Nestled in the heart of the Hauraki Gulf, just a few kilometres off the coast of Auckland, the beautiful Tiri Island New Zealand has so much to offer. It’s that place I had been meaning to go to the entire time I was in NZ, but never went because it was so close. How silly, this place is absolutely mind blowing!
On-board the ferry there are stunning views back to the city and along the coast of Auckland. So distracted by the scenery, the journey time of 70 minutes goes quickly. On arrival to the island, the crystal clear aqua blue water is striking, we were very keen for a swim right away but as we opted for the guided tour. I am not normally one for guided tours but so glad we did this as we saw so much we would not have otherwise noticed with our own eyes. We met our guide as we got off the boat. Conveniently, there is a service that takes any bags you may not need to the top of the hill where everyone stops for lunch. Here is what we got up to on Tiri island New Zealand.
Tiri Island New Zealand
The island has amazing dense forest which homes many different species of birds. This attracts many birdlife enthusiasts and scientists. First leg of our walk, we made our way along the beach, as it was so early in the morning the renowned Kiwi bird footprints could be seen on the sand. I was amazed considering this bird is almost extinct! Continuing on into the forest, we saw a number of other beautiful birds such as parakeets, tuis and wood pigeons (literally giant pigeons) amongst many others. Meandering through the forest, the sound of all the birds singing and communicating is extremely relaxing, I am sure this is what was making Esmé sleep extra long. Surrounded by giant fern leaves along the way, this was a true New Zealand experience!
I have often heard people say New Zealand has not got much history as it’s such a young country. I remember thinking this as our guide pointed out Pohutukawa trees that were around 1,000 years old. Needless to say the history is in the environment. It was around this point Esmé woke up and was keen for a walk around. This was on the last home stretch up to the light house. Finding the uphill terrain strange, she battled up the hill of her own accord. She was walking through long grass pushing wheat sheaf out of her way, sun beaming down and an amazing back drop of views across the deep blue sea, we must have snapped at least a hundred photos!
On the horizon, the pristinely white lighthouse was visible, accentuated further by the green grass fields and blue sea in the background. We were all feeling thirsty and hungry by this point. We perched in a shaded spot just under the lighthouse and ate our packed lunch. Esmé discovered the lighthouse water supply and proceeded to soak herself from head to toe and help h
erself to a few mouthfuls of water (shit, is that drinking water?! Probably not).
This was our cue to head to the beach. Initially annoyed with her, it was actually quite nice carrying her back down the hill in the sun as she was keeping me nice and cool. After lathering up with another layer of sun cream we went for a swim. The water was below knee height for quite a distance so was perfect for Esmé to run around and make the most of it. Completely still and incredibly clear water, it made me feel we were on a tropical beach in paradise! It was just beautiful. By the time we were finished, it was perfect timing to make our way back to the ferry for departure time.
If you are thinking of going:
- I was feeling nervous about having Esmé out in direct sunlight where I wasn’t in control of our whereabouts. I was also thinking she may get a little on such a long walk. None of these were an issue as we were well shaded by all of the trees on the walk and Esmé slept for a large proportion of the time – score! The guides are very flexible and would be happy to show you the way to the beach if your little one is not enjoying the walk.
- The ferry departs from downtown Auckland and takes about 70 minutes. It only runs Wednesday to Sunday so make sure to plan if you are thinking of going.
- The ferry is a little pricey at 70 NZD return but there are no other costs once you arrive.
- There are no shops on the island so make sure to bring plenty of water and a packed lunch.
- Do not bring a buggy with you if you are planning to do the walk. Make sure to bring a baby carrier.
Have you been to Tiri Island New Zealand? What did you think of it?