Tiritiri Magic!Beginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Jon Turner
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Beginner - Intermediate
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If this is your first time visiting I highly recommend taking a guided walk along the Wattle track as you will get to learn some information about the history of the island as well as the flora and fauna - plus you are quite likely to see / hear Bellbirds, Hihi, Tieke and Tui! Also, make sure you take a packed lunch - no food is available for sale on the island.
Start from the lighthouse facing towards Auckland city. Head out on the grassland toward the southern point of the island. There currently is a group of 4 Takahe that commonly hang out in this open grassy area. Loop around at the far end of the island then head back up to the lighthouse.
Come up the right hand side of the lighthouse and follow the grassy track around in front of the bach, marked with a sign saying 'link track to East Coast track." This track is full of magic views and beaches, all of which have some "must-see" features. Fisherman's Bay is particularly worth stopping the watch and having a look around - especially 'the arches' at the northern end of it.
Continue along the East Coast track soaking up the views and suprising Kakariki parrots out of the scrub. Once you reach the intersection , head right down the Northeast track. Follow this till the "Northeast bay" sign, taking the sharp switchback next to the viewing seat. This takes you down to the beach then across a wooden bridge and back up to join the trail. Carry on till you come out at the Papakura pa, the northernmost point of the island.
Head back the way you came but this time carry on down the ridge track. If you are short of time (don't forget the ferry leaves at 3:30!) you can head straight back along this road.
We are going to head along it till we turn left onto the Kawerau track. Head into the forest and take the track on the left, running through some old forest filled with Kokako, Hihi and Kereru. This track loops back up to the ridge track, take the loop back to the beginning of the Kawerau track and this time turn right. The track takes you down to Hobbs' Beach, which can be home to Tuatara and Little blue penguins. This leads you on to Hobbs' Beach track, which takes you to the wharf.
Head up the Wattle Track which takes you back up to the visitor centre, where you can get a free coffee and tea, as well as purchase some great memorabilia.
Features of interest
Set on the first pest-free island in NZ, stunning views of the Hauraki gulf. Native birds galore as well as maritime history. This route takes you past many different habitats and you are guaranteed to see birdlife you won't see on the mainland. The lighthouse was at one point the most powerful in the world!
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 80%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%
Gravel Road: 10%
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Start from the lighthouse at the visitor centre. If this is your first time visiting I highly recommend taking a guided walk along the Wattle track as you will get to learn some information about the history of the island as well as the flora and fauna - plus you are quite likely to see / hear Bellbirds, Hihi, Tieke and Tui!
360 Discovery ferries run from Downtown Auckland and Gulf Harbour. There is free parking available at Gulf Harbour (and a much shorter ferry trip).
On the east coast track, most intersections you will want to take the 'right hand' turn. Sometimes this will take you out to a dead-end - one with a beautiful view and a seat!
You can choose the way you want to go down the Kawerau track - don't fret too much about doing the loop 'wrong' as there are signs all along the route.
If you ever do get lost, heading up to the Ridge Road will take you to the 'main road', along which there are maps at regular points.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Water available at the Visitor centre only.
Can get exposed in places so watch out for wind on the East Coast track. Some of the tracks can get slippery due to leaf litter.
Do NOT go off-track - you could endanger native wildlife and interfere with researchers.
Post run indulgence
Tiritiri Visitors Centre
Run by the supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, all proceeds go to the island.
If you can, try to stay the night. You have the chance to see much more birdlife when the place isn't thronged with people!
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