Tiritiri Matangi Island
Ok this isn’t really a tramp as such, but there’s plenty of walking & nature n stuff.
The tracks are very well maintained & are either concrete gravel, boardwalk or short grass. There’s not really any mud about, but it’s full of heaps of cool rare & native birds that you don’t really get to see about in NZ that easily.
It’s pretty hard to keep track of times of the tracks, as we’re following our ears & eyes, going up tracks & back tracking as we make various sightings & hear different birdsong.
Head to Gulf Harbour Ferry Carpark. Here there’s plenty of free parking and also ferry tickets cost a tad less too. Tickets for this are obtained from 360 Discovery cruises. It’s best to book in advance as the number of people allowed (150) by DoC on the island at one time is limited .
From here the ferry is only about 15 minutes or so. Once at the wharf you’ll have the option of going along with a tour guide. We were tempted, but we prefer to move at our own pace.
We decide to walk around this island and we start off on the Hobbs Beach Track. It’s not long before we’re greeted by Greg, the 17 year old Takahe. We’ve never seen one of these cool looking birds before and he’s pretty friendly and doesn’t seem at all fussed about all the people about. We follow along this coastal walk looking over at the end of Whangaparoa Peninsula ( Shakespear Park) . The coastline on this island is fairly rocky with plenty of Flax & Kawakawa about. We approach an Intersection of Hobbs Track on our right & we head up there for a bit of a look & sight a couple of Saddlebacks.
We then back track on the Hobbs Beach Track & continue along the coast line. We come across Hobbs Beach & see that there’s a pretty good sandy spot for a swim and make a note to come later on. We pass by some loos and one of many unnamed tracks and this is also the end of the Hobbs Beach track and is now the start of the Kawerau Track. After a short while the track veers right & up into the bush. The bird song is a lot more frequent & louder in hear and the canopy is nice & thick giving off a lovely green hue. We pass an intersection on our left with wooden rails & seating area as we discover a nectar feeder with heaps of wee Stitchbirds (also known as Hihi) and some other ones we weren’t sure of, having a great time on the nectar.
After that we back track & then head up the junction and leaving the Kawerau Track. It’s not long before we come out of the bush and we come out at a grassy area at a T junction. We head right & towards the centre of the island & Ridge Road. It’s not long at all before we find the road & we continue north towards to top of the island. It’s not long before we find the Ngati Paoa Track.
There is less bush here bust great views all around. It’s more flax & scrub
at this stage and the track is gently heading downwards. We pass the
intersection on the left that heads towards the old Pa site and we start to
veer right towards Northeast Bay. This is a pretty rocky bay with a wee bit of beach & beautiful clear blue water. As we pass by the beach and this track now becomes East Coast Track. We head inland a bit curving right & we come across some ponds inhabited by Teal Ducks.
Afterwards we head upwards & hug the coast It’s not long before we’re quite high up & we’re looking down over the rocky clear blue water below . We come across a great elevated spot with long tussocky grass with views all around which we decide is the perfect lunch spot for Portuguese Sarnies & a nice cuppa.
Refuelled we continue walking by the cliffs & pass by the dramatic rocky Pohutukawa Cove. We continue our path around the island spotting various cool stuff and after about an hour from lunch we approach Fishermans bay, but just before it we see a sign for The Arches –Caution Low Tide Only . Being curious we head down towards the sign & follow the arrow left. This takes us an a narrow natural ‘bridge’. Looking behind us where the sign is , is also over a kind of tunnel. Once over the “bridge” we see a kind of inlet down below on our left. We scramble down the bank & we’re now underneath the rocky “bridge” which is actually a wee system of caves down here. We walk as far as the sea allows us, as it wasn’t low tide & had a look about. In low tide you’d be able to head right & walk to Fishermans Bay.
Anyway we head back up & backtrack head up the hill & pass by some cool looking rocks of Fishermans Bay. After a while we pass by some more ponds past Emergency Landing & after a while we pass grassy flats & then we see the light house with a few pukekos about & just around from there is the information centre. We stop by , have a wee look around & grab a free cuppa. There’s also another nectar feeder outside with quite a few Tuis having a party. This is the closest we’ve ever got to a Tui and their colouring is quite remarkable.
From here we continue in our clockwise direct & head down the Wattle track. This passes through deep green bush, another birdfeeder (this one have Stitchbirds / Hihi’s) and than a wooden seating area, then back to the wharf. Noting we had plenty of time we back tracked along the coast to Hobbs beach for a nice swim.
Total loop time about 4 hours –really taking our time to soak it
Level of Difficulty
4 hours (Summer 2012)