Introduction

Field Trip | Levels 1-4: Field trip guidance for Whangateau Harbour to learn about estuaries. Whangateau is one of the last harbours in the North Island that is of exceptional condition.

The field notes below is part of the Protecting our estuaries education resource - an integrated curriculum teaching resource using New Zealand’s estuaries as a real-life context for learning.

Download the resource

Visiting Whangateau Harbour - Notes for schools and educators (PDF, 1,133K)


Learning opportunities at this site

The picturesque Whangateau Harbour is a coastal estuary in north Auckland. It is home to extensive, healthy cockle beds and mature mangrove forests; both of which support excellent water clarity for educational snorkel/kayaking/paddleboard activities.

Self-guided activites

In the notes, you'll find guidance to do:

  • sandy shore surveys - do a survey to look for changes on the shore over time
  • five minute bird counts - find and count the birds along the shore and identify them
  • an estuary survey - discovery seaweeds, plants, snails, crabs and other small animals
  • beat plastic pollution - follow this Young Ocean Explorers activity to learn about plastic pollution

Native or endemic species to explore

You can explore the following species here and learn more their habitats:

  • see shorebirds such as: New Zealand dotterels/tuturiwhatu, variable oystercatchers/torea pango, red-billed gulls/tarapunga, pied shags/karuhiruhi, and more
  • underwater you can see juvenile snapper/tāmure, black bream/parore, eagle rays/whai repo, and more
  • cockles and mature mangrove forests; both of which support excellent water clarity for educational snorkel/kayaking/paddleboard activities
  • seagrass/karepō and Neptune’s necklace/rimurimu

Learning levels

  • Primary

Topics

  • Estuaries
  • Animals
  • Plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

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