Kiwi & Birdlife Park Queenstown Reviews
Come and meet the locals Nov 21, 2007
I spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around the grounds of this little oasis in the middle of the larger oasis that is Queenstown. Due to my tight schedule, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to see all there is to see here. These lush gardens deserve a good few hours of your time.
You are invited into a world of ancient birdlife, plant life and dinosaurs, yes, that’s right, I said dinosaurs. I arrived just in time to see the conservation show where I met the endangered birds and creatures who have roamed New Zealand’s forests and shorelines for thousands of years. Presented by experienced zoologist, in an intimate enclosed environment, the show ran for 20 minutes. I was sitting quite comfortably in the first row of the show when the lovely little Kea – the world’s only alpine parrot, nearly collided with my head as it flew to the back of the enclosure. It was a shame I had just put my camera down, otherwise I would have had a great shot, Elke-eye-view of the bird, if you will. Even the demonstrator commented on what a close call it was. I was thinking I was the endangered one here, not the bird.
At the end of the show, you have the opportunity to get a closer look at the tuatara, which is a lizard like animal that has been living on the islands that are New Zealand for 235 million years and is the only living dinosaur. This fascinating animal is all alone in the world, its relatives all died over 60 million years ago, but it does have something that no others have, and that is a third eye. The third eye is located on the top of its head and as the animal gets older, skin covers the third eye concealing it from view. The Tuatara can still see shadows that pass over its head, which would come in handy if being attacked from the sky (possibly an attack from a killer alpine parrot).
At the end of the conservation show, you can stay and watch an authentic Maori experience and be transported through the mists of time to relive New Zealand’s distant past with the indigenous Maori cultural performers of Kiwi Weka. This compelling and interactive live show brings to life the tribal traditions and proud heritage on New Zealand’s first human inhabitants through the spine-tingling Haka, centuries-old action songs, skilful poi dances (my personal favourite) and much more.
I wish I hadn’t stayed to watch the cultural performance, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I had seen something similar on my first night in Queenstown and I didn’t realise how big the birdlife park was, and I only had a limited time before I was due elsewhere. After the cultural performance, I headed straight over to the darkened Kiwi hut where I had the opportunity to see kiwis fossicking for food. It takes 5 -10 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark of the Kiwi hut, but once they do you have the chance to witness this rare nocturnal bird going about its business.
After the darkness of the Kiwi Hut it was back out into the sunshine for a stroll around the lush gardens, this is where I ran out of time. You can wander the paths of the 8 acres of the park listening to a specially recorded audio tour getting to know the local flora and fauna.
On the way out of the park, there is a retail centre for you to buy all of your New Zealand gifts and souvenirs. I did make time for shopping. :)
Part of the Elke's adventures in Queenstown travel blog
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