Today we’re going to be seeing a real life kiwi chick at Rainbow Springs.
This morning we are heading to Rainbow Springs which is a nature park and conservation centre which is located right next to the Rotorua Gondola.
The first attraction that we’re checking out at Rainbow Springs is Kiwi Encounter which gives us a fly on the wall experience seeing how kiwi conservation works but more importantly actually seeing real life kiwis.
After checking what the kiwi birds actually eat we are going to the incubation centre which is basically where the eggs are kept at a really nice temperature so they can develop perfectly before hatching and becoming this amazing icon of New Zealand.
One of the very fun facts that we learn is that the kiwi birds actually carry gigantic eggs in proportion to their size. In fact, they actually gave Laura a bag that would represent what size here baby would be if she was a kiwi bird. Oh my God, that was so big.
After that we get a behind the scenes look at what happens to the kiwi chick after they hatch.
The kiwi chicks are raised until they are about 1kg which is big and strong enough for them to defend themselves in the wild. So this is what they’re doing here at the moment, weighing the chicks to see their progress.
The reason for all this kiwi conservation is because these kiwi chicks are threatened in the wild by introduced pests like possums and stoats which decreases the populations of kiwi. So what these guys do at Kiwi Encounter is they bring kiwi chicks and eggs into this hatchery, raise them so they’re strong enough to defend themselves in the wild, and then they get released back into the wild.
We get to see the kiwi chicks through different stages of being a chick, and because kiwi are nocturnal we see them in a dark and specially designed kiwi house.
This is what the enclosure of the birds outside looks like so once the chicks are big enough and not a kg yet because if they are a kg they go somewhere else apparently but when they’re big enough they get one of those enclosures and they behave like kiwis in the wild they scavenge for their own food and they also get fatter because you know they trick them a little bit they put a little bit more food than what they would get in the wild.
Needless to say that Rainbow Springs is making a big splash in the conservation scene of the area. Speaking of splash, we are heading to The Big Splash with that really cheesy segway.
The Big Splash is your classic Big Splash attraction. We are in the boat that is gonna go through a little bit of a path before arriving at a massive slope down and making a big well, splash, at the bottom. This is actually taking us through New Zealand through the ages between all the forestry the early Maori the early settlers from England as well as well the Big Splash! And here we go!
Seriously guys, we know this ride is for kids but we couldn’t resist it’s so big, so splashy and for once we had beautiful sun in Rotorua so we made sure to enjoy it.
Rainbow Springs is more than just Kiwi birds and log flume rides, it’s a whole nature park with loads of different wildlife to see surrounded by native bush it’s a really awesome place to be. And there are loads of different walkways going to different areas of the park with different wildlife so let’s get to it.
The first area we’re checking out are all these huge pools of super clear water and this water has been pumped from the spring that gave this nature park its name, Rainbow Springs and to make it more fitting the pools are filled with rainbow trout.
Further down one of the walkways at Rainbow Springs we find loads of enclosures filled with reptiles both from Australia and New Zealand. They’re full of water dragons, there’s also geckos and skinks which are native to New Zealand as well as the famous tuatara which is known for being the three eyed lizard. After that we get the opportunity to lap up that fresh spring water from Rainbow Springs itself before moving on with the rest of our nature trail.
The next step on our little trail is gonna take us to the underwater observatory this is where we get a much closer look to those huge rainbow trout. The rainbow trout are not native to New Zealand they’ve been introduced here by the English settlers because they really enjoy fishing them so they did release them in many different rivers around New Zealand and now they are one of the most popular fish in the country. All those trouts are amazing beautifully colourful scales we also see some brown trout and some tiger trout which are two other species of introduced trout.
But enough about the fish we’re here to see some birds we’re checking out a paradise shelduck definitely enjoying itself under the shade we are making right inside the first aviary of the day.
In the first aviary we’re checking out we see loads of beautiful kingfisher birds with their beautiful blue feathers and long beak and also in this enclosure are the North Island kaka which are a species of parrot only found in New Zealand.
The first thing we notice is just how inquisitive these birds are. They’re really interested in all our cameras and our backpacks they’re not afraid to get super close to us and that’s just a result of how the birds in New Zealand have evolved in a land that didn’t have humans for thousands and thousands of years.
The kaka is super entertaining to watch not only because it’s not afraid to rummage through our bags but that fact that it sort of uses its beak as a third leg. It uses its beak to climb trees and do all sorts of different things it’s really fun to watch.
The aviaries give us a chance to have a super close encounter with birds that otherwise would be really difficult to see in the wild because they are getting rarer and rarer and the reason why these guys are kept here because they are just too injured to be released back into the wild.
But there are more aviaries to check out so let’s move onto the next one.
The next aviary is the kea aviary. If you guys remember when we were on the South Island especially around Milford Sound, we got to see those kea in the wild. In fact, this only alpine parrot in the whole world can only be found on the South Island of New Zealand.
Now you guys are gonna say we’re not on the South Island of New Zealand and you’d be right. Rotorua is on the North Island but those birds are here because they are just too old or too handy capped to be able able to released in the wild so these cheeky parrots are staying here.
But moving on we are quickly checking the hatchery where the baby trout are bread before making our way to the last aviary of thee day called the tui aviary despite the fact that there are many types of bird including this lovely little parrot which is called a parakeet.
The parakeet or kakariki as it’s known in maori are tiny little parrots which are found in both Australia and New Zealand and they’re super cute. Not only that but there’s a lot more birds to be seen in this aviary like this huge wood pigeon. It’s the native wood pigeon of New Zealand much bigger than the average pigeon that you find on the street.
And finally, we’re seeing the absolutely beautiful colours of the tui bird and they’re known for having some really crazy songs.
The more we walk around Rainbow Springs the more awesome attractions we discover.
So I’ll let you in on a little secret we’ve been trying to leave Rainbow Springs since about an hour and a half but every single time we keep on walking we find something else awesome to check out. So Laura is getting a bit frustrated cos we’re never getting on with our day.
It is cuteness overload. It looks so small and fluffy it’s not even like a bird I don’t even know how to describe it. So amazing to see.