After leaving Kaikoura we begun our journey back north. Unfortunately the return journey followed pretty much the same route we’d taken south with an overnight stop in Wellington, for St Patrick’s Day no less, and an overnight stop in Taupo. It was a little sad that we didn’t get to see anything new on our journey back but we’ll talk more about that as part of our overall Kiwi Experience review post, which should hopefully be up next.
For the journey from Taupo to Auckland we made a pit stop at the Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua. The park is set amongst the native trees and beautiful forests offering a fun-packed and educational experience for the whole family. It offers an opportunity to learn about New Zealand’s fascinating natural history and come closer than ever to the creatures who call this great land of theirs home. It is also one of the best places to see kiwi and is home to the largest kiwi hatching facility in the world.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to explore much of the park other than the Behind the Scenes Tour. During the tour we were told about the life cycle of kiwis, the major threats to them in the wild and the work underway to help conserve them.
We were treated with a quick look at a newly hatched kiwi, a little fluffy ball of feathers that was more legs and beak than anything else. Suffice to say they are the weirdest, most prehistoric birds we have seen. They are equal parts odd and utterly adorable!
After this we were shown more information about the various different species which, sadly, consisted of a number of displays of stuffed birds. Then we went through to see the grown up kiwis running about in their darkened enclosures. It was so wonderful to be able to see the full grown birds exploring, hunting for food. Unfortunately these birds will not be released into the wild due to either injuries or because they have had too much human contact and wouldn’t be able to cope in the wild.
Having spent about 15 minutes in the gift shop we were back on the bus and heading up to Auckland. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to explore the rest of the park.
If you fancy checking out our final video from New Zealand which includes footage of our visit to Rainbow Springs Nature Park as well as Kaikoura and Ohau Point, it is viewable here.