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Monday, December 1, 2014

Sanctuary Mountain Maungarautari, North Island, New Zealand

Maungatautari Mountain

In January we were lucky to go to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari or Maungatautari Ecological Island as it is also called, in New Zealand. The sanctuary encloses 34 square kilometers of a forested volcanic mountain with 47 km of pest-proof fencing. As pests are eradicated on the inside and keep outside by the fence the forest and native fauna have returned both naturally and through reintroduction.

The forest enclosed in the Xcluder pest-proof fence.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is less than a three hour drive south of Auckland. Please get directions from the Sanctuary website because Goggle Maps gives directions to a completely different side of the mountain.

The Manu Tioriori Visitor Centre is open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm in the winter and 10am to 6pm in the summer. We paid a fee of $17 per adult ($10 senior/Student) and $7 per child to enter the Southern Enclosure. There are guided tours available or you can take one of the walks at your own pace. We were short of time and choose to walk around the Southern Enclosure Track.

The Southern Enclosure Track

Epiphytes in the forest.

Mamaku (Black Ponga)

We saw several insect nesting boxes attached to trees along the track. Studies have shown that the native beetle population has increased enormously since the enclosure was erected. Native beetles increased 300% from 2004 to 2007 alone.

Insect Nesting Boxes

As we approached the Canopy Tower we were really excited to see several Kākā Nestor meridionalis flying around. I got a bit over excited and took a number of blurry photos as they flew backwards and forwards quite close to us.

  • Kākā, (Nestor meridionalis)
  • Kākā, (Nestor meridionalis)
We climbed the Canopy Tower and enjoyed the views out over the forest.

Looking down from the Canopy Tower

View from the Canopy Tower

    Wood Pigeon (Kererū) (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae)
On our way out we visited the Kakapo enclosure. It's fairly rare to get the opportunity to see Sirocco the Kakapo but we were able to watch a video of his antics. Hopefully, one day, Kakapos will live safely in large numbers at Maungatautari.

Sigh! This is only a photo of a photo of Sirocco at the enclosure.

We only touched the surface at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. There are more walks and a wetland area to see as well. We could easily have spent three or four days just walking around and observing this magnificent project.

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