New Zealand: Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

While staying in Pegasus Town, we spent a rainy but great day at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, which was down the road just a bit.  It’s located in a beautiful natural environment so that all of the animals are either in specially designed enclosures or wandering free, which is lovely!  At the entrance, you can pay for animal food and then hand feed many of them.

The reserve is in three sections: “Wild New Zealand with exotic wildlife, Heritage New Zealand with livestock and other introduced farmyard animals and birds, and Natural New Zealand with native species and some of their introduced predators.” There are colorful signs posted all around the reserve with lots of great information.

Here’s the sign welcoming us into the reserve.

First stop…the eels!!  We had a look at them for a while as they are so slimy and unique.

We came back later to watch them during feeding time.  After he was done feeding them, the zookeeper said the kids could give them a feel on their backs but warned them about keeping their hands away from the mouths because they bite.  As you can see in the videos below, it made it a little hard to try to touch them when they move around so much.

Note: The voices on the videos below aren’t ours. There were other families standing close to where Mike was video taping that you can hear.  We were standing on the dock opposite from Mike.

Pretty white duck swimming in the water.

The fallow deer were the first to realized that the kids had food in their pockets and followed us along the fence line! 🙂

Here’s the sign for the emu, and there’s a very shy emu peeking through the leaves!


We thought these geese were so cute with their curly feathers!  It looks like they’re all mussed up from the rain, but their feathers are just like that!


G having a gander and greeting a goose.

This little wallaby didn’t mind the rain, but the rest of his family and friends tried to find a little shelter from the rain under the nearby trees.

We’re pretty sure this is the type of monkey featured in the Night at the Museum movies.

These little otters just kept slipping in and out of the water and following each other everywhere making the sound brand new puppies make!



Caught a quick picture of this weka — a native NZ bird — as it walked by us.  It’s a flightless bird about the size of a chicken.


This Sebright chicken looked like someone had carefully outlined the edges of its feathers in black!

Of course, G and L had to have a go on the swings! 🙂

A traditional Maori hut in an hunting village.

This is the kea, an alpine parrot native to New Zealand.

We have no idea what this little bird is, but we thought it was so sweet and had such pretty coloring.  He was sitting on the ledge of another bird habitat.


We don’t have any pictures of the infamous kiwi, but the reserve has a wonderful area where they have a kiwi habitat.  It’s very dark (they’re nocturnal) and quiet, but you can hear them foraging in the ground and once you’re eyes adjust, it’s possible to see one.  We were able to watch one digging in the leaves and walking around!


Before we left for the day, G and L gave the last of the food to the fallow deer. 🙂


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