Modelled on the Zealandia: the Karori Sanctuary Experience attraction in Wellington, the Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a welcome addition to the pantheon of wildlife activities within easy reach of Dunedin. Start at the visitor centre, all eco-designed using secondhand shipping containers and wood milled on-site. Solar panels heat roof rainwater for washing, and centre waste is treated and used for irrigation. The place is packed with information and the café offers wonderful views of the valley, but the real treats are just the other side of the 8.7km predator-exclusion fence, protecting three square kilometres of regenerating bush, some of it over a century old, containing reintroduced native birds, tuatara and skinks. Among the birds you are likely to encounter are tomtit, South Island riflemen, grey warbler, brown creeper, saddleback, bellbird, tui, fantail and kaka.

You can take a self-guided walk through the sanctuary, but will learn (and probably see) more on a guided tour with the freedom to roam afterwards. Either drive here (30min from Dunedin) or come on a wildlife tour (see Dunedin and Otago Peninsula nature tours). No public buses visit.

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