Takahe at Orokonui ecosanctuary in New Zealand.

© Jef Wodniack/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Dunedin & Otago

From the impressive visitor centre there are great views over this 307-hectare predator-free nature reserve, which encloses cloud forest on the mountainous ridge above Port Chalmers and stretches to the estuary on the opposite side. Its mission is to provide a mainland refuge for species usually exiled to offshore islands for their own protection. Visiting options include self-guided explorations, hour-long 'highlights' tours (adult/child $35/17.50; 11am and 1.30pm daily) and two-hour 'forest explorer' tours (adult/child $50/25; 11am daily).

Rare bird species finding sanctuary here include kiwi, takahē and kākā, while reptiles include tuatara and Otago skinks, and there's a good chance to see them if you're patient. Feeding stations have been set up to encourage birds.

Orokonui is a well-signposted 6km drive from the main road into Port Chalmers.

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