sad news ! That was the last time I saw BQ alive.
I went out last week and her signal was reading mortality. I went into the bush the next morning and found her.
Her bill was damaged sometime after that trip. The end got snapped, and she was not able to feed herself - she died of starvation 25/10/10.
I am devastated

mozell's avatar

mozell

United States

Ranking: 10/10

This was an awesome experience. My wife is an avid birder and I found this tour on line and was not disappointed! Ian is amazing in both his knowledge and ability to find the kiwis. We actually watched one walk down the track towards us for 5-10 minutes and stop about 15 feet from us. We could almost touch her! Overall one of the highlights of our trip (which, in NZ, is saying something)

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in July 2010

PaulJames's avatar

PaulJames

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was a fantastic experience with exceptional views had of two pairs of Okarito kiwis, one feeding just a few feet away on the path. As a bird guide myself I could not help but be impressed with Ian's professionalism and also his enthusiasm for his local kiwis. If you have not already experienced this tour, it is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in NZ birds especially as you are almost guaranteed to see a kiwi. My 15 year old son rated it his second best experience in NZ beaten only by seeing the All Blacks beat Australia in Christchurch!

Reviewed over 8 years ago

SergeiNZ's avatar

SergeiNZ

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Ian, thanks a lot!
Very well prepared, smoothly delivered, -- well done!
Will repeat this experience when come with a new class; definitely recommended.
Thank you!
Sergei

Reviewed almost 9 years ago

jakepconcordiaUSA's avatar

jakepconcordiaUSA

United States

Ranking: 10/10

I have been on this trip twice, and both times have had my expectations exceeded. Informative, professional, and very exciting-whether or not you see a Kiwi. Ian is extremely well prepared and is able to understand these unique animals on a very personal level (probably one of the reasons why the success rate for seeing a Kiwi is so high). Visiting New Zealand without visiting Okarito would be a tragic mistake, and visiting Okarito without taking a Kiwi Tour would be a lifelong regret. Bottom line- don't miss out on one of the best parts of New Zealand- go see a Kiwi with Ian in Okarito.

Reviewed almost 9 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Jake, for the great review. Hope you had another great time while in Aotearoa.

Always nice to get positive feedback - cheers co-guide ! For your info - they look like they are preparing to sit on an egg.
Fancy - the other male in the area, was sitting on an egg - which has now been recovered.
Ian

France_s's avatar

France_s

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Many Kiwis don't ever get the chance to see the birds they are named for, let alone living naturally and undisturbed by humans in the forest. The fact that Ian helped us to do this, sharing his knowledge and love for the Rowi so well made this the highlight of our trip.
His ethos of not impacting on the Kiwi's nightly routines at all, just observing carefully, is hugely appreciated.
We were so motivated and curious to test our own kiwi finding skills that we made a small detour in our roadtrip - with an element of success too!

Reviewed almost 9 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Francis - Another great night in the bush - well done for putting in the effort on a cold night

Cbarrass's avatar

Cbarrass

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

My thanks to Paul who took my wife and Daughter along with myself into the bush to view the Kiwi, with great success.

What an experience of nature rare breed protected by dedicated and expert team, with great results over years of protecting this weird and wonderful bird.

We visited in April and on the day at Franz josef rang the tour on the off chance we could fit in that night, and we did

There were plenty of Mozzies targeting us and the odd possem but to see the Large Kiwi and hear their screams
was superb, long may this continue and if you get chance do it, be patiant and quiet and you wil be rewarded.

Reviewed almost 9 years ago and experienced in April 2010

nicovm26's avatar

nicovm26

Belgium

Ranking: 10/10

The best wildlife experience in my life! The guides are very passionate about the birds and they sure know how to transfer it to you!
Even on a rainy night they find the birds an you see them without them knowing you are there. They are professional and really care about the birds.
It pays of to be patient even if you get wet.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Rainy nights are certainly a challenge - Great to achieve the impossible....again.

Marcia & Bruce's avatar

Marcia & Bruce

United States

Ranking: 10/10

We saw a kiwi! Excellent guide - Ian. Great walk & fascinating information, money helps support recovery program.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Stephanie K's avatar

Stephanie K

Switzerland

Ranking: 8/10

good guide, small group, exclusive, long waiting to see a kiwi.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in January 2010

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

One of the best trips of the season !
A pair of kiwi, oblivious to us snuffling away to each other on the track for over 5 minutes. Really great to see the interaction.
Well worth the 40 minute wait !

