The West Coast Wildlife Centre is the perfect destination to discover and experience the world's rarest kiwi up close and very personal.
The West Coast Wildlife Centre is an exciting public private partnership with the Department of Conservation and is the official indoor home to the hatching and incubation programme of the Rowi Kiwi. Found only in the Okarito Forest near Franz Josef, the Rowi is New Zealand's rarest kiwi.
We are open from 8:30am every day of the year. Get directions.
The West Coast is the home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Inside the attraction you can discover and unearth the puzzle of huge valleys of ice that extend well below the snow line, almost to the sea. Here the ice age is still underway.
Here are some facts to help you get the picture: over its 13 kilometre length, the Fox glacier plummets 2,600 metres from high in the Southern Alps. It is fed by four alpine glaciers that receive around 30 metres of snowfall each year. The snow is compacted at the top of the glacier into blue ice hundreds of metres deep.
This ice slides down hill to the more level river valley below, where it is still 300 metres thick. The movement is lubricated by ice that melts under pressure between the glacier and the steep valley floor. This effect, combined with the high snowfall feeding the top of the glacier, means the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers flow around ten times faster than most valley glaciers.
The West Coast is the home of New Zealand's rarest kiwi.
Kiwi are a flightless, nocturnal bird, only found in New Zealand. There are five different species of kiwi, all of which are endangered due to introduced predators and habitat loss. The Rowi and Haast tokoeka are the two most endangered kiwi in the world, with only less than 400 of each bird remaining. Rowi are restricted to the Okarito Forest, north of Franz Josef Glacier, and the Haast tokoeka are restricted to a small area of forest near Haast, South Westland.
With the support of BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust, the Department of Conservation uses BNZ Operation Nest Egg to save endangered kiwi from extinction. BNZ Operation Nest Egg involves removing eggs from the risk of predation, hatching them in captivity, and placing the chicks in a predator-free environment until they are big enough to fend for themselves. They are then returned to the wild.
The West Coast Wildlife Centre is the only place in New Zealand that you can see the Rowi in a nocturnal walkthrough area or go behind the scenes to see the Rowi and Haast tokoeka hatching programme. This is a fascinating South Island New Zealand tour not to be missed.
West Coast Story Telling
Our Café Wild is the ideal place to grab an early morning coffee, some home made baking,or a delicious and mouth watering lunch made fresh on site by our talented baking team. We also have popular pack lunch options that you can collect and take with you on your hike up the glacier.
The Café is also a great place to relax by the fire as you take in the beauty of the area. Enjoy a Swiss Movenpick ice-cream, Luciano coffee and hot drinks, freshly baked muffins and more. Our team takes pride in producing baking every day sourced from the freshest ingredients.
Free Wi-Fi with any hot drink purchase.
Wild West Shop
The West Coast Wildlife Shop has a large and vibrant variety of gifts and souvenirs. A 'must do' on your South Island New Zealand holiday for all your goodies to take home.
Before or after your amazing Wildlife Centre experience, come in and browse in our uncluttered, spacious and relaxed shop. Enjoy the warm environment and discover something different and something new.
Here you will find jackets, first layer clothing, apparel, soft toys, skincare, books, jewellery, small gifts, tea-shirts, warm clothing and much, much more.
Open from 8.30am daily and conveniently located inside the West Coast Wildlife Centre next to our Café Wild it is the perfect location to browse and relax.
Meet our friendly and well-trained team who are helpful and knowledgeable.
"We only preserve what we love
We only love what we understand
We only understand what we study."
Our VIP Backstage pass gives an insightful and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at our incubation and hatching programme. Spaces are limited so please book now to secure your place.