New Zealand 2013/​14 — Tiritiri Matangi Island

On one of the last days in New Zealand, D’s fam­ily friends took us out on their yacht to Tiritiri Matangi Island. Auckland is nick-named the ‘city of sails’, and rightly so, because there is an enorm­ous num­ber of yachts in the area com­pared to the size of its pop­u­la­tion.

To kick things off, the water at the Gulf Harbour Marina is the most gor­geous mix of green/​blue –

I’d only been on fer­ries pre­vi­ously, so a yacht was a new exper­i­ence. It turns out that the smal­ler size of a yacht com­pared to a ferry and rough con­di­tions make me feel sea sick. You learn some­thing new every day! Aside from that, sail­ing is a mil­lion times more com­plic­ated than I ever ima­gined!

After sail­ing for 90 minutes, we’d reached Tiritiri Matangi Island. We needed to leave the yacht out from the shore, so we had to climb into a tiny dinghy to get to shore. Being someone who likes sol­id ground, I was very weary of climb­ing into the dinghy from the yacht in the middle of the ocean. But I stayed dry!

The trans­par­ent, crys­tal blue col­our of the water sur­round­ing the island was abso­lutely breath­tak­ing. It’s the kind of blues you see in travel bro­chures that you’re nev­er quite sure exists in Real Life. But exist they do. The view is so spec­tac­u­lar whichever way you turn on this island that it’s almost effort­less to get beau­ti­ful shots.

There’s not much of a sandy beach on this island, though. In place of what’s usu­ally sand are frag­ments of shells — walk­ing bare­foot on the shore is prob­ably not recom­men­ded.

Tiritiri Matangi Island is espe­cially noted for its bird life, and as part of a res­tor­a­tion pro­ject, nest­ing shore­birds that are threatened with extinc­tion, such as the kia tup­ato below, have an area fenced off to avoid vis­it­ors dis­turb­ing them. Of else, else­where, you can also get signs warn­ing you that the birds can also dis­turb you.

And then there is the sea gull I saw pad­dling along cas­u­ally. Probably less rel­ev­ant to the res­tor­a­tion pro­ject?

We explored the south end of the island that day. At the top of the south end is a light house. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open to the pub­lic. Next to it is a tower that you can climb up to get pan­or­amic views of the area sur­round­ing the island.

The area sur­round­ing the island is pretty much ocean for as far as the eye can see. There is the odd excep­tion of an island here and there in the dis­tance, though. And so, I leave you with the view towards Rangitoto Island from the walk up to the top of the south end of the island –