I slept outside on my second night on Tiritiri Matangi Island. I took the mattress from my bunk into the courtyard of the bunkhouse before it got dark. A volunteer had told me that kiwi will sometimes wander through the courtyard at night. It also let me avoid the awkwardness of trying not to disturb my roommates as I crawled into my bunk in the dark after my walk. See the previous 2 posts on days 1 and 2 on the island.
Because the ranger hauls baggage from the wharf to bunkhouse and back, I’ll pack a bit more next time I visit Tiritiri. A good inflatable mattress wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring to the bunkhouse. Even a Therm-a-Rest type camping mattress might be a good supplement to the mattresses provided.
A Second Dawn on Tiritiri Matangi Island
I listened to the dawn chorus from the courtyard, then got some more rest, and maybe even a little more sleep.
Later in the morning I enlisted the help of some bunkhouse guests to fish the messages out of the bottle I had found the night before on the beach near Tiritiri Wharf.
It turned out the bottle had been launched just 3 days earlier from Brown’s Bay. The messages were extremely silly. The senders had burned the edges of some of the pages to make them look old, and listed the date as 1790. My favorite part is “This is a very old letter”.
I texted Bella, and she seemed surprised and amused that someone had found the bottle. She liked the idea of me sending it on, so I added my own brief message, with the URL of this blog, refilled the bottle with messages, and put it back in my jacket pocket for return to the harbor.
Memory is cheap, and it’s been a while since I was up against a hard limit. I hadn’t brought my laptop to Tiritiri Matangi Island,, and had only one 16GB card and one 8GB card to store pictures. Because I was trying to get good pictures of the wildlife I was taking a lot of shots. By the end of my first day I knew I was taking too many pictures, and something had to give. I changed from 14BIT RAW mode to 12BIT RAW mode, and switched to uncompressed RAW. While I enjoyed tea and a snack at the visitors center I found an article that reassured me that I wasn’t making too much of a compromise. All the same, I had to delete a few shots to make sure I had room for any little blue penguins I might see in the harbor on the trip back to the city. It was only the 3rd time I’ve completely used all of my memory, and this time I shot no movies.
An Afternoon with the Birds
I decided to spend the rest of my time on Tiritiri Matangi Island along the Wattle Track, at the water troughs provided for the birds. The one closest to the road has the bigger deck of the 2, and more seating. I found it most comfortable, and it showed me the most birds. I was told that this is a great place to enjoy the dawn chorus.
Hearing people talk about the kōkako over my stay at the bunkhouse had really piqued my interest. Going into my 3rd day, this was the last creature I knew I wanted to meet. The beauty shown below came to the trough for a drink, and spent time in the surrounding trees as well, giving me lots of time to take pictures.
Kererū are beautiful birds.
A couple of young girls sat down and watched for a while. They were particularly interested in meeting a kōkako. I told them about the one I had seen. Many birds came and went, but no kōkako. Ridiculously soon after they moved on, another one finally stopped by for a drink.
The picture above doesn’t show it, but that one had blue and white bands on its feet, this one has orange and silver.
An older woman was also disappointed that she didn’t see any kōkako. I felt lucky, but I had spent days walking to see birds, and I think I saw more of them by sitting quietly at the troughs.
Saddleback finally showed themselves to me in the open.
On the ferry ride to Gulf Harbour I sent the bottle on its way, with any luck to miss Tiritiri Matangi Island this time, and make its way to the Pacific Ocean. It felt a bit too similar to throwing trash into the ocean. I explained myself to a boy and his mom before launching, and they were supportive. Like everyone else on the boat, they seemed to have had a good day.
Tiritiri Matangi Island isn’t exactly a secret. It’s a popular day trip, but I could never bring myself to pay the price of the trip for just 5 hours on the island. It took me a while to invest the time to make the longer trip come together. Procrastinating was a mistake, booking 2 nights was not. I spent most of time time looking for exotic creatures, and at the same time walking through the beautiful landscape. I could have spent more time enjoying the sun and the waves and the beaches. It’ll be well worth making a 2nd trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 6 pictures below. To view all 3 days on imgur, click here.