You are ready to explore the Island. A must do experience is a guided ranger tour. Invaluable Island tips how to get around, the narrative of the Island and details about flora and fauna is part of the walking tour. Visitors meet at the Island’s information centre for an introduction, collection of brochures and to assist with any queries that might have arisen during your check in process. The tour starts with the heritage buildings and the story of the Salvation Army alcohol recovery programmes.
TIP: Book Island guided tour before your arrival.
Visitors are shown the Salvation Army Chapel and the Jail where repeat drink offending guests were housed. The walk alcoholics took on their journey to sobriety is marked with a sculptural interpretation of the 12 Steps of the Salvation Army rehabilitation programme.
The Norfolk pines are not native however it is explained, due to their significance to the Island story they remain as part of the landscape. The Exhibition Centre, with its striking architectural features reflects the history of the Island with its shape and position in the landscape.
Wetlands and guided Island walking tour
Wetlands are encouraged to be quiet and wait for a glimpse of the brown teal native ducks. The wetlands are a lesson on endangered birds and what is required for the native brown teal Brown teal/pateke: New Zealand wetland and river birds to thrive. The native Brown Teal Recovery Program has a facebook page. These adorable ducks deserve to be officially liked by everyone who has a facebook page.
The ranger invites you to observe how flax and the nibbles from various birds and the differing bite marks indicate who had a flax lunch recently. Visitors are often accompanied by the chattering wekas on their walks.
The guided walk covers the wetlands, the regenerating bush and beach lookouts for Ladies and Mens Beach. The various walking tracks are discussed with advice on the routes to be taken.
On Ladies beach dotterel bird tracks were pointed out and it was suggested to visit the beach at dusk to observe the nesting pair feeding. The frailty of the dotterel nest was very evident. It is easy to understand why introduced predators have had a tremendous impact on ground nesting birds. The guided walk is approximately an hour and a half.
It goes without saying the Island is an ideal bird watching hot spot. A special moment during the weekend was at dusk on Ladies beach observing busy dotterels making their way across the sand. It was striking that the birds were confident in demeanor.
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