New Zealand Day Nineteen: Auckland: A Day On Tiritiri Matangi Island
I woke up early my first morning in Auckland. I wanted to get a quick walk in before my tour of Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ferry was scheduled to leave at 9 a.m. I was disappointed when I looked out my window to find it was raining. Instead of walking in the rain before my 8 hour tour to the island, I edited some photos and had a nice breakfast buffet at the hotel.
I had my rain gear ready for my day on Tiritiri Matangi island. Fortunately, the clouds broke around 8;30 a.m. and the forecast now called for a sunny day. I walked to Pier 4 next to my hotel to board the ferry for 1 1/4 hour trip to the island.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a protected nature preserve where endangered native species of bird are being reintroduced. We were required to brush our shoes and to check backpacks and other gear for rodents before we left the pier.
Once again our captain provided us with information on the harbor, the island and the region as we cruised through beautiful Waitemata Harbor.
It turned out to be a beautiful day. nature even provided us with a rainbow over the harbor as we left the hustle and bustle of Auckland behind.
Clouds and sunshine made for a beautiful day to be on the ocean. We made a brief stop at the pier at Gulf Bay to pick up a few more passengers. Here is a link to some more photographs from my cruise to Tiritiri Matangi Island. New Zealand Day Nineteen Cruise to Island February 24 2019
Upon arriving on the island we were given an orientation on the islands history by a park ranger.
We then separated into three groups and each assigned a volunteer guide.
Our guide, a retired gentleman from England, was informative, friendly and very good at finding the many species of bird that lives on the island. We saw this bell bird as soon as we set out on our hike through the woodlands of the island.
We walked along the shore, taking in the magnificent scenery, while learning about the flora and fauna of the island.
Our guide informed us of the efforts that have been made to re-forest the island. We learned about the native plants and how the provide food for the birds on the island.
As we walked continued our hike under a grove of ancient trees we learned how a large portion of the island was once farmland. These old patches of forest survived the farming and grazing because of the streams flowing nearby.
In the early 1980’s a park was established. Native trees were planted, and, most importantly, the rat population and other invasive predators were eradicated. This eradication allowed the introduction of native species including the endangered kiwi. We didn’t see any of these nocturnal birds on our hike. We did however see, and hear, a number of other species of birds. It was hard to photograph them in the thick underbrush. I was able to get some photos including this noisy tui.
We also saw a few kereru flying through the trees tops , some New Zealand robins and this New Zealand kingfisher.
We were also introduced to some of the local insects.
The three-hour hike took us through the forest and up into the former farmland. There was an intensive effort to re-plant native trees and plants on the former farmlands.
The late summer sun was getting intense and we were glad to end our informative tour at the visitor center for the Tiritiri Matangi nature preserve.
I had a cup of tea and then roamed the grounds near the old lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1864. It is the oldest lighthouse still in operation in New Zealand and was once the most powerful lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere.
While taking in the spectacular views of the ocean from the lighthouse I was fortunate to watch a group of the rare and endangered takahe birds walk out into the field next to the lighthouse.
These birds were once thought to be extinct. A few were found on the South Island and were reintroduced here on Tiritiri Matangi and other area of New Zealand. While still endangered they now about 300 birds in New Zealand.
We had about an 1 1/2 hours to spend at the visitor center and to make our way back down to the pier for our return to Auckland. After watching the takahes I decided to follow the Wattle Trail down to the pier.
I took in views of the ocean and tree covered hills as I walked under the trees of the forest.
I saw a lot of birds including this beautiful stitchbird. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs of birds I saw on the island. New Zealand Day Nineteen island birds February 24 2019.
It was now late afternoon when I made it down to the shore of the island. The ferry arrived and my wonderful day on Tiritiri Matangi island ended.
The memories of this beautiful place will always remain with me. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike. New Zealand Day Nineteen Tiritiri Matangi hike.
It was almost 6 p.m. when I returned to Auckland. It was a long day and I was tired and hungry. I discovered one of the best restaurants in Auckland, the Fish , was located in my hotel. I had a nice dinner here as I reflected on my visit to Tiritiri Matangi Island and the effort to preserve the native flora and fauna of New Zealand. It was another busy and wonderful day on the North Island.
“The Earth is what we all have in common.”