Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary located 30km north east of central Auckland accessible by ferry.
The island boasts an impressive array of native birds from Kiwi to Kokako as well as breathtaking scenery. You can choose to take a guided tour or guide your self around the island. Highlights you must check out are Fishermans Bay and the Arches on the eastern side of the island as well as Hobbs Beach (a nice place to swim).
Travelling from Auckland or Whangaparaoa to Tiritiri Matangi, the typical ‘whitish’ cliffs of the Auckland area shine out in the sun. These are the familiar ‘Waitemata Group’ rocks. They are made up of mainly alternating layers of sandstone and mudstone, interspersed irregularly with thick beds of volcanic debris flows.
Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse is situated on Tiritiri Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It marks the approach to Auckland Harbour some 28 kilometres to the south.
Tiritiri Matangi is the oldest lighthouse still in operation in New Zealand. It was also the first lighthouse to be built by the Government. Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse is accessible to the public.
Tiritiri Matangi’s birdlife suffered greatly when the forests were cleared for pasture. Many species were forced to find new homes and food sources, and only the more resilient species remained, such as tūī, fantail, silvereye, grey warbler, bellbird and spotless crake.
Photo by Karl Howe
Between 1984 and 1994, 250,000 – 300,000 trees were planted by volunteers. The island is now 60% re-vegetated, the other 40% being left as grassland for such species as takahe, for views and to protect archaeological remains.
The trees planted were, in most cases, raised on Tiritiri Matangi from seeds collected on the island or nearby so as to maintain genetic purity.
The wattle trees in Wattle Valley were encouraged as they provide shade for seedlings and are also an excellent source of food in winter for such species as the honeyeaters.
The shop and visitor centre are located near the lighthouse. The shop sells a wide range of products including books, clothing, leadlight bird hangings, posters, jewellery, cards, native wildlife finger puppets, tea-towels, ceramic ware, fridge magnets, toiletries and many other lovely products.
Remember to bring plenty of food and water as there is none available to buy on the island and as the island is pest free make sure you don’t bring any pests with you.
The island is a must visit for those of all ages and has something for everyone.