DavidLapointe's avatar

DavidLapointe

Canada

Ranking: 10/10

The Okarito kiwi tours was definitely my best wildlife experience ever! Ian shared with us his great passion of these so unique birds. It was more than a classic guided tour, we worked it out as part of a team. As Ian said: it's a team work...and so it was...in a truly respectful way of kiwis inhabitat. Generous of his time and knowledge, we've learned with Ian that above the people, we all have the responsibility of preserving our precious but so fragile earth and his wildlife. This tour is more than seeing kiwis, it's experiencing wildlife. Keep it that way Ian!

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

David - I really enjoyed your company and great attitude - many thanks for the maple syrup. Thanks for being a great co-guide. Ian

Jim Scarff's avatar

Jim Scarff

United States

Ranking: 10/10

As one who has led many wildlife tours, I was impressed by Ian’s and Paul’s ability to find kiwis, and to communicate what is so special about the Okarito kiwi. Minimal-impact close observation of wildlife, particularly when the life histories of individual animals is known, is a catalyst in changing generic concern for endangered species into a personal commitment to work for their preservation. I also saw Kiwis in captivity at several wildlife parks and on Steward Island. All were good, but Okarito Kiwi tours was the highlight of my four weeks in NZ.
My guide, Paul, knows many natural history subjects well, is highly skilled at field work, and is very enthusiastic. The night’s highlights:
9.55 Joline stomped out of the brush onto the track < 5 meters away, probing with her bill, paying no mind to us. She wandered slowly in our direction nearly stepping on my boots, walked a couple of meters, paused, as if remembering some meeting, and trotted off down the track, unaffected by our presence.
10.17 BZ came out his burrow; Paul shined a flashlight w/ a red filter on BZ just as he let out an amazingly loud call, his whole body shaking with the effort. (very rare sighting)
10.17 BQ called, then a few seconds later BQ answered (out of view) - equally loud, but different. BQ came out onto the track near us, and trundled off down the road in the most ungainly, uncoordinated, lop-sided canter I have ever seen.]
10.25 BQ came out less than 5 meters away from where we were standing, and paying no attention to us, trotted off down the track in the same direction BZ had gone.
10.45 Joline called (not seen) Later we came upon yet another, unidentified kiwi feeding at the edge of the track about two meters away from a brush-tailed possum which was also feeding. Although they were physically close to each other, and no doubt aware of each other's presence, we saw no interaction. Morepork (owl) were calling around us.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in January 2010

Linley Faulkner's avatar

Linley Faulkner

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

If you want to see a kiwi in the wild not just any old kiwi but the Okariko Kiwi then look no further than a tour with Ian. An unforgettable experience not just to see a little more about them and the environment that they inhabit. Oh yeah and a lot of patience goes a long way to achieving your goals, right Ian.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Mike & Kirsty Wilmott's avatar

Mike & Kirsty Wilmott

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

We came over from the UK for a month to see some of the geographical features and wildlife that NZ is famous for and were recommended this trip by a group of birdwatchers we met on an Elm Wildlife Tour of the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin.

My wife is not a keen birdwatcher, but this trip was one of our highlights. Ian clearly has the welfare of the Kiwi at the heart of this operation and gives a good briefing before setting out. This is not a 'twitch' but a patient search, aided by Ian's equipment that can detect where the birds are by transmitters attached to them (not done to help birdwatchers but to build up more knowledge of the movements and habits of this endangered bird - and it is currently working, with numbers increasing - ask Ian). We were able to see three birds, appreciating their size, gait and appearance. We were also able to hear them crashing through the bush close to our position on the trackway, smell them and hear their calls - as well as listen in to a noisy territorial scrap between two of them.

The walk back to the cars with the NZ night sky overhead was fantastic, and as a bonus we got to hear several Morepork and see one.

Both my wife and myself loved this trip, and Ian's approach is one that should be at the heart of nature tours - not a tick list but a genuine trip of discovery. You will need patience, teamwork and have to put up with buzzy mossies (Ian provides the protective clothing to prevent you being bitten), but the rewards are immense. Don't miss out on this trip if you have any interest in Kiwis at all - my wife reated it higher than whale watching at Kaikoura.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Keith Martin's avatar

Keith Martin

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

One of the most fun evenings I have had in the bush. Seeing the kiwis is of course a highlight, indeed the main motivation to go, but I found Ian's group dynamic management and his whole approach to taking a bunch of strangers into the Okarito night quite unique and really worth experiencing. I have bird watched in many places with different people, but I haven't experienced anything quite like this before.

It is MUCH MORE than a kiwi hunt. Go along and find out why!

