White Heron Sanctuary Tours, Whataroa

White Heron Tours Westland Whataroa rainforest tour Bird tours Westland NZ White heron tour NZ White Heron Sanctuary Tours

New Zealand Bird Tours

White Heron Tours

Whataroa is the departure point for NZ’s only White Heron Sanctuary Tour.

The tour consists of an informative minibus ride through private farmland into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. In the reserve a short walk takes visitors through ancient Kahikatea rainforest to the purpose built viewing hide to observe the magnificent White Heron, Kotuku in their natural nesting environment. The Royal Spoonbill, Kotuku Ngutu Papa and the Little Shag, Kawapaka also share this special area and all can easily be seen from the hide. The White Heron only use this area for breeding so can be seen in the reserve over the spring and summer months, usually mid-September until early March. Over the autumn and winter months they disperse widely throughout New Zealand and are generally seen as a single solitary bird.

The population of White Heron in New Zealand is approximately 200.  To see one of these splendid birds is a rare and special sight and to visit their only breeding ground is a truly unique experience!

White Heron Sanctuary Tours (Est 1987) is the original and only tour to visit New Zealand’s only White Heron nesting site.  For over 30 years the Arnold family have been delighting visitors by sharing this world class attraction with them. Tours operate with a Department of Conservation concession and entry is with a guide and by permit only.

Please note: There is no access to the White Heron nesting site from Okarito.  Kayaks are not permitted into the Waitangi-roto Nature Reserve.

Tours operate wet or fine (wet weather gear is provided).

Duration:  Approx 2.5 hours return trip from Whataroa.

Cost including DOC entry permit:  $150 per adult, $75 per child (12yrs and under).

Rainforest Nature Tour

From March – September, outside of the White Heron nesting season we operate our Rainforest Nature Tour.

View spectacular stands of ancient Kahikatea rainforest, 800-1000 years old.

Enjoy a guided walk on our purpose built path amongst the majestic giants of our native rainforests and learn how we help preserve the delicate balance within one of nature’s oldest ecosystems. 

View the beautiful orchids and ferns that adorn the reserve.

This area is home to numerous native birdlife including Tui, Bellbird, Wood pigeon and Fantail.

You will also view the site where the White Heron (Kotuku) comes to breed in the spring.

Tours run under concession with the Department of Conservation. Entry is by permit only.

All tours are accompanied by a guide. Wet weather gear provided.

Duration:  Approx 2.5 hours return trip from Whataroa.

Cost including DOC entry permit:  $150 per adult, $75 per child (12yrs and under).

Tour Notes

Quoted in NZD, subject to change.

Our usual tour times are 9am, 12pm & 3pm daily but these may change so bookings are advisable.
Other tours can be arranged if there is sufficient demand.

White Heron Sanctuary Tours, Whataroa Enquiry Form


64 Main Road
Whataroa 7886
South Westland

Phone: +64 3 753 4120

Freephone: 0800 523 456


Web: Visit website

Email: info@whiteherontours.co.nz

The White Heron Sanctuary Tours, Whataroa Enquiry Form