Bird and wildlife watching
Tiritiri Matangi is renowned as one of the best places in New Zealand to spot rare and endangered native species.
Tūī, saddleback/tieke and bellbird/korimako are commonly seen in the bush along the Wattle Track between the wharf and lighthouse area, and you may also be able to see whitehead/popokatea, stitchbird/hihi, North Island robin/miromiro and, if you are lucky, kōkako. Another good place to spot birds is on the Kawerau Track - look out for the rifleman/titiponamu.
Other species you may see on the island include little penguin/kororā (check out the penguin boxes on the side of Hobbs Track), takahe and NZ parakeet/kakariki.
Tiritiri Matangi is a popular destination for boaties with Hobbs Beach providing a sheltered anchorage.
Child/family friendly activities
Give your kids an opportunity to see endangered native wildlife up close. Tiritiri Matangi is an ideal destination for families, including those with young children. Some walks are short and achievable for small children - try the walk from the wharf to Hobbs Beach, a great place for a swim and picnic.
For families with older children, walk to the Visitors Centre and let them loose in the popular children’s learning area.
Tiritiri’s Visitors Centre includes displays on the island’s history and plants and animals. Complimentary tea and coffee is available courtesy of the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi. The group also operate a fundraising shop selling quality gifts and cold drinks.
Note: there is no food sold on Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Kiwi Ranger programme
The Kiwi Ranger Programme is a free, fun and interactive way to get to know this special place. There are activities for young and old alike, and a badge is awarded on completion.
Diving and snorkelling
The best snorkelling on Tiritiri Matangi is on the eastern side of the island. Bring a snorkel and mask and head to Northeast Bay and snorkel out to Wooded Island. Or for somewhere closer to the wharf, head for the rocks off Hobbs Beach, or snorkel out to the small island a couple of hundred metres offshore.
Species you may see include:
- reef fish - parore, goatfish, snapper, leatherjackets, rock cod and eagle rays
- pelagic fish - herring, kahawai, and even the occasional kingfish
- other marine species - octopus, squid and colourful sponges
You can fish off the rocks or the beach anywhere round the island’s coastline.
If it is your first visit to the island, a guided walk is highly recommended. The Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi provide a very low cost guided walk from the wharf to the lighthouse, identifying birds and bird song, native plants and points of interest along the way. Two routes are used, the Wattle Track (1.5 hours) and the Kawerau Track (1.5-2 hours). You can book a guided walk at the same time as you book your ferry ticket.
Kayaking and canoeing
Kayaking to Tiritiri Matangi is an option for intermediate kayakers – the stretch of water between the island and the mainland can get rough and windy so this trip is not for beginners. The best place to start from is the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, from where it takes about 1 hour to get to Tiritiri Matangi.
Hobbs Beach is a good place for a dip while you are waiting for a departing ferry. Another good swimming spot is North East Bay at the norther end of the island.