West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef

3.0
#3 of 11 in Wildlife Areas in West Coast Region
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
Home to rare rowi kiwi birds, West Coast Wildlife Centre offers interactive experiences and a behind-the-scenes look at an award-winning hatching and incubation program. A popular all-weather attraction, this sanctuary provides a range of family-oriented activities, including self-guided nature walks, kid-friendly tours, and storytelling performances. The rarest of New Zealand's rare kiwi birds, the flightless rowi remains a critically endangered species, with less than 400 individual birds left in the wild. With the Franz Josef Glacier as a backdrop, this sanctuary is the only place in New Zealand where you can see this nocturnal animal in its natural setting. The onsite gift shop sells books, toys, and souvenirs. Arrange your visit to West Coast Wildlife Centre and discover more family-friendly attractions in Franz Josef using our Franz Josef vacation builder.
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Where to stay in Franz Josef

With the increasing popularity of the glacier among vacationers, the town of Franz Josef offers a range of accommodations to suit the needs of its many visitors. Hostels are popular in the town center, but those looking for something more upscale will also find luxury hotels. Camping is a good option if you want to get straight out into the wild. Advanced reservations are essential during peak times.
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3.7
  • This is a small attraction and relies very much on the Rowi Kiwi being active. They aren't forced to do this as they are wild animals. However, there is no glass cage and you can see and hear them. Th...  more »
  • We were in Franz and decided to take the opportunity to say to hello to the wonderful staff at the Wildlife Centre. While visiting we also decided to view the 2 rowi kiwi chicks (Dawn & Dusk). It is g...  more »
  • On a side street of downtown Franz Josef, with a funky kiwibird statue out front. Be sure to go in and spend a little time here when you visit Franz Josef. The folks who work here are doing an amazing...  more »
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  • They are doing great work to help restore the Kiwi population.... but seeing the kiwi act so distressed running up and down the walls of the enclosure banging their heads on the walls wasn't very nice, or the experience we were after. Should be marketed more like a local museum. The information on the town was good. Glacier stuff in serious need of up dating.
  • Found it extremely interesting and one of the few chances to see a kiwi. Went again the next day as we found it highly enjoyable to watch the kiwis. Adorable little creatures. Money we'll spent in our opinion
  • It's ok for a tourist centre if you like trinkets, souvenirs and paying through the nose to see a kiwi bird.
  • DO NOT GO HERE!!! It is a COMPLETE RIP-OFF!!! First you will have an owner or manager try to hard-push sell you on a back-stage pass for $58 which was extremely off-putting. They even tried to pitch the cafe and gift shop as part of the deal. So the experience is: 1. You walk through a small gate and go through a door into a night room with little lighting where there are two kiwis you can't even touch. The room was so poorly lit I barely see the kiwis' features. The older folk next to me couldn't even see the kiwis when they were even a metre in front of them. You may get to hear two other baby kiwis but good luck being able to see them with the low-lit lighting. They don't even let you take pictures, probably so people can't prove how bad of an experience it is. 2. You then walk into this area that is supposed to look like a glacier with a few tvs, a couch or two and descriptions on walls about Franz Josef. 3. End of tour! Total time of experience: 15 minutes There are many other places I'd rather spend $38 in Franz Josef. Trust me... this is a waste of time. I don't know what else you would do with a 24 hour pass when it takes a maximum of 20 minutes to look around. And I'm not too sure who is propping up these reviews, maybe friends and family of theirs and rich tourists who don't mind throwing money at the walls.
  • They are doing and an amazing job to protect the kiwi species. Hatching and releasing every year so many more kiwis to the forest.