on May 26, 2010
On my first trip to New Zealand, I left without seeing a kiwi bird. This time, I vowed, I was going to see one—and what better place than Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park, which features a nocturnal house and regular kiwi feedings?I saw my kiwi. It was for about eight seconds, and it was in the dark, and the bird was behind glass—but I saw him. It was lucky timing, because I’d arrived just in time for the tail end (and that’s literally what I saw) of the day’s last kiwi feeding at 4:30pm. (Look up times before you go!) But that was just the beginning of a very pleasant wander around the bird park.I’d learned a lot about New Zealand’s native birds in my time there, and I was excited to see all of them in person, so I opted for a NZ$37 ticket to the entire park rather than a NZ$27 ticket that would limit me to kiwi areas. It was well worth it: I followed the trail on my map and made 25 informative stops that corresponded with my audio guide. The commentary included information on the history of the park, the birds inside, and Maori culture (a portion of the park is dedicated to a replica Maori village).My favorite animal sightings were the tui, parrots, blue ducks, and tuatara. My least favorite was the kea and weka area; as I walked into their open-air habitat, the audio guide explained how cheeky kea are, and how they’re not afraid of humans—so I hurried on out of there very quickly!All in all, the bird park was a wonderful way to see the characters I’d heard so much about up close, and a worthwhile stop in Queenstown.
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