"Tiritiri Matangi: New Zealand's Nature Restored" Tiritiri Matangi Island by hunwagner

Tiritiri Matangi Island Travel Guide: 29 reviews and 30 photos

Tiritiri Matangi is a small island in the Harauki Gulf north of Auckland.
Many of the islands around here are popular destinations among day-trippers from the city, but Tiritiri is different from all of them. This is not really a place to come to have a picnic or a swim - though these can be done, too. Instead, those in the know, mostly New Zealanders and dedicated birdwatchers, come to the island to catch a glimpse of the New Zealand that has sadly largely vanished elsewhere: an island covered in native vegetation alive with the country's rare endemic bird species.

Much of New Zealand must once have been like this, but today the country's flora and fauna has been altered to an extent I have seen in few other countries. While the countryside still looks pretty, much of the indigenous vegetation and especially the unique fauna has in fact been replaced by agressively spreading, more competitive, introduced species. Many native species are already extinct, while others are extremely rare, and may only survive on remote, off-shore islands that have managed to escape the invasion.

The quirky fact about Tiritiri Matangi is that it has not always been the haven it is today. For a long time, this island was farmed too, and had been stripped of most of its native vegetation. But here the clock has been turned back. In 1980 Tiritiri was declared a scientific reserve, and since then the introduced pests were eradicated, much of the land has been replanted with native species of trees, and once the forests were back, native species of wildlife, mostly birds, were reintroduced to this restored environment.

The end result is unique: a restored piece of unspoilt nature, where forests of exclusively native trees are teeming with the country's rare, unique birds that visitors would be hard-pressed to spot elsewhere.
While it is not really "original" in the strict sense of the word, it is still the closest you can get to the natural paradise that New Zealand once was, and your only chance to see several very rare species "in the wild".

Yet for all its uniqueness, the island has somehow managed to escape the commercialization that has overtaken many of the country's other outstanding attractions. Most visitors here are still locals, the island is freely accessible to all, and even transport and accomodation are reasonably priced. And if you stay overnight you will find that once the day-trippers are gone, you have much of the island to yourself.

If you are any bit interested in nature in general, and birds in particular, this is one place not to be missed!

  • Last visit to Tiritiri Matangi Island: Dec 2005
  • Intro Updated Sep 8, 2006
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Reviews (27)

Comments (3)

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2007 at 9:57 PM

    oh you got a pic of a nz pigeon - I saw two of them once staying in the wairarapa - they have beautiful voices - did you know we called the tui the parson bird? fascinating page - thank you

  • nixca316's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2007 at 9:19 PM

    This looks like an interesting place...I inlcuded it in my custom travel guide =)

  • CeciliaL's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2006 at 7:07 AM

    Wow, it sounds like the Tuataras are really rare to have chips inplanted in the body!!

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