Reviewed about 9 years ago

soldenborg's avatar

soldenborg

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

One of the highlights of our holiday in New-Zealand was the Kiwi tour with Ian. We were hoping to see a kiwi, but our expectations were exceeded. We saw BZ and BQ interacting on the path and calling out for eachother. This was amazing to witness. Ian makes the whole tour a thrilling experience. You have to interact as a group and help localize the kiwi which adds to the excitement. The scenery (although in dark) is very beautifull.
Ian, thanks for this great experience.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

snodge's avatar

snodge

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

I'm a bit tardy in posting my review. We went out with Okarito Kiwi tours in a party that included my elderly mobility impaired mother. Ian organised a specially tailored trip to enable mum to participate. We did see the kiwi and it was wonderful.
You do need to be prepared to be patient and be prepared for your sightings to be fairly brief,
My other recommendation is to wear very quiet clothing or take up the offer of the polar fleece jumpers when they are offered at the beginning of the tour. It will make your waiting more comfortable.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in November 2009

susanne brighouse's avatar

susanne brighouse

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

I never really expected to see a live kiwi but was happy to have the fun of looking and a night walk through the bush with a kiwi guide as expert as Ian. He coached us well before hand and I found the whole trip to be superbly organised with wondeful mosquito proof hats and we did see two kiwis, one really close and heard 2 others. I now belong to the very elite group who have seen this rare bird in the wild.

Some on our group were not so ecstatic and I think their expectations were far too high. You will see the bird in its wild habitat behaving naturally which is often very rapidly. You will not see it as you do in the zoo like conditions at Rotorua and other places where the birds are kept in captivity.
I loved the way Ian was in love with the birds and how he knew all their sounds and behaviours and shared his knowledge wonderfully. I reckon if their was a tidal wave he would be out their saving the birds and leaving us to fend for ourselves. Not that he didn't care about us, he just knows these birds are very special. He takes great care not to disturb them at the same time allowing us to see them if at all possible. A truly worthwhile trip and a very professional operator. Even if we had not seen a kiwi it would have been a great night watching the half moon set and seeing the beuatiful stars in the unpolluted night sky and seeing the little freshwater crayfish in the side creek. Thank you Ian. I recommend this to any one with a serious interest in wild life in their natural state.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

wueppke's avatar

wueppke

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

This was one of my absolutely highlights on my 4 weeks NZ trip and definitely one of the most extraordinary things I have ever done!

I never really expected to see one of this birds. When I heard the first call I was satisfied and all the time waiting and hearing in the bush (which was exciting!) was worth this.

To see the bird(s) running across the track was more I’ve ever expected.

Here our night fazit:
9.50 - 10.20 Fancy in the bush heard
9.56 Fancy Call
9.56 Joeline Call
9.57 BZ and BQ call
10.10 Joeline on track
10.26 Fancy Call
10.26 Joeline call 10 metres away
10.49 BZ seen a few times
10.50 White Eyes Call
10.51 BZ Crossed track again
10.52 Husky Seen
10.52 White Eyes Seen
10.54 BZ Seen again
11.02 BZ Call

Can you believe our luck?!

THANKS IAN!

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Korky's avatar

Korky

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was the highlight of my 4 week trip to NZ. It had been recommended to me by a family member who’d done it before and it didn’t disappoint. We were lucky enough to hear 4 different birds and see 5. Ian is an expert guide and we got detailed instruction about what we were hearing, seeing, and what to do and when. There is quite an emphasis on the whole ‘team approach’ - novel when you’ve only just met the other 7 members, and will never see them again! – so you have to accept this and play your part so as to maximise your chance of hearing/seeing kiwis and hence not spoil the trip for everyone. I chose not to take my husband as he can’t keep still/quiet for 2 minutes never mind 2 hours. Really good value for money and I learned a lot (and eventually bought the Neville Peat book and learned even more).
Thanks so much Ian. A truly memorable experience. Highly recommended, although of course it wouldn't have been so good if I’d heard/seen nothingbut that's a rare occurrence as others have noted.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

