Visitors gain a great understanding of conservation at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, a 20-minute drive north of Masterton at Mount Bruce.
Pūkaha is home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered wildlife including tuatara, eels, kaka and kākāriki.
Walk through their fantastic free flight aviary, home to many native New Zealand birds like the whio (blue duck), or explore easy-to-walk trails that weave through native forest. Then enjoy lunch at Kaka Cafe with it's great coffee and views over the takahe enclosure - but watch-out as curious Kaka may swoop in and introduce themselves! Check out the interactive gallery where kids love to spot creepy crawlies in a rata tree. Speaking of insects, you won’t want to miss the fabulous 5-metre long weta sculpture, all part of Te Wahi Weta, (The Weta Place).
Check out the whare whakairo (carving workshop) 'Rere Te Maramara' to see carvers in action - the whare is for free to visit and is open for you to visit six days a week, 9am – 5pm from Monday - Saturday.
Join in on an Educational Talk in the park, given by the rangers throughout the day:
- 11am Reptiles and Forgotten Fauna
- 12pm Kiwi
- 1.30pm Longfin Eel
- 3pm Kākā
Or Take A Tour:
1 Hour Guided Tour - Explore Pūkaha’s forest with a ranger and learn the untold stories behind the birds and plants. Learn more here.
Family Tour - The 45 minute Family Tour encourages kids to get excited about conservation! Discover fascinating native birds, bugs, eels, and learn Māori legends. Learn more here.
Te Hīkoi o Pūkaha - Join Rangitāne on a 2 hour walk to learn about wildlife and trees, as well as traditional stories of the Tangata Whenua (people of the land), ancient stories of the Pūkaha forest, Māori whakapapa (genealogy). Includes shared kai of kawakawa tea and bread. Learn more here.
Find about more about Pūkaha Night Tours, Wildlife Photography Workshops, and Ranger for a Day Experience here.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is open 7 days a week between 9am-6pm during summer (from the start of daylight savings) and 9am-5pm in winter (from end of daylight savings).
Locals can visit Pūkaha, any time of year, at half the normal entry fee with proof of residence such as a utilities bill.