Rainbow Springs was a place I loved when I first visited some 25 years ago. Now time seems to have caught up with it and I am not nearly so impressed. That didn’t stop hundreds of other visitors flocking there on the day we visited so obviously everyone doesn’t share that opinion.
The springs are basically a small zoo set in attractive bush surroundings. Unfortunately, urban sprawl has encroached on the area so now on some sides you are separated from development by a timber fence. That’s hardly the image Rainbow Springs wants to project. Within the attraction there are some nice areas. The path follows a clear stream that is feed from subterranean springs. Rainbow, Brown and Tiger trout cruise the deep fern-fringed pools. Elsewhere there are some fine trees and plants native to New Zealand and also some introduced species such as American redwoods.
Apart from the fish, there is a walk-in aviary with a range of native birds, a couple of other aviaries and enclosures where you can see New Zealand’s native lizards, the Gecko and the Skink and a relic from the dinosaur era, the small Tuatara. For those who have not seen New Zealand’s famous emblem, the Kiwi House lets you see a pair of these flightless birds searching for food in their night habitat.
Admission to Fairy Springs also allows you to enter the Rainbow Farm Show which is held at an adjacent venue. At five 45-minute shows each day you can see sheep dogs mustering, watch a sheep being shown and try your hand at milking a cow. Someone gets the chance to sit on a huge bull. The kids will probably love it and city dwellers may be intrigued. It is certainly an opportunity to experience a little of life on a farm.
If you time it correctly a combined visit will take about 11/2 hours. For those who are hungry there is a restaurant or a café and both Rainbow Springs and Rainbow Farm offer shopping opportunities.
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