Jytte's avatar

Jytte

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

Kiwi was high on my wishlist for our family holiday. 3 teenagers, hubby and I booked with Ian. He gave us a thorough introduction to the evening. We heard the recorded call of both the female and male Kiwi. Torches, vests and hats with netting were offered for comfort and protectection. Ian made it clear that he is first and foremost a Wildlife protector, the wildlife takes precedens at all times. We are the visitors, and are to follow the terms of the rare and beautiful Rowi Kiwis. Interference, flashes from cameras, sounds and noises are not part of this tour. It requires different skill sets, and can be quite demanding - but it is SO worth it! Quietness, concentration, patience, obedience, and attendance to detail. How you walk, talk move, has an impact on the groups experience. Ians passion and sound explanations, convinced everyone that it was worth the mozzie bites and long wait. He prepared us for what might happen, was always one step ahead. Ian helped us gain a true undestanding and apprectiation of these rare birds. We were determined not just to hear Kiwis, but also see them. And boy did we get value for our money! Heard, and saw, not one - but FOUR Rowi Kiwis. Two of them up close. They trusted us and allowed us to experience a rare glimpse into their secret nighttime world. It was such special moments of breathless excitement. We did exactly as Ian had shown us, took up our places quickly and quietly, watched as the bird approached. Even the teenagers did really well. It was perfect team work! What an Experience! Ian Cooper really made it worth staying up until after midnight. We are happy to recommend Okarito Kiwi Tours for people keen to experience the REAL thing. PS. in the brochure, Ian claims 85% success rate. BUT, on the last 199 tours, Kiwis have been spotted EVERY time except for 2 times when it was raining heavily. Great record! And a testiment to Ians knowledge and skills. Thank you for a great and most memorable night of Kiwi spotting.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

AndyL's avatar

AndyL

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Before going to New Zealand I had noticed good reviews for this tour on the internet and wasn't disappointed on the night. We were lucky enough to see a Kiwi in day light as it came out of its burrow (Ian knew it was there as the birds are all tagged with radio transmitters to help track them). Although we didn't see it for long we got a good view before it disappeared into the dense undergrowth and it was great to see one in the wild. Later on we heard other Kiwis calling which was an amazing sound and we nearly saw a few others - but they didn't quite come onto the track. Although you need quite a bit of patience it was a unique experience that I would definitely recommend and wish I could do again.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

JamesWatson_1's avatar

JamesWatson_1

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

This was an excellent wildlife experiences. the two guides were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and, importantly, really cared about the conservation issues surrounding these birds and at the same time, tried their best to make sure their guests had a great chance of observing the animals. I would recommend this to all those interested in seeing wild kiwis and learning about conservation issues surrounding this incredibly endangered species.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

TonyS's avatar

TonyS

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

What a great experience! My wife and I were lucky enough to be the only 2 on our visit to Okarito Kiwi Tours. Ian is extremely professional and obviously has the interests of the Kiwis as his priority. He gave us careful instructions on how to proceed in the forest and what he would be doing. We were able to see 4 Kiwis, including 1 calling. Ian was an excellent and informative guide and gave us tips on seeing other Kiwis. I would certainly recommend a night out with Ian.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in November 2009

Peter Williams's avatar

Peter Williams

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

What a great evening. My two Australian guests and myself rated this as the highlight of our trip.

Ian was a truly top-notch guide - knowledgeable, personable, able to get the most out of our group of seven who shared the experience. But most of all he clearly had the well-being and preservation of the birds as his top priority. The chance to see a pair of Okarito brown kiwis at such close range (just a couple of metres away for a while) and to hear at least three pairs of kiwis calling to each other, was an experience none of us will ever forget.

The pair we saw got very "close up and personal" with each other - yes they were nuzzling each other and mating!!

Overall an unforgettable experience which I would strongly recommend to anyone provided they have a modicum of patience. If you are visiting South Westland, make sure you take this tour!!!!

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Award-1-24px Congratulations Okarito Kiwi Tours

Top Ranked Awards 2015 Bird Watching Winner

Nancy's avatar

Nancy

Canada

Ranking: 10/10

Ian and Paul were extremely professional in the operation of their Kiwi tours. The experience we had could not have been better. I run a hiking and nature tour company that operates in Canada and Cost Rica and know what it takes to put on a tour that will keep the customers happy. I would reccomend this company for wildlife veiwing while in the Franz Josef area of the southern island. They both are knowledgable about the Kiwi and are a passionate protector of the species. It definitly was an evening that I will remember. It was just one of those WOW moments.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Tim Hawley's avatar

Tim Hawley

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

A totally unforgettable experience- thanks Ian and Paul for a wonderful evening in the forest and amazing kiwi encounter. We were lucky enough to be there on a night when there was special activity going on as Ian and Paul where attempting to retrieve a 4-day-old chick from the bush and take it to a safe haven. This was eventually achieved and although we didn't see the actual 'rescue' take place we felt like we were a part of it in some small way.
It's so common these days for tour operators to use words like 'eco-friendly' and 'low-impact' with little regard for what they really mean but these guys are the real deal- genuinely passionate about what they're doing and 100% committed to their project. Customer care and satisfaction is obviously vital BUT the feeling is definitely that the birds and the environment come first and that we humans are privileged to be there- this is absolutely as it should be and the emphasis and balance of the tours is pretty much perfect. Totally recommended without hesitation!

