This weekend my friend and I decided to do a day trip to the Tiritiri Matangi Island that is located next to the Gulf Harbour. The island is also known as the Bird Island, because it represents a nature reserve for different kinds of native birds that are not common in Auckland City. You are able to take the ferry from Auckland to the Island, which took us about 80 minutes. During the ferry ride the boat had to fight against heavy waves that caused a major seasickness on board… More than one person vomited and we just fled on top of the boat, where we were on our own as a result of the strong wind on the upper deck.
After a short stop at Gulf Harbour we finally arrived on the Tiritiri Matangi Island after the rough ride. The whole boat was directly sorted in smaller groups and each group received an own guide, which were volunteers. The name of our guide was Ian and he told us that he already operates as an volunteer for over 20 years now. After 5 min of walking it already became clear that he was an absolute expert of the island and the bird life on there. He was able to recognize every bird voice and even if it was a young or older bird. Apart from the bird life on the island, we also learned a lot about the different native plants that grow on there.
My highlight was definitely when we saw a blue penguin in a breading station that was created by the volunteers. The Blue Penguin is the smallest penguin in the world and is only found on the coastlines of New Zealand and South Australia.In addition to that we also saw the New Zealand pigeon, the North Island sattleback,the Whitehead, the Bellbird, different sea birds and many more! I never thought I could be so fascinated by birds, but the bird life on there completely isolated from the civilization was absolutely amazing! The safety and the untouched habitat for the birds created the diversity of life there, because they don’t have any predator to worry about and can bread where ever they want to.
After a 3 and a half hours walk through literally the whole island we arrived at the lighthouse on top of the Tiritiri Matangi Island and at the same time our guided walk came to an end! We had a lunch break at the visitor center next to the light house and after that we had to rush back to the wharf because the ferry is only departing once a day from the island at 3.30 pm.
All in all, the trip to the quite unknown bird island was definitely one of the best experiences I made her so far… The volunteer work on the island that enables the access for the population is insane! Apart from the guided walks the volunteers are creating paths through the island, breading boxes for different kind of birds and feeding stations with sugar water in the case of food shortage! If I would have the opportunity I will definitely come back and explore the different breeds of birds even more!