Tiritiri Matangi, Pt. 4: The Walks and the Views

We looked at the island, and we looked at some birds (OK, quite a lot of birds). Now I want to take you on a tour, looking at stunning sights both on and off the island!

The Walks


You may recall this map from the first Tiritiri post. I figured I’d include it here in case you felt you needed a refresher.

Trail conditions were, to be fair, not great. The slippery mud was treacherous in the extreme. After slipping once, I cut myself a walking stick. Said stick betrayed me and broke, after which I decided to just walk more carefully.

At points, the trails are also not well marked. We took a few wrong turns and ended up backtracking a couple of times.

That said, the island is not large, and even with backtracking or getting lost you’re not out too much time overall.

There aren’t any rocky fords, though, so that’s a plus.

Early in our hike, we found this very muddy pond. If you want to see brown teals, this is the place to go.

We decided to be contrarian and go counterclockwise around the island, starting up the East Coast Track. You hit, in order, the amusingly-named Emergency Landing, then Fisherman(s) Bay, Pohutukawa Cove, and Northeast Bay.

[Note: On the official map above it’s rendered Fishermans Bay, but on the topographic map I’m using it’s written Fisherman Bay. According to the New Zealand Gazetteer, the official name is in fact Fisherman Bay. This sort of casual disregard for official naming is what makes the geography enthusiast’s life so difficult.]

I’m about to have an emergency because this landing is so beautiful!

Very yes.

I can’t get over how pretty the water looks in this shot.

Fisherman Bay, which was our lunch spot, is also very pretty.

Here’s the view from below. Taylor (characteristically) and I (uncharacteristically) climbed up that large flat rock and had lunch atop it.

Taylor’s fascination with tide pools and sea caves and my fascination with pretty much everything I see in New Zealand led to us spending quite a bit of time here.

See? Caves.

Hiking up toward Pohutukawa Cove takes you by the Arches. There’s an old, muddy, abandoned trail leading along the Arches; if you like danger and adventure you can take it until it becomes too overgrown and steep to traverse, but a slip to the right will give you a brief, stunning view of the arches from below before you encounter the rocks. One star, would not recommend.

I do, however, highly recommend viewing the arches from above.

Moving along further North, we see Little Wooded Island, an accurately-named island off the coast.

Taylor and I also took a break to admire the World’s Saddest Tree.

Since the rest of the hike was effectively more of the same, I’m going to switch it up a bit and head back down South to the sensitively-named Chinaman Bay (which is once again given the possessive on the map but not in the official name, though in this case that’s the least of the problems with this bay’s name).

Eagle-eyed Taylor noticed this little shed on the side of a cliff. We asked the ranger what it was about, and I don’t think he understood what we were asking about because the answer he gave didn’t make sense.

In any case, we chose to explore for ourselves. This cliff face is one of those areas that’s actually not too steep but convinces my brain that I’m getting ready to plummet to my doom.

The railings there are…not confidence-inspiring either.

We picked our way down (me, carefully; Taylor, seemingly instantaneously) and explored the little hut.

Still not quite sure what it is — my guess would be a WWII observation bunker — but a fun little exploration.

And heading down the cliff face gave a great view of this cool rock formation!

Speaking of great views…

The Views

Taking the ferry to, well, anywhere in the Hauraki Gulf results in some nice shots of Rangitoto.

From Tiritiri, we get to see a side not visible from Auckland City!

I love this shot. The one cloud shooting a rainbow down at the mountain!

If we Zoom and Enhance(tm) we find out why: because someone on this ship has a pot o’ gold!

Zooming out a bit, we can actually see Rangitoto and Auckland together!

Although it’s a bit hazy, even on a moderately cloudy day the city is in full view. And captured here along with a sailing ship!

Here’s a photo of the mountain at sunset. Sunsets are a bit tricky to capture sometimes, so I twiddled some dials in the photo editor on this one.

We were certainly blessed with a gorgeous sunset that evening.

When hiking around Tiritiri, the coastline of the island itself makes a nice photographic subject.

But don’t forget to notice the islands further away as well.

Looking out into the distance, the sharp-eyed viewer can see quite a bit out to see. On a decent day, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island are both visible.

The rocky coast of Tiritiri shows in miniature what happened to the whole gulf. Rocky volcanic islands abound.

There are even opportunities to get down close to the water and truly admire its amazing blue-green color.

And although we weren’t staying on the clearest of days, the many rainbows we observed surely made up for the rain we got.

In fact, here’s a double rainbow for your consideration. The more science-minded among you may be interested in Randall Munroe’s What-If column where he discusses¬†the physics of rainbows.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I enjoyed my trip to Tiritiri Matangi. Thank you for indulging me across four long posts. If you have a chance, I urge you to check out this lovely island for yourself!


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