Ototagaha is famous for the Kiwi House – a bird sanctuary housing native birds from New Zealand including the infamous Kiwi Bird. Since they are nocturnal birds, the sanctuary mimics nighttime during the day so visitors can witness the very active Kiwi birds at work. I was fascinated by the Kiwis, they moved extremely fast, and for even being less than 9 months old, were quite large birds. The one girl, named Aroha (meaning love in Maori), was extremely active running up and down the enclosure, digging her beak into the ground in search for bugs and worms. We were even able to witness a feeding, which helped bring the Kiwis closer to the window, and slow them down (for at least a couple seconds anyways.)


Lonely Planet recommended a hike in Waitmo called the Ruakuri scenic walk, claiming it was one of the best short walks in the country. It was a beautiful scenic hike through the rain forest with caves, similar to what we had explored earlier in the day, all along the route. Walkways along the rocks above the rushing waters gave a perfect vantage point of the caves and the river gully. Jordan was giddy in this setting running around taking pictures and videos of everything and constantly yelling at me to “come back over here for one more shot”. Yet again we were the only ones on the trail so we had the entire place to ourselves.

Beautiful Ruakuri scenic walk

Check out Episode 6: Black Water Rafting, Kiwi Birds and Ruakuri Trail