Reviewed over 9 years ago

memphis_T's avatar

memphis_T

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

This tour was the most amazing experience of our last holiday trip. It started with a glimpse of a kiwi leaving its nest after getting up at sunset. Afterwards it was more difficult to find a kiwi, the weather was turning cold and wet but Ian never gave up. He motivated us to listen to all noises of the night and to see in the dark. Finally we saw a female kiwi coming out of the bush and we saw (and heard) her calling and after a little while the male appeared. Unique and fantastic. We have to return to Okarito sometimes and do this tour again.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Pedro Menendez's avatar

Pedro Menendez

Spain

Ranking: 10/10

It's a very amazing and unforgettable experience and a must in your visit to South Island. Ian and Paul's are autentic professionals and they have a enormous knowledge about kiwi and their behaviour. Me and my wife could see one Kiwi twice and heard several more. A GREAT EXPERIENCE!!!

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in October 2009

ajsivers's avatar

ajsivers

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This is a must do for anyone who wants to see Kiwi in their natural habitat. You should be prepared to be quiet and patient and follow Ian's instructions to stand any chance of seeing this wonderful bird and when you do--WOW ! We were that close we even heard it poo. Brilliant !

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Gerry Richards's avatar

Gerry Richards

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

The highlight of our recent visit to New Zealand was seeing a wild Kiwi with Ian who runs Okarito Kiwi Tours. Ian is passionate about Kiwis and not only will you stand a great chance of seeing one of these enigmatic creatures but you will learn about Kiwi biology as well as the steps being taken to ensure the survival of these endangered birds. Highly recommended.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Duncan Watson's avatar

Duncan Watson

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

The Okarito Brown Kiwi is a rare bird, and seeing a Kiwi of any time in its natural habitat (ie not in a Kiwi house at the zoo) is very difficult. Ian's tour is to see the Kiwi in its natural habitat. You need to be patient, and you need to be quiet, but it is very rewarding to see the kiwi walk quietly by. Ian does everything possible to ensure that the Kiwis are not disturbed - so that future visitors will always be rewarded. This tour probably isn't something for the kids (they'll never stand still and quiet for an hour) - it is for true nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. And probably the only way you'll ever see an Okarito brown kiwi in the wild.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Jonathan Manson's avatar

Jonathan Manson

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was an unforgettable and completely amazing experience! My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to see four kiwis in the forest, some only a few feet away, and heard others calling in the darkness. Ian led a small team of four enthusiasts that night, and we were all spellbound to be in such close proximity to these fascinating and critically endangered birds. He organizes the tours meticulously, and in such a way that the birds are never disturbed; his knowledge and passion shine through at every stage. Do bring insect repellent, don't wear anything that rustles - and above all, be prepared to be patient and very quiet!

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Rachel Smith's avatar

Rachel Smith

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was a fantastic experience! We saw a kiwi up close in the wild thanks to Ian and Paul's really professional and careful approach to the tour. We had to stand still and in total silence for about an hour so don't do this tour if you're impatient but it was totally worth the wait for us!

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Beth Lenoble's avatar

Beth Lenoble

United States

Ranking: 10/10

My husband and I joined Ian on a kiwi tour hoping we would be lucky enough to see at least one of these furtive birds. Ian used his knowledge of the birds, ingenuity and patience to locate the kiwis. We were very fortunate to see five kiwis that evening and hear one of the pairs calling to each other. Ian is extremely sensitive to the kiwi and tries to be as unobtrusive as possible to allow for the kiwi’s natural behavior and keep them from becoming acclimated to people. He is very dedicated to the survival of these birds and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm. His tour was one of the superlatives in a four week vacation.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Kathleen Kealey's avatar

Kathleen Kealey

United States

Ranking: 10/10

My husband and I were lucky enough to go on this tour with Ian and we rank it as one of the top highlights of our 4 weeks in NZ. It was just an extraordinary experience to have a chance to see Kiwi in their natural habitat. We had the amazing good fortune to see 4 different Kiwi and we heard two others thrashing about in the underbrush. And, just as our evening was ending, we heard the male & female of one mating pair calling to each other. Amazing! Even if we'd only seen one Kiwi -- and the odds are excellent that you will -- we would have counted the evening a success. We learned a lot about Kiwi from Ian and are totally impressed with his commitment to these birds and NZ wildlife. The Okarito Kiwi Tour is not to be missed.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Kristen Smith's avatar

