Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip

Many New Zealanders are keen to put time and effort into conservation and regenerating Forests, Islands and saving our Native Birds and Animals from extinction. I was lucky enough recently to spend a wonderful day on Tiritiri  Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf North Island New Zealand.
TiriTiri Matangi Island is a perfect example of what can happen  when lots of keen conservation driven people put hundreds of hours of free time into clearing, and planting thousands of native trees in what was once cleared farm land, scrub and weed.Reverting an Island  back to its natural habitat is no easy task. Yet this Island has been transformed into a bird song paradise.
My first visit to Tiritiri was when I was just a kid and I remember walking up over the farmland to get to the Lighthouse so I jumped at the chance to revisit the Island again and was blown away by the change and how beautiful it is walking through the Native bush tracks and stopping to admire and listen to the many Native Birds. The Island goes on the must do list for anyone that has the chance I highly recommend a day trip to Tiritiri Matangi.

We Got The Tiri Kat from Gulf Harbour Whangaparoa.
You can get a ferry from Auckland or Gulf Harbour to the Island.

NZ Native Wood Pigeon

Bird Song,

                    Native Plants

                              and Beautiful Views.
 You Can Book A Guide

 I am of average fitness.I so not exercise everyday and I am certainly not super fit.I found the walking tracks easy and you stop many times on the track to listen and check out the birds so it is a pleasant hike to the lighthouse. When you book the ferry you can also book a guide for when you get to the Island which is what we did. There are some very special people that volunteer their time and come to the Island to guide groups up to the Light House pointing out the different Native plants, birds and Island History  along the way.

To make the walk even more enjoyable we kindly had the offer of having out packs taken to the lighthouse for us so we did not need to carry any weight. All you need to keep with you is a bottle of water and a camera and you set off so if you pack an extra heavy picnic its ok and your bags will be waiting at the top when you get there. There is something very relaxing walking through Kiwi bush and it was wonderful to spot birds that I had never seen before the bush was alive with birdsong.

The birds that I got to see were Bellbirds, Whitehead, Tui's, Wood Pigeon, Riflemen, and Takahe, There is quite a variety of birds that have been taken to the Island and so it really is a bird watchers paradise.

Tiritiri Light House Check out the History of the Tiritiri Lighthouse

Once you reach the top and make it to the lighthouse this is the place to enjoy a packed picnic lunch check out the gift shop and visitors centre then relax and admire the views.
A great day out.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Visit To Matakohe Kauri Museum

Spend a Day At The Museum

One of the great things about NZ is the early history from the Maori People to the Early settlers. The Kauri Trees and gum played a very big part in the early days and so when I was offered a chance to return to the Kauri Museum I could not wait.
This museum is one place where you could easily spend a day. There is so much to look at and I will never say no to a return visit.

Yes put this on the must do list  for anybody travelling in the the North of the North Island New Zealand.Take a picnic or enjoy the cafes.

The Matakohe Museum 

Takes you into the History of The Kauri and the Gum diggers extensively and you can relive the story as you walk through and view Kauri, equipment, apparel, housing, machinery, replica  sawmills, photos and written history documents.You will be amazed by the beauty of the huge gum collection, furniture and boats made from Kauri. You will view the worlds largest Kauri Slab(22.5mtrs)You quickly realise how hard the lives of the early pioneers must have been.
The Museum also houses a life sized replica boarding house that you can walk through.
The Museum is large and you need to allow plenty of time so you don't miss anything.

Some museums are old and dusty and you walk around and just think oh yeah. Well I have to tell you this museum is the best I have seen. It engages you from the start. There is so much to see and visiting the Museum is a memorable and great way to enjoy a day with family and friends.

The Matakohe Museum is a approx. 1and 3/4 hr drive north from Auckland .Head North on the main Highway for approx 1 hr and 15mins and then turn off at the Brynderwyn SH-12 and travel towards Dargaville. Follow the signs.

Bay of Islands Tours

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Day At Tawharanui Regional Park

Photo taken Snells Beach Early Morning Easter 2012
Perfect Weather For The Long Weekend.

After getting through xmas and the cooler than average temperatures with lots of rain in the mix we have finally been treated in the North with the perfect weather for a long relaxing outdoor weekend over Easter.Even with my busy lifestyle I have made it to the beach for walks and  on Sunday we had a fantastic day at  Tawharanui Regional Park North of Auckland  (about one hour and 20 min drive North  Auckland) and the day was so warm that we even braved the cool sea and went for a lengthy  swim amoungst the blue glistening waves.

Tawharanui is a beautiful place to visit where you can camp and or go for day trips where you really need on a nice day over the weekend to pack a picnic and go early.Many other people have also discovered this Conservation Marine park and it can get busy on a fine day.
A Popular place for surfing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking or just sitting on the sand, having lunch under the shade of the trees or walking amoungst the rock pools or caves.
I had my camera with me most of the weekend and as usual I was out to get the perfect scenic shot.

Photos From A Day AT Tawharanui Regional Park

The following photos were all taken at Tawharanui.

I am no photographer and my photos are all taken on a second hand pocket sized digital camera but these photos do show the beauty of the park.A Great place to spend a day or two if you are lucky enough to camp there.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Kiwi Bush

The Magic Of Nature and Bush NZ

One of the many things that I love about New Zealand is the Kiwi Bush. I remember spending hours as a kid making huts and secret tracks down the back of my fathers property in the bush.

The biggest danger you face in the NZ bush is getting lost and the weather. The weather can change very quickly and can be wet and cold so the best thing is to go prepared for any weather, even is you are going on just an hours walk, stick to the walking tracks and tell someone where you are going and when you are expected back. Apart from those things and the odd wild boar ,deer or goat that are few and far between the bush here is really safe. No dangerous animals or snakes. No creepy crawlies that are out to cling on to you when you pass through rivers. Just beautiful trees, ferns and bird song and you enjoy nature at it's best.

Because I was born here I have had many opportunity to enjoy the bush and no we did not always stick to tracks and yes I have been lost ,twice but luckily I found my way out without involving a massive search party.
It is common to come upon creeks, pools and rivers.

My View of the NZ Bush.

The floor of the NZ bush is thick with fallen leaves and rotting moss covered fallen tree trunks and debris. You often find yourself stepping over the supplejack vine that can sometimes trip you up. There are Tree ferns ,Ponga, which grow from the forest floor up to 5 or 6 metres and grow through out the bush with Nikau  Palms, Flax, Cabbage Trees and Kauri Trees which are very slowly making a come back. You may see Puriri Trees or Rimu  Trees.To name just a few of the plants and trees that make up the NZ bush. You often  find plants and ferns have made a home in moss covered trucks and it is common to come across small creeks, waterfalls and pools. Fantails(birds often flutter in and out across your path and Tui's break into song as they dart in and out of the flax flower. The sunlight dances off the fern leaves, leaving a filtered patterned light across the path and the bush is a place where you can go and leave all your worries  behind.

 Nikau Palm grow throughout the NZ Bush

Flax plant 

A Young Kauri Tree

I was a little off the track when I took these photos but there are many great free walking tracks dotted throughout NZ and for all levels of fitness from 10 min walks to the extreme where you are out for a couple of days for the really experienced tramper. The smaller walks give you a good taste of the bush and are relaxing and enjoyable.
You may like to check out a Hub page I wrote on a day I spent in the Coromandel Bush I took the photos on this post on that walk. Click Here