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White Heron Sanctuary Tours. Even though the white heron (known to the Maori as kotuku) nests only from September to March, this trip is worth doing any time of the year. A rollicking jet-boat ride takes you down the gorgeous Waitangitaona River to the sea, passing whitebait fishermen and solitary birds on the swampy banks before winding across a short coastal inlet and then drifting quietly into the nature reserve. In season the kotuku nest here at their only site in the country, and a bird-watching hide has been set up directly opposite. Royal spoonbills and little shags also nest here. Surrounds are dense native kahikatea forest. 03/753-4120 or 0800/523-456. www.whiteherontours.co.nz. NZ$120. Reservations essential.
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