It’s rare to see New Zealand’s ground-dwelling kiwi birds in the wild. Yet at the Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua, you can observe kiwis in their natural habitat and learn about conservation efforts to reintroduce them to the native bush. The Kiwi Encounter, a nocturnal enclosure, allows for easy viewing of this elusive national icon.
While kiwi birds are undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to Rainbow Springs, you can see—and hear—more than a dozen other bird species in free-flight aviaries. Discover the cheeky behaviors of alpine parrots, meet a hand-reared kea bird, and see cockatoos and kakas. In addition, discover reptiles like the primordial tuatara, which dates back to the dinosaurs. A popular attraction is the Big Splash, a 9-minute water ride past animatronic dinosaurs, moas, and other extinct species. Riders learn about New Zealand’s biodiversity while the boat jettisons at high speed to create towering plumes of water.
Many visitors opt for a guided tour of the nature park to learn about native flora and fauna as well as the impact of introduced predators on these animal populations.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Rainbow Springs Nature Park is ideal for nature and wildlife lovers, and families traveling with children.
- There are family admission passes available; children under the age of 5 enter free.
- Kids and their grown-up companions have unlimited access to the Big Splash—bring towels to dry off afterward.
- Food is available at the on-site café, with a playground and picnic tables nearby.
How to Get There
Rainbow Springs Nature Park is located on Fairy Springs Road, seven minutes north of Rotorua along the west shore of the lake. Parking is available, and public bus service from the center of town stops right outside the park.
When to Get There
The park is opening from 8:30am to 5:30pm daily (last entry at 5pm) year-round. Forty-minute guided tours depart every half hour until 4:30pm. The Big Splash is available from 9:30am to 5pm.
Sponsor a Kiwi
Due to invasive predators, only five percent of wild kiwi birds will survive to adulthood. Proceeds from admission to Rainbow Springs help to fund programs to raise these native birds from incubation up through release. Your additional sponsorship allows Kiwi Encounter to increase kiwi survival rates up to 70 percent by protecting reared chicks and maintaining their health in the on-site breeding program.