More info He pārongo atu anōVisit website
Meet the island’s resident wildlife and marvel at the splendour of nature along one of its many trails. For a full circuit, take the three-hour loop track with views out to Rangitoto island, Hauturu/Little Barrier Island, and Coromandel. If a shorter stroll is what you’re after, venture along the coastline to Hobbs Beach; the perfect place to stop for a picnic and a dip in the Pacific Ocean. Pack your snorkel and mask to explore the underwater world. You can even swim over to a small island a couple of hundred metres offshore.
Tiritiri Matangi has a rich history reaching hundreds of years into the past. Visit two ancient Māori pā sites, which were once a fortified villages built by the island’s earliest settlers. Like much of the mainland, by the 1800s Tiritiri Matangi was used for cattle and sheep farming. During this time, the famous Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse was built – once the most powerful in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, it stands tall as New Zealand’s oldest operating representation alongside a watchtower, lighthouse keepers’ cottages, and a diaphonic foghorn. To delve deeper into the island’s maritime history, ask to see the museum at the Visitor Centre, where you can also purchase a cold drink. No food is sold on the island, so make sure you come prepared or buy some on the ferry over.
The farming landscapes of the 1800s were transformed in the late 20th century when a group of volunteers joined forces with Auckland University and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to restore swathes of native forest. Over the next decade, they planted 280,000 native trees and shrubs, demonstrating the power of community conservation in action and shaping the island into the sanctuary we see today.
The lighthouse keepers’ cottages are not only a piece of European history, but an opportunity to extend your stay. Book in advance to spend the night in the 15-bunk accommodation, equipped with cooking essentials, bathrooms, and hot showers. After the sun sets, look out for resident kiwi, before waking up to the spellbinding sounds of the dawn chorus.
With a plethora of activities to choose from and a unique opportunity to see rare wildlife in nature, Tiritiri Matangi is a hidden gem that can’t be missed.
Location Te wāhi
Tiritiri Matangi IslandPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Hop on a 75-minute Explore Group ferry from Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. Ferries run all year round, Wednesday to Sunday. Kayaks and private boats are welcome to dock at Hobbs Beach.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
Look out for kororā (little penguin) boxes at the side of the Hobbs Beach track. During winter and spring, you can lift the inspection lids to peek at the nesting birds.