This is the place to see NZ native birds. The centre was built so that these endangered birds can be protected, and their numbers increased. You can see kiwis, kakapos, kakas and so on.
The bush walk around the park is also well worth doing, as you get to see a lot of native trees and bush as well. $20 for adults.
Keas are a must see (you can also see them easily in the wild at Arthur's Pass and Fox/Franz Josef glaciers) as I believe they are the world's only Alpine parrot.
At Mt Bruce, they were being fed apple, and no doubt they eat seeds as well, but I was shocked to discover recently as I watched a wildlife documentary that as their food sources have declined, they have also become carnivores!
In NZ brochures, they are depicted as harmless clowns, but on the documentary they were pictured in action on snow topped mountains, digging at solid soil and dirt with their beaks to make bird nesting burrows larger so they could go inside and haul out the defenceless chicks... and I haven't been able to think of Keas as harmless since then. But that's nature, and I guess it's their ingenuity that has led them to adapt in this way because of their food source decrease, rather than become more endangered than they already are in certain areas of NZ.
Don't miss the animal feeding sessions as we did.
You'd need to arrive by 1.30 pm in the afternoon to be able to see them all.
Besides the Kea, (2.45 pm or 3 pm feeding starts) there is also eel feeding from the bridge over the creek, and this creek is just full of them!
The playful keas were my favorites of all the birds, and at least they could come and go at will, seeming quite happy (as anyone would be with daily free food on tap!)
The food is left for the Keas in metal bird-feeding houses with metal poles, metal rungs - everything solid metal, and after a couple of minutes, it was't hard to see why.
These birds are just plain cheeky and have no respect for their own food vending machines!
Even the fact that their food stations were metal didn't stop them having a good chew at them and trying to rip them apart. Their beaks look incredibly strong.
Favorite thing: I forgot to mention, besides NZ birds at Mt Bruce, in another cage (glassed in I think) you can also see New Zealand's famous reptile, the large Tuatara lizard.
Favorite thing: A quite wide creek ran through the Wildlife Centre grounds in several places (with a group of huge eels hanging about under the bridge – they get fed at 1.30 each day so are no doubt pretty tame too).