5 reasons to visit Tiritiri Matangi Island
- The Takehe
The Takehe, with its rotund shaped butt like our beloved Kiwi was once thought to be extinct and it’s no wonder. Round and flightless, this bird doesn’t go much faster than me.
I thought it might be related to the Kiwi, but it’s actually from the same family as the pukeko with a similar distinctive red beak and colouring.
Walking back to the wharf after a fabulous guided tours from one of the volunteers, I came across this hungry Takehe on the Kawerau Track. I sat in the long grass and watched him eat for over 30 minutes. He was completely unperturbed with my presence and came well within a metre of me.
- The Kokako
The Kokako is a draw card to the island and is very rare. Although we did not see one we did hear its distinctive birdsong reported to be the most beautiful in the world.
However, we did also see the Stitchbird, Saddleback and two of these New Zealand native pigeons with breast plume almost emerald-green.
The island vibe is good
Tititiri Matangi Island is a delight to visit because from the moment you hop onto the ferry you feel part of the Tiri family, caring for our endangered species. There were as many as 15 volunteers on the ferry (all travelling free thanks for Fullers) many of them elderly but very fit and sprightly. They give up their time on a regular basis to guide groups, as well as many large school groups and share their knowledge.
Visiting Tiritiri Matangi Island is free and this generous vibe radiates the island. With the laughter of the school kids ringing through the bush I could hear the volunteers telling the kids to hush and listen to the bird song, as though they were their own grandchildren.
There were two guided tours going in different directions from the wharf but both end up at the 150 year old light house and Visitors Centre where tea and coffee are provided free of charge.
There wouldn’t be many places in the world less commercial and more welcoming than Tiritriri Matangi Island.
If you are a walker there are some great, well-marked tracks around the island.
Wattle Track loop (1 hour)
Kawerau Track loop (3 hours)
Island Loop (4 hours – reasonable fitness required)
- Overnight accommodation
While I didn’t stay on the island a bunk house can be booked for overnight stays www.doc.govt.nz however, the facility has limited availability as it is primarily used by volunteers and researches.
Fullers 360 degree discover cruises run a service to the island costing $70 return.
Volunteers sell a brochure on Tirtiri Matangi on the ferry over to the island, which is well worth purchasing for $1. Also, the guided work can be booked on-line for $10 (with your ticket). All proceeds go to support the island admits conservation work.
Note: Tititiri Matangi is a special sanctuary for rare wildlife and is also a scientific reserve. There are no introduced pests making it a very safe environment for the endangered species so it is imperative you check your bags are free of rodents and insects. No open bags are allowed in the ferry and all food must be packed in sealed containers