Kristen Smith

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

I found this tour surfing this website...sooo glad I found it! One of the highlights of our Sth Island holiday, I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see a Kiwi. Way outshines seeing one in a nocturnal house in a bird park. Ian's enthusiasm is infectious and he had the five of us on the tour working as a team. Even though the weather wasn't great I can safely say a great time was had by all. My partner Jim and I will never forget Jim the Kiwi at the end of the tour, back near the car park of all places! Thanks Ian.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

siui's avatar

siui

Netherlands

Ranking: 9/10

Me and my friend went with Ian on a kiwi tour and it was absolutely brilliant! After having waited for a bit our patience was rewarded by seeing a pair of kiwi's very up close and personal. They were sitting at about 3 metres away from us on the open pathway in good view and they stayed there for about 10 minutes, just looking at us and chatting to each other in kiwi language. It was so very cool! "Sweet as!"

Reviewed over 9 years ago

ash cotter's avatar

ash cotter

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Had a fantastic trip with Ian. It was just the three of us out there and it was great to finally see a Kiwi out there in the wild for the first time. My wife actually had a tear in her eye when "White-eyes" popped out of the bush to check us out. It was great to be out in the bush on such a wonderfull starry night. To get to see a kiwi and hear them calling to each other is an experience which will be with us forever. Many thanks to Ian for putting us in the right spot at the right time.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Erik  Forsyth's avatar

Erik Forsyth

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Ian Cooper runs a professional, low impact and exciting Kiwi-viewing operation which allows people the oppurtunity to see the national bird of New Zealand behaving in it's nocturnal enviroment. I rank my sighting of the Okarito Brown kiwi with Ian among my top birding expieriences.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Jeff's avatar

Jeff

United States

Ranking: 10/10

This was one of the highlights of my vacation in New Zealand by far, and the one that I never failed to mention first, not only to the folks back home, but also to my new New Zealand relatives (by marriage) up in Auckland. None of them have seen a kiwi in the wild, and all seemed impressed. Fortunately, on my trip with Ian and Paul, I saw two kiwis, heard the male and female kiwis call to each other across the forest (a really thrilling experience too), heard and saw moreporks, and had a great view of the Southern Cross. It was definitely worth the effort and the great patience required (a good lesson for doing anything worthwhile), and simply being in such a wonderful place (mosquitoes and all--use your repellent) was such a great experience. Ian and Paul could not have been better or more knowledgeable guides, and I had the good fortune to be the only one they took out that evening because the weather had scared others away. Ian and Paul, I really appreciate you taking me out that night! Other outfitters might have simply cancelled the trip. Thanks for the great experience. (Also, Okarito is a great place to visit.) If I ever get back to the South Island, I will definitely go for another tour or two.

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in December 2008

Robert Hutchinson's avatar

Robert Hutchinson

Malaysia

Ranking: 10/10

Brilliant experience! this tour was absolutely one of the highlights of my New Zealand trip. Ian and Pauls knowledge of the birds and their habits is incredible and their friendliness and infectious enthusiasm makes this one of the most exciting birding trips I have done. This is THE way to enjoy these amazing birds in the wild, I loved it so much I came back for seconds!
I consider this a must for anyone visiting NZ, birders and non-birders alike.

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in November 2008

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Rob for the great Review, thanks for your great attitude. Ian

Linda319's avatar

Linda319

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

My sister and I joined Paul and Ian at the start of this year and had a great time. It took quite a while to spot a kiwi, but when we saw one, it was amazing! Great experience, I can recommend it to anyone who wants to see a kiwi outside a zoo!

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in January 2009

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Linda - well done on your patience, patience and patience. I am glad you had a great attitude and pleased you had such a great night. Ian

harryjarv's avatar

harryjarv

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Honestly the best thing weve done whilst in New Zealand! We loved it so much we came back again and saw another kiwi! Ian and Paul are great, they make it a real exciting experiance, we will never forget the time a kiwi ran into Pauls leg! Thanks for 2 great nights, we hope to be back one day! Harriet and Louisa

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in March 2009

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Hope your Mum enjoyed it as much as you did. Paul will never forget that night either !

Nicola Illsley's avatar

Nicola Illsley

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

This was unforgettable. It felt very special. Ian and Paul are incredibly knowledgeable and facilitate a fantastic and unique experience. It was a privelege to take part in. Thankyou very much to both of you - from Nicky, Bryony and Darren.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Nicky, another great team effort. Ian

dkluza's avatar

dkluza

United States

Ranking: 10/10

It was a pleasure to spend time with Ian and his team -- they're friendly, knowledgeable, and very, _very_ good at finding kiwi. I highly recommend Okarito Kiwi Tours to anyone who wants a New Zealand kiwi experience.

