Today we are going to explore the wildlife wonderland that is Tiritiri Matangi!
This morning before we start our activity of the day we’re having a mandatory coffee cos you know, we’re in Auckland, just before heading to the Auckland Central Downtown Ferry Building.
Yep this morning we are boarding on the ferry. We can actually not spend time in the City of Sails without jumping on the water so we are jumping onto one of the Fullers Discovery 360 toward the little island of Tiritiri Matangi.
The island of Tiritiri Matangi is a bird paradise but we’ll tell you a little bit more of that later, for now, let’s enjoy the cruise. We get to see the most stunning views of the Auckland Harbour. We get to see Rangitoto Island which is an extinct volcano right on the shore of Auckland Central and an amazing day hike if you guys have a little bit of time.
And as we are approaching the island of Tiritiri Matangi we already can hear the sound of birds. This island is bound to impress us.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a pest free island meaning that introduced predators like stoats, rabbits, possums all that sort of thing that would threaten native bird species have been eradicated from this island making this an absolute haven for birds.
As soon as we arrive for Tiritiri Matangi everyone is heading for the narrow walking tracks surround in native bush but Robin and I decide to take one of the tracks that are less populated with people figuring that we would see more birds cos it’s a quieter area and that’s exactly what happens. Straight away there are so many different birds flying above us we can see all the bushes around us rustling there are even a few birds on the floor at our feet. This place really has a lot to offer as soon as you enter the island.
It’s crazy how alive the forest is with bird calls. Melodic sounds are echoing all around us it’s an amazing place to be, and we even spot a few birds on the ground which actually we have no idea what they are, if you do know what they are stick them in the comments below, but on our information sheet that we got off the ferry these birds weren’t actually listed on them but they’re really interesting to watch anyway.
Our attention is quickly drawn to high up in the trees above us because we can hear some really crazy sounds coming from the tui birds.
On top of the tui birds we also see a saddleback, we actually only saw saddleback once in New Zealand during our 365 days on the road that should tell you how rare that bird is, however a bird that is not rare is the fantail. Called piwakwaka in Maori this fantail is in every single forested area in New Zealand and there is no way you’re gonna miss it. And on top of all those birds we see some bellbirds. Tiritiri Matangi is really famous for bellbirds there is really heaps of them everywhere. Although the tui is probably the most vocal one, the bellbird get their name cos they also have a really fun song. They are usually a bird smaller and green and they actually behave a lot in clicks so that means there is a tonna of bellbirds actually travelling through the forest together.
While making our way along the side track we stumble upon a feeding station it’s a really well designed station which only allows birds of a certain size to get access to the food, and there we actually spot a hihi or stitchbird. This black and yellow and white bird which is super rare, we have never seen one in New Zealand we are so impressed. But surrounding it there is also heaps of bellbirds which are ganging together to get the food out of the hihi’s mouth.
They were not joking when they said this is a bird sanctuary for New Zealand native birds on Tiritiri Matangi, we are absolutely blown away by the amount of birds we are already seeing just only track that’s only meant to take us about 15 minutes but it’s more taking us about 2 hours.
We’re stopping every two seconds to watch all the bird activity around us.
What’s probably more impressive is that this is only a 75 minute ferry trip from Auckland city centre. I can’t believe that only this morning we were in the middle of the urban jungle and now we are in native forest surrounded by all this wildlife.
The reason Tiritiri Matangi is so populated with birds is cos there’s a lot of conservation things going on on the island and that’s why a lot of these birds have these little colourful bands around their legs that’s to tell different individuals and see where they are from and to help scientists and conservationists in their conservation effort.
However there is more to Tiritiri Matangi than the birds, for instance, there’s a lot of different walking tracks to various different beaches and viewpoints if you want to get some different sort of scenery, also there’s some historic sights like a lighthouse which we’re gonna show you quickly a little bit later, plus if you want to do a guided tour of the island that usually takes about 90 minutes and volunteers do these guided walks from the wharf once you get off your ferry.
But speaking of that lighthouse just a little bit further up the track until we get to this huge magnificent white lighthouse.
So over there is the Shakespear Regional Park which is a protected area in Auckland it’s an absolutely epic place to visit ton of birds as well, and a ton of walks, so it’s another one of the hidden gems in auckland.
But to be quite honest since we took so long to make our way up toward the lighthouse we decide to leave almost straight away the lighthouse to make our way back down to the ferry taking some more pictures and we also want to take the time to see some more birds, we decide to make our way back down through a different track this one if the Wattle Track. And let me tell you about how we get to see so many birds and how we get so many awesome pictures and videos of those birds.
Basically we actually take our time. As soon as we see a spot where we think it’s gonna be really prone to bird presence like for example this water hole, we actually take the time to sit down in silence and give it about 10 minutes it usually doesn’t take that long for birds to gather around since they see no danger in us since we are not moving and they actually start behaving like they were doing in the wild.
For instance we only spent about 10 minutes in front of this very specific water hole and we saw a few female bellbirds coming to drink, we saw a massive wood pigeon which is called a kereru in Maori it’s really awesome bird, and we see a tui and I even get a chance to place a camera underwater to see it actually drink it’s so awesome how close we got to those amazing animals.
But on Tiritiri Matangi there is actually a catch, you don’t want to be stranded on the island without the ferry so we have to actually keep moving and start making our way back toward the ferry.
Along the way, we get into some much denser bush and we get to see even more different birds.
In this section of the forest we get to see a lot more of those native birds that tend to forage on the forest floor. For instance we see this super cute North island robin and it is sort of taking all the bugs that we are upturning on the soil with every footstep that we’re taking, and it sort of hopping behind us to get those bugs. That’s why it’s pretty important if you are looking out for birds to have a look behind you every so often.
As we continue on the Wattle Track, we see more watering stations with birds taking a bath which is super fun to watch, we see more birds where we think this is the first time we’re seeing them as well in New Zealand, this is a whitehead it’s super amazing to see lots of different birds that we’ve never seen before.
We even got a glimpse at the kakariki which is a New Zealand native parrot, but we’re not done just yet, there is ton more birds to see and a ton more animals here is a giant weta, when you actually scavenge a little bit on the dead leave of a massive fern you often find those massive insects which are the largest insects to be found in New Zealand mainland.
All in all, Tiritiri Matangi Island is super close to Auckland and it’s a bird paradise you will see so much wildlife you won’t regret it.
Guys today is gonna be pretty FORKing epic…