Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the questions we are most often asked about a visit to Tiritiri Matangi. A brief summary of what happens on a visit will answer some of them, but if you would like more detail, go to the relevant question below.
Visitors to Tiritiri travel on the 360 Discovery ferry which leaves from Auckland and Gulf Harbour. The Ferry runs from Wednesdays through to Sundays each week with extra trips during holiday periods, though it may be cancelled at short notice due to weather or other circumstances (phone 09 916 224109 916 2241
after 7.00 am on the day of your trip to find out).
Because Tiritiri Matangi is a pest-free island, it is important to pay close attention to the biosecurity notices on display at the ferry terminals, and to listen closely to the biosecurity announcement on the ferry.
On arrival on the Island, visitors are given a short introductory talk by the Ranger, after which they are free to go on a guided walk, explore the tracks unguided, spend the day on the beach, or whatever. The guided walks end at the Visitor Centre near the Lighthouse, which is also a popular place to eat your packed lunch. The Visitor Centre has a gift shop, complementary tea and coffee for adults, and the public toilets are nearby.
The ferry leaves the Island at 3.30 pm sharp, and it is important to be back at the wharf by 3.15 so that boarding and departure can take place without delay.
How do I get to the Island?
The 360 Discovery ferry leaves Auckland City ferry terminal (Pier 4) at 9.00 am and Gulf Harbour Marina at 9.50 am. It runs from Wednesday to Sunday each week, except during the peak holiday season (Boxing Day to mid-January) when there is a daily ferry.
What does it cost?
The adult fare is $70.00 from Auckland and $55.00 from Gulf Harbour. There are concessions for children (5-15 years) and families (two adults and two children, or more). Details are available on the 360 Discovery website
. A guided walk costs $10.00 for an adult and $2.50 for a child: all the money received for guided walks is given to the Supporters to help fund our conservation work. For school visits the fare is $20.00 per student whether coming from Auckland or Gulf Harbour; the guided walk is $2.00 per student.
How do I book?
Book your ferry ticket by phoning 0800 360 34720800 360 3472 FREE
(international: +64 9 307 8005+64 9 307 8005
), or online at www.360discovery.co.nz
. Guided walks should be booked at the same time. If you don't book a guided walk and then decide when you arrive that you would like one, it is almost always possible to accommodate you.
Can I come in my own boat?
Yes. Tiritiri Matangi is an Open Sanctuary so anyone can visit at any time. Please pay close attention to the biosecurity precautions necessary to keep the Island free of pests. These are summarised on the Treasure Islands website
, but note that the reference to camping gear does not apply to Tiritiri Matangi as camping is not permitted. Please take note of the folllowing:
- Private boats may offload briefly at the wharf, but must then move away and anchor elsewhere.
- Boats should not be beached (other than kayaks and small dinghies); please swim or row ashore. This is an important biosecurity precaution.
- Smoking is permitted only on the concrete pads at the wharf and at the Visitor Centre.
- No fires or BBQs are permitted anywhere on the Island at any time of year.
- Guided walks depart from the wharf at 10.15, Wednesday to Sunday; please call 09 476 001009 476 0010 to book.
How do I book to stay overnight?
Booking space in the Island's bunkhouse is done through the Department of Conservation (DOC). Phone their Warkworth office: 09 425 781209 425 7812
(if overseas, +64 9 425 7812+64 9 425 7812
), or book online at the DOC website: http://www.doc.govt.nz. Please be aware that the bunkhouse is often used by volunteers and researchers, and that public beds are often booked up several months ahead, so it is wise to plan your trip well in advance. There is usually more space available in the winter months. Please pay close attention to the biosecurity requirements when planning an overnight visit. Camping is not permitted on the Island.
Is there any food available on the Island?
There is no food for sale on the Island, so day visitors need to bring their own lunches and snacks, and overnight visitors need to bring food for evening meals and breakfasts as well. If staying overnight it is wise to bring enough food for an extra day in case the boat is cancelled due to bad weather. Soft drinks and bars of Fair Trade chocolate are on sale in the Island's shop.
Is there transport from the wharf to the Visitor Centre, Lighthouse and DOC bunkhouse?
The vast majority of visitors will have to (and expect to) walk up to the buildings, which takes about 15 minutes by the shortest route. The rangers are very willing to offer lifts to those who, because of age or disability, are unable to walk to and from the buildings.
How far do you need to walk?
If all you want to do is walk up to the buildings and back, it is about 1km each way (taking about 15 minutes by the shortest route). The two main tracks used for the guided walk are about 2km (Wattle Track) and 3km (Kawerau Track), from the wharf to the buildings. Timing, of course, depends on how much you want to stop and look along the route. A guided walk up the Wattle Track takes 1-1½ hours, and a walk up the Kawerau Track can take up to 2½ hours. A gentle stroll around the whole Island, taking in the north end and the East Coast Track, can take as long as four hours, but can be done in much less time if you walk quickly.
Will mobility problems prevent me from enjoying the Island?
No. Many people with mobility problems visit the Island. The rangers are willing to drive them up to the buildings, and back for the departing ferry. The area around the Visitor Centre is quite flat, and many birds can be seen there, including most of those that would be seen on a guided walk. Depending on the season, takahe are often seen grazing on the lawn around the buildings. There are also interpretive displays about the Island's wildlife and history. The view from the front of the Visitor Centre is worth the trip on its own.
Can I use a wheelchair/child's buggy on the Island?
Yes, but you need to be aware that access to many parts of the Island will be difficult. Many visitors bring a child's buggy and still take the popular routes from the wharf to and from the buildings, but there are steps, so you need to be prepared to lift the buggy when necessary. A wheelchair is less practical because if its size, but the area immediately around the Visitor Centre is accessible to wheelchairs, as is the route to the public toilets near the wharf. Wheelchair-bound visitors can enjoy many of the Island's birds and plants around the Visitor Centre.
When is the best time to visit?
This depends on what you want from your visit. The birds are there and active all year round, and most visitors will have good views of them at any time of year. If you want to see families with parents feeding their fledged chicks, late summer is the best time. If you want to stay overnight and hear the best of the dawn chorus, spring is the best time to come. If you want to enjoy the sun and the beach, come in January or on a public holiday in summer or autumn. If you want to see the kowhai trees in full flower, come in late August, and if you want to enjoy the sight of pohutukawa in bloom, come in December. Best of all, make more than one visit and enjoy the Island's different moods through the seasons.
Do I need to take a guided walk?
Not at all; you can explore the Island on your own and at your own pace if you wish, and many visitors do this, especially if they have visited before. For a first visit, though, there is no doubt you will learn a lot from a guided walk. Maps are sold on the ferry and at the shop in the Visitor Centre - the $1 charge helps to support our work.