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Published: March 23rd 2009
No boat trip is complete without a view of the Auckland CBD skyline. Lovely, isn't it?
For Christmas this year, Glynn and I received a wonderful present from our friends Liz and Allard - two tickets for a trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island complete with guided walk. We've been itching to go and this weekend we had no firm plans beyond dinner with our new French friend, Cecile, on friday night. We left it too late to book for Saturday morning so had a lazy day at home and instead booked for Sunday.
It was an early start for a Sunday - up at 6.30am, on the road at 7.30am and down at Auckland Harbour in plenty of time for 8.30am boarding. The weather forecast earlier in the week had been for scattered showers but upon depature, there was nothing but blue sky overhead. Despite the sunny conditions, it was too cold in the breeze to stand on deck for long so after a couple of obligatory snaps of the Auckland skyline, we made our way inside. We chatted to a friendly group of older ladies who meet up once a month to go somewhere together and within no time, we found ourselves docked at Gulf Harbour picking up and dropping off a few passengers. Then
Life on the Ocean Waves
Glynn enjoys the sunny skies and calm seas on thre way to Tiri.
it was back out to sea again and we arrived at the island (ooh, when I say that it sounds like an episode of Lost!) around 1.5 hours after setting off from the CBD.
Before staring our guided walk, we were given a brief 'dos and don'ts' spiel by the DOC Ranger and then we were grouped with a DOC volunteer who would be taking us on our guided walk. We got to choose our volunteer and I made a beeline straight for a lady called Olga who was wearing orange shorts and had her hair in 2 plaits like Pippi Longstocking. She looked like she would be a fun guide and we weren't disappointed.
Tiritiri Matangi Island (Tiri for short) is a wildlife reserve where local volunteers have spent the last 20 or so years replanting the once barren island with native plants and trees. The idea was to create a natural habitat from some of New Zealand's native birds who have been struggling to keep up their numbers. As we walked along the gentle path through the bush and along the shore, we were treated to the sight and sound of many wonderful birds including saddlebacks,
Look closely in the sea and you will see some crazy people in kayaks paddling out in the middle of the sea! It's actually quite a common sight here!
stitchbirds, bellbirds, tuis, robins, NZ pigeons (a bit like wood pigeons and nothing like the kind you get at Trafalgar Square!) green parakeets and fantails. I'm not much of a bird watcher but it was a lovely experience to be so close to the birds and have an informed guide to tell us all about them.
The island is also home to Little Blue Penguins, Little Spotted Kiwis and Tuatara (a kind of lizard) but alas there was no-one home as we went by. Our friendly, chatty guide took us as far as the lighthouse where we stopped for lunch and then had time to make our own way back to the boat. Eating lunch was entertaining as there are a number of takahe birds that wander around and steal your food while you're not looking. Takahe look like chunkier versions of my favourite NZ bird, the pukeko, only these birds are much cleverer and far cheekier! They have mastered the art of sneaking up to your bags and checking inside for munchies. Unfortunately for them , they are rather big, bulky birds and are very easily spotted and shooed away! One of the takahe got his leg caught
First good look of the island.
in a plastic bag and was panicking so I dutifully tracked down a DOC volunteer to help free the poor creature. Not very bright at all!
At 3.15pm it was time to board the boat back again and we were sternly reminded on arrival that if you miss the boat, you can't stay on the island and have to pay a small fortune for a water taxi back to the mainland. Needless to say, everyone made it back in time! It's possible to stop at the island if you have your own boat and I was shocked to see just how many yachts were moored up in the bay when we left. There's only one little swimming beach on the island and I for one wouldn't want to sail all that way and share it with so many people!
The whole day was really lovely and I would recommend it to anyone heading out this way. Tours are run by 360 Discovery and you don;t have to pay for the guided walk if you fancy making your own way around this pretty little piece paradise just 20 km north of Auckland. I for one will definitely be going
The crew of our boat were lucky enough to stay the whole day docked at Tiri. Nice job!
back again somtime :-)
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