Kapiti Island Tours is an experience that falls into many of the New Zealand categories that we choose to highlight including Maori culture, wildlife and private conservation initiatives.
This tour is the ideal combination for anyone looking for a unique cultural experience set amongst nature, who isn’t worried about staying in relatively basic accommodation.
It all starts with a good hunt in your bag to check if you happen to be carrying a potential undesirable predator. I didn’t really believe it at first but you will seriously be asked to prove that you are not by accident carrying across a rat or a mouse with you!
Once you understand how many traps and how many years it took them to eradicate all the pests from the island you will understand why they take keeping it pest free so seriously.
After a short 15min boat crossing, you will arrive with the supplies on Kapiti Island. You’ll be shown your accommodation - dormitories, cabins or tents with shared bathroom facilities, or bungalows with private bathrooms depending on what you’ve chosen - and then you’ll be briefed on the history of the family and the island that have been inextricably linked for generations.
The Maori family in this story is the family of John and Susan Barrett and their grandmother who refused to leave the island when the New Zealand Government decided that it would be made into a nature reserve in 1987. The local iwi have therefore kept the 13 hectares around Waiorau Bay where the lodge is situated.
On the first day you will be able to go on a guided walk or wander as you wish. Take a swim and relax to the sound of the masses of birds that now call the island home. Watch your head if you are in the path of a Tui, your biscuit if you are snacking on the deck near a cheeky Kaka and your feet for the greedy Wekas!
This bird’s paradise is the reason you are here but the big star of the island is the little ball of brown feathers with a long beak - there are more than 1200 little spotted kiwi on the island! So after sunset, once you’ve had your dinner, set off with alert eyes and ears and a velvet light step with your guide to find the adorable little kiwi who is our national symbol.
We recommend a 24hr stay on the island to make the most of it but if you like peace and quiet, feel free to stay longer and live at kiwi pace.
For those on a tighter time frame there is the option of visiting for a generous lunch and a walk to the high point of the island amongst the daytime birds before returning to the mainland.
The organisation by OUAT was excellent, communication was brilliant, facilities on the Milford Track were of a high standard and Hippo Lodge in Queenstown was very good value. W... - John Dalli, AustraliaRead all reviews