Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch NZ | A Guide to South Island

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch NZ | A Guide to South Island

On our second day in Christchurch, we headed over to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in search of the infamous Kiwi! These were the Big 5 in New Zealand that were featured at Willowbank: the Takahe, Kea, Tuatara, Kiwi, Kaka.

Out of the five, we only ended up seeing the Kea and the Tuatara.  We found out that Kiwis are nocturnal, so we did see them but only as balls of fur sleeping from a distance. We especially wanted to see the Takahe, but they were nowhere to be seen in the exhibit.  The Takahe is a large flightless bird that was thought to be extinct but later rediscovered.

Fallow Deer:

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Cape Barren Goose:

Cape Barren Goose in Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Don’t step in the duck weed.. Looks like solid ground, but it’s all water underneath.

Ducks swimming in duck weed at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

The ducks and black swans aren’t part of the reserve but coexist with the animals there.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Kunekune Pigs:

Kunekune Pigs at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Kiwi eggs:

Kiwi Eggs Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

The Tuatara: They are a living dinosaur and have not changed for 220 million years.

Tuatara at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Do not feed the Tuatara Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

On the left is the giant moa that’s now extinct & reminds me of the bird in Up!  On the right is the Kea. They have beautiful coloring under their wings, but we didn’t see any in flight.

Kea Bird and Giant Moa Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

Although we didn’t see everything, we had a great time! There were a lot of animals we had never seen before in our local zoos.

Bus ride to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve New Zealand Animals | A Guide to South Island New Zealand

An Overview and Tips for Willowbank:

  • Directions: Take the 12:24 bus 107 on saturdays (formerly bus 11) toward Styx Hill from Central Station (45-50 Lichfield St). The cost is 3.60 NZD per person.
  • Ticket Price at Willowbank: Adults 25 NZD (you can get a 5 off voucher from where you are staying)
  • You need a couple hours to leisurely get through the park. Probably another couple hours if you want to take photos of most the animals. Nature photography takes a lot of patience.
  • Big five animals to see: Takahe, Kea, Tuatara, Kiwi, Kaka
  • Kiwis are nocturnal, so you’re not likely to get a good view of them in daytime.  Perhaps you’re more likely to see them on the night time tour.

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