Reviewed about 10 years ago and experienced in December 2008

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Dan - thanks for your efforts on that night, made a big difference. Ian

David's avatar

David

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

3 excited guests, 2 dedicated guides and 1 chasing Kiwi---priceless...Those guys stay as long as it is needed...One the best trips all over New Zealand !
Thank you guys !

Reviewed about 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

David, One of the very few times we have had a kiwi ( Beaumont ) follow us up the track. Thanks for your kind words. Ian

Jill's avatar

Jill

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

What an amazing thing to be able to do - seeing kiwi in their natural habitat at night. Never mind the mosquitoes seranading in our ears and the patient waiting and hoping. This paled into nothing as we watched the kiwi come out of the bush and make its way across the track. An emotional experience! This shy, nocturnal, rare bird reigns supreme in our daily lives yet is so rarely seen -thank you Ian and Paul. Very much the highlight of our trip down the West Coast
Jill and Stuart from Nelson

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Cheers Jill and Stu, thanks for taking a chance with us, we are really pleased to have you as our Nelson Fan Club members. Ian

jason grundy's avatar

jason grundy

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Awsome, having relocated to NZ in early 2007 we set a goal that the only place we wanted to see a Kiwi was in the wild and not behind a piece of glass at some naff wildlife park!! Having tramped many a fruitless mile around NZ trying to fulfill this quest we had all but given up. That was untill we stumbled across Ian at Okarito and his Kiwi tour. We thought we would give it a go and handed over our cash hoping we were not daft tourist types signing up to some back street rip off operation. So we turned up with four other people and set off. How wrong we were to doubt!! The knowledge and input from our guides was about as good as it gets and then to see 4 Kiwis close enough to almost touch was a special moment. Thanks again guys and next time I will try not to have a coughing fit just as the Kiwi comes out!!!! Cant recomend this trip highly enough, the highlight of our road trip on South Island 2008.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Jason - Great honest description, thanks for doing the right thing when required, we apprechiate your efforts also. Ian

Heidi Grether's avatar

Heidi Grether

United States

Ranking: 10/10

We had a great time with Ian on the Okarito Kiwi tour. It is clear he is very knowledgeable and cares deeply about the future of the kiwi.

This is a first class tour.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Heidi - Great to the point comments, and...spot on. Ian

angelacass's avatar

angelacass

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Excellent experience - just 2 of us with Ian and a friend, who was learning about kiwi tour leading. Had wonderful sightings. Ian was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Angela - you had a great day in Okarito - Bitterns and Kiwi, all in pretty poor weather. I am pleased to say that Paul made a GREAT guide for season 2008-9, he will be around for a bit longer. Ian. G'day to Scotland.

hypercritic's avatar

hypercritic

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Ian is a very knowledgable and experienced guide and went out of his way to ensure the group I was with had the best experience possible. We were all very happy to be able to see two kiwis. Ian was very accomodating with everyone's schedules, something that is hard to find in the tourism industry. All in all, he made my final tour in NZ my absolute favorite.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Really pleased your last tour was your favourite - I am sure you will be back. Ian

Tipene's avatar

Tipene

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

An amazing experience with some singularly unusual and unique birds in an idyllic setting. These elements combined with Ian's knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness made the tour a definite ten out of ten.
We did the tour in a small group (three people) in the middle of winter. Feeling cold wasn't an issue as we had brought warm clothing. Walking into the bush as the sun set and the day birds' singing faded heightened the anticipation of seeing a kiwi. We were fortunate to hear a variety of kiwi noises and calls (including mating) and saw one kiwi at very close range twice. It was a rare privilege to experience the rarest kiwi in the world at close hand. Thanks Ian (and Beaumont and Jim)!

