A 25min ferry ride through clear blue water from Gulf Harbour in Auckland takes you to my favourite place, the island named “Tiritirimatangi” where up to 150 visitors come per day to visit.
It was a stroke of luck that the blue skies were as bright as the harbours water we came across. The sunflower sun was gleaming down through a cloudless sky.
Arriving you hear birdlife twittering among the trees. This place, covering 220 Hectares is now a Bird Sanctuary but once was a farm. Volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees to re-forest 60% of the island as a haven for wildlife. 40% was left as grassland for species like the Takahe. Pohutukawa is the main tree on the island. Taraire, kohekohe, puriri and others were planted later.
Wildlife includes Tui, Silvereye, Little spotted Kiwi, Petrel, Shags, Morepork, Robin, Saddlebacks, Weta, Tuatara, Geckos and skinks.
Greg the Takahe is your first welcome when you arrive. Greg is very old but very friendly. His feathers might not glow as much as when he was younger but his friendship will. Greg comes right up to you but doesn’t like being touched.
A 3hr tour takes you around the island with a tour guide pointing out wildlife. Take your camera and Binoculars. The end of the guided walks takes you to the lighthouse towering over 21m tall. The cast iron lighthouse, built in 1864, is one of the oldest in the country. A souvenir shop is there. Accommodation is limited. You can become a DOC Ranger or volunteer to help at Tiritiri.
One of my favourite parts of Tiritiri is the beauty of the surrounding shallow water. It’s the perfect place for swimming and to have a picnic. When you get in, it’s rocky at first beneath your feet, but eventually it turns to smooth sand between your toes.
I love Tiritiri because it’s a great place to relax and learn interesting information about our NZ Wildlife.
We finished at the beach then sadly departed the island to hop aboard the boat on our way back home.