The Waipu river mouth and estuary has international significance as a nesting area for New Zealand Dotterel, Variable Oyster Catcher and New Zealand Fairy Tern. Reef Heron, Ryebill, Caspian Tern and Banded Dotterel also nest in and visit the area; and all are protected, rare or threatened species. You can reach the river mouth and estuary by walking North along the beach from Waipu Cove; or drive for five minutes to Johnson’s Point, which is at the centre of the Waipu Wildlife Reserve on the Estuary side.
There are also Wildlife Refuges:
Please take extra care in these areas during the summer nesting season, as many of these rare birds next directly on the sand and their eggs are very difficult to see. In addition, if you disturb a nest, the adult birds may not return, resulting in the eggs not hatching or chicks dying.