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Steven - Great Winter trip. No Mozzies. Cheers for the great write up.

richardr's avatar

richardr

Ranking: 10/10

Despite some very unpromising weather during the day of our kiwi trip, we decided to press ahead, although Ian made us aware that our chances of seeing any kiwis would be affected. We were certainly glad we did, as within a couple of hours we had seen no fewer than 4 kiwis (2 pairs), and had absolutely superb views of all of them. We even saw one pair mating. I can highly recommend this trip - Ian was a very knowledgeable and personable guide, and works very hard to ensure you get a great view of the birds while minimizing any disturbance.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks Richard for the review. I hope you got to see a fernbird in the morning.

amh's avatar

amh

Australia

Ranking: 9/10

While visiting fantastic NZ in June, my family surprised me with Ian's Okarito Kiwi Tour as a birtday present. Even tho on the day the weather decided to settle into the typical drizzle/rain of the west coast, we chose to go ahead with the tour as it was our only opportunity. We rocked up at Ian's office in Okarito and layered ourselves up with wet weather gear, ready to at least say we tried to see these wonderful rare birds. Ian was very clear in letting us know that our chances of seeing them was not good due to the weather - and the (very noisy!!) whooshing sounds our gear made whenever we walked! However, Ian's knowledge on how to listen for the birds, where to wait to possibly see them, and each bird's territory and behaviour meant that we were rewarded with a wondeful night of hearing several males call, pairs "chatting" to each other, glimpses of several birds and then a spectacular view of one bird that stepped out onto the trail in front of us - right where Ian said he would! We all felt that the whole experience - damp, dripping forest, long patient waiting, the odd mossie, and Ian's quiet, knowldgeable discourse on the kiwi - just added to finaly seeing that lovely bird. What a birthday present!! This tour is one to remember and is certainly highly recommended by all of us.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Well done for being a great team and attempting in the rain ! You certainly achieved !

belle's avatar

belle

Australia

Ranking: 10/10

I visited Ian's Kiwi tour after hearing rave reviews from a good friend who had recently been on his tour. I visited with four friends and we all had a fantastic time. Despite the weather being rather chilly, Ian's enthusiasm, good nature and extensive knowledge of the birds made the tour one to remember for all of us. It seemed like a very special thing to see a kiwi in its natural habitat (we all felt particularly lucky having seen four kiwis on our tour). This tour comes highly recommended by all five of us!

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Thanks for the great review - Another great team effort. Seeing 4 of the rarest kiwi in the wild is certainly very special - well done !

Karen's avatar

Karen

Australia

Ranking: 9/10

Myself and a few family members had a recent trip to see the glaciers on New Zealand's West Coast. I decided to have a look on the net prior to going to find out about other activities to do in the area and came across Okarito Kiwi Tours. Myself and my partner had tried to see Kiwi on our own previously and had failed so we were quite keen to give a guided tour a go. As it turned out the night we booked was not the most optimal for kiwi viewing - it was raining (although not too heavily) which would make it more difficult to hear and therfore track the kiwi. The four of us decided to continue with the kiwi tour despite the rain and we had an awesome time. I glimpsed three kiwi and saw another kiwi really well, as did the rest of my group. In addition to seeing the kiwi jump out from the bush and rummage around in front of us hearing all the kiwi noises was really amazing. The fact that we had to be outside in the dark and rain and wait patiently for the elusive kiwis added to the experience. Ian was a great guide - he set realistic expectations for us at the start of the night and gave us interesting kiwi and other facts during the trip. All in all a great experience which I would highly recommend. The four of us keep talking about the tour and our kiwi sighting.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Karen and Team - thanks for the positive write up. It was certainly a very difficult night, however, we all achieved something very special and memorable, great teamwork - well done !

rh8mpo's avatar

rh8mpo

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

When we were planning out whistle-stop tour of NZ we hit most of the main tourist sites - including Franz Josef. Searching around activities in the area we came across Okarito Kiwi Tours and decided to include it as a bonus activity.

We arrived in Okarito on a sunny evening in Dec. 2007 not quite sure what to expect and with reserved anticipation.

We were joined by other customers, giving a nice small group of around 7 people. After a welcome and briefing from the knowledgable guide we were provided with some basic equipement for the night ahead.

We opted for the longer tour, and the plan was to string the team out along a track in the bush and wait for the kiwi's to cross our path. So we waited, and waited, and swiped at the mozzies, and waited some more.

As the night went on the temperature dropped and the mozzies lost interest. Just when we were starting to lose interest we started to hear the distinctive kiwi calls.

By the time the kiwi popped out of the bush most of the group had been gathered together by the guide. The experience of seeing a kiwi greatly exceeded expectations.

Many of the main tourist attractions failed to live up to the hype. However, seeing a kiwi in its natural habitat felt like a real privilage and turned out to be a highlight of our trip.

Overall, would highly recommend this activity for anyone with an interest in wildlife and getting away from the beaten track.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Okarito Kiwi Tours responds:

Rainer - thanks for being the first to use Rankers.co.nz. Nice to start with a maximum 10 !
Well done for being part of a great team effort in finding and seeing the rarest most endangered kiwi in NZ ! Thanks again Rainer - Ian

Love Christchurch