Not far from town, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is definitely a close encounter with the wild side. Armed with pellets of food and a dim sum bun, we enticed various friendlies to come out and play. Easy to navigate, the one-way track around the park features wild, heritage, and natural exhibits. It’s well-maintained and seeing such animals up close is a nice reminder of important, ongoing conservation efforts. With so many distinctive species to pick from, I tell people that my favorite is the kiwi (although secretly, the kunekune is very ugly-cute and reminds me of our friend’s pug named Kiwi).
Whether you like the people, the bird, or the fruit, kiwis are overall pretty amazing and quintessentially New Zealand.