Date: 18 June 2015
Four top Auckland attractions managed by or associated with the Department of Conservation and their community trusts have been awarded Certificates of Excellence in Trip Advisor's latest awards. International travel website Trip Advisor says the Certificate of Excellence is a "prestigious award that can only be earned through consistently great reviews published on the world’s largest travel site."
The Auckland attractions that took out the coveted awards are Tiritiri Matangi Island, the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island and Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve.
In what is perhaps an even greater achievement, Trip Advisor currently ranks Tiritiri Matangi Island and the Hauraki Gulf as number 1 and number 2 out of 190 attractions in Auckland. Many Trip Advisor reviews focused on the fantastic experience offered by the wonderful guides from the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi.
Rangitoto Island and Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve also have impressive rankings – Rangitoto is number 9 and North Head is number 24.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Pest-free Tiritiri Matangi is one of the most successful conservation projects in the world, attracting more than 20,000 visitors annually. Managed by DOC in partnership with the hard working Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, the island has the status of an open sanctuary. This allows the public to visit and enjoy the natural splendour of rapidly regenerating native forest and ever increasing birdsong.
The Hauraki Gulf
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park sits right on Auckland's doorstep and is home to more than 50 islands and five marine reserves. Many of the islands are public conservation lands managed by DOC with huge input from community groups, and most are open to the public for recreation and relaxation.
An icon of the Auckland landscape, Rangitoto Island has long been a favourite day trip for Aucklanders and tourists alike. The 600-year-old dormant volcano is the youngest volcano in the Auckland volcanic field, and is home to our largest pohutukawa forest. Now that the island is pest free, it is also home to some of our most precious wildlife. Historic baches and World War II military defences are also popular attractions. The Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust works with DOC to restore the unique history of the island.
Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve
Maungauika/North Head is a small strategic headland at the mouth of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. The mountain was the site of one of a number of defence forts that were rapidly set up in the late 1800s to defend Auckland from a feared Russian attack. The fort was later expanded as part of Auckland's coastal defence system during World Wars I and II. A complex of tunnels, guns, searchlights and other fortifications make this a fascinating area to explore. Tours are offered by the community-led Forts of Auckland group.