Welcome to Okarito
Huddled against a lagoon, the seaside hamlet of Okarito has a restorative air. Barely 10km from SH6, Okarito Lagoon is the largest unmodified wetland in NZ. More than 76 bird species preen and glide among its waterways, including gossamer-winged kōtuku (white heron). Hiding out in the forest are rowi kiwi, the rarest species of NZ's iconic land-bird – for a great chance of seeing one in the wild, hook up with the South Island's only licensed kiwi-tour operator, based in the village.
Okarito has no shops, limited visitor facilities and patchy phone reception, so stock up and book before you arrive.