Best time to visit New Zealand

The White Heron Sanctuary Tours in New Zealand

Elegant White Herons impress with their snow-white plumage and particularly graceful walk

Best time: September–early March

The White Heron Sanctuary Tours
The White Heron Sanctuary Tours
The White Heron Sanctuary Tours
The White Heron Sanctuary Tours

It is necessary to keep as quiet as possible not to frighten delicate White Herons. These snow-white birds are so amusing, especially while hunting: they cautiously step across the water looking for food. What a graceful walk! Royal Spoonbills do not fall behind and are even more pompous. However, their black spoon-shaped bills and yellow-shaded eyelids resembling make them look rather comic. Little Shags are not white, their plumage varies in color from black to black-and-white, nevertheless, they have their own charm.

The White Heron Sanctuary tours through Waitangiroto Nature Reserve are offered during the white herons' breeding season that falls on the period between September and early March. The Reserve is accessible only via the Waitangi Taona river. The boat trip proceeds with a 500-meter long boardwalk along the ancient kahikatea rainforest, where the exquisite birds might be observed in their natural nesting environment.​

Practical info

What is the ideal time to witness the nesting of White Herons in Waitangiroto Nature Reserve?

White Herons primarily breed between September and early March at the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve, which makes it the optimal time for bird enthusiasts to visit the area. Tourists will be able to witness the stunning and graceful birds nesting in their natural habitat. Show more

Which region of New Zealand is home to the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve?

Located in the South Island's West Coast region, the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve is exclusively accessible via boat trips made through Waitangi Taona river. Visitors must make certain arrangements before commencing their excursion. Show more

Apart from White Herons, which other birds can tourists view during the tour at the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve?

One can spot multiple species of birds at the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve, including Royal Spoonbills and Little Shags. While the former has black spoon-shaped beaks and eyeballs with yellow shading, the latter varies in color from black to black-and-white, adding to their charm and individuality. Show more

Are there any cautionary measures that visitors must take to avoid disturbing the birds in Waitangiroto Nature Reserve?

To help preserve the bird's peace, visitors should make a conscious effort to keep noise levels to a minimum, especially during tours. This is particularly critical for the delicate White Herons. By minimizing noise, one can observe the birds in their habitat without causing unnecessary disturbance. Show more

Are tourists allowed to visit Waitangiroto Nature Reserve independently or are specific tours conducted by guides?

The Waitangiroto Nature Reserve can only be accessed during the breeding season via guided tours. Visitors must join one of the many tours offered by tour operators, including the Department of Conservation, which organizes several tours each day. A tour is the most effective way to experience the serenity of this location. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin