Tiritiri Matangi Island Travel Guide
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Things to Do
Hobbs Beach, Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Pack your togs!
Pack your togs (swimsuit) if you visit Tiri in the summer. Hobbs Beach is the only sandy beach I am told, but it is a little stunner, as you can see.
Spotting the locals.
One of the main reasons to visit Tiritiri Matangi is to see rare New Zealand wildlife. Our islands have no native mammals, apart from bats and dolphins. So, our birds have developed to fill all sorts of niches. In this picture, you can see a Hihi - or Stichbird. I had never...
Some extensive grassy areas, especially along the highest parts of the island, were allowed to remain unforested to provide habitat for grassland species like the Takahe.They also seem to provide favoured picnicing areas for day-trippers!
Forests now cover 60% of the island, providing habitat to most of the bird species.Much of this forest is the result of extensive reforestation efforsts by volunteers some 20 yeears ago and is therefore still somewhat low and doesn't look completely natural.Still it is...
Another very rare New Zealand endemic which has been reintroduced to Tiritiri, this shy, drab brown bird is resident and breeding at certain water-holes scattered on the island. It is usually seen resting under the vegetation at the water's edge. If you can't find any by...
This species has been introduced to New Zealand from Australia, and why it has been allowed to remain on Tiritiri is a bit of a mystery to me - I guess it was judged to be harmless.In any case, while usually a shy species, this quail can sometimes be observed quite close-up...
These beautiful birds are now very rare on the main islands of New Zealand, but have fared better on off-shore islands with no predators. They still had to be reintroduced to Tiritiri, and were in fact the first birds to be released here. There are now a fair number of them...
New Zealand Pigeon
Anther endemic that has done relatively well on the mainland too, this large pigeon, like the Tui has actually survived on Tiritiri without having to be reintroduced.Still, it is somewhat scarce and elusive on the island, and you will have to watch out for it!It is usually...
New Zealand Robin
This endemic species is still found in good numbers in forests even on the main islands of New Zealand, but some birds from the North Island subspecies have been reintroduced to Tiritiri all the same. They may not look like much in their drab gray feathers, but are still fun...
Another great endemic rarity, the Saddleback has also become extinct on the mainland, with the last native populations surviving on Hen Island off Northland, a few islets off Stewart Island. The birds on Tiritiri are descendants of the Hen Island birds, representing the...
A relatively small but still quite colorful species easily seen in the forests throughout the island, the Stitchbird is another New Zealand endemic that has fared so badly in the past that it has become extinct on the mainland, with the last population surviving on remote...
There is no restaurant on the island, and you can only buy soft drinks and perhaps snacks in the souvenir shop. You should bring food for the duration of your visit with you, and it should be in a rodent-safe container!
Those staying overnight will have to cook for yourselves in the Bunkhouse which has a fully-equipped kitchen.
Written Sep 8, 2006
Getting to the island
Unless you have your own boat or are ready to hire one, the only way to reach Tiritiri Matangi is by the Kawau Kat hydrofoil service that leaves Auckland for the island via Gulf Harbour daily in high season, or five times weely in low season.
Fares are under 60 NZD RT, with discounts for students, backpackers, seniors and children.
There is a small surcharge for those who plan to stay overnight, therefore return on a different day. If you belong to the latter category, the company will check if you have booked accomodation before selling you a ticket.
While it is advised that you book in advance, in much of the year, away from public holidays and weekends, you could actually just show up on the morning of departure and get your ticket.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Books & Souvenirs
There is a good souvenir shop near the lighthouse.
It sells an excellent range of books about New Zealand's nature, including the best field guides. There are also more usual souvenirs like postcards, toys and handpainted ceramics featuring the island's birdlife. Prices are reasonable and profits go towards conservation, so do spend your money there!
Updated Sep 11, 2006
Miscellaneous: As nature, particularly birds are the main attraction here, anyone with an interest in them will want to have a guide to identify what is encountered.
Many good guides are sold in the souvenir shop, so have a look through them.
Of course, you may already want to have one in hand when you arrive.
If thinking of ordering one online, for birds (the main attraction) "The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand" is the best bet for field use.
Written Sep 8, 2006
Tiritiri is not all about birds!To me, perhaps the main highlight here was seeing the tuataras, New Zealand's most unique reptiles in their natural environment.These are very ancient reptiles, often called the closest living relatives of dinosaurs.Like many of the rarer...
Little Spotted Kiwi
The real prize among Tiritiri's birds is the one day-trippers almost never see.Like all kiwis, this species is nocturnal and therefore to see it you will have to stay overnight, go looking for it with a torch - and be lucky!On my first night on the island we saw none, also...
Swimming & Snorkelling
While most peope come here for the nature, I was surprised to see that the island's beaches actually attract some beach-lovers, mostly arriving by private boats.While it would be a real pity to see ONLY the beaches here, actually they are not bad either.If you are staying...
Surprise, surprise!Birdwatching is the most popular activitiy here.And if you are new to it, you will be pleased to hear that you could hardly have it easier.Birds are everywhere, and most species are pretty tame, too.The trail up to the lighthouse leads through good forest...
Favorite thing: Visitors arriving by the Kawau Kat will receive a short briefing on arrival, and be offered the option to join a dirt cheap guided walk for just 5 NZD.
Those poking around on their own will find informative interpretation boards and trail-maps along the tracks in the western part of Tiritiri.
For more detailed information on the island, visit its website:
Written Sep 8, 2006
Explore Deeper into Tiritiri Matangi Island