Magic Motuora
Saturday 11 November, 8:45am. Duration: 7.75 hours.
$80 TBC - includes bus and ferry transport, guides, donation to Motuora Restoration Society, picnic lunch pack.
Grade 3
Limited to 45

Motu (island) ora (health, well-being). This is a place that just feels good to visit. Access is not easy so this is a great opportunity to get out to this beautiful, calming island and see what the Motuora Restoration Society have been doing. You have a good chance of seeing rare native wildlife, enjoying new views of the Hauraki Gulf, and just relaxing and taking pleasure in the beaches of this "treasure island".

Motuora is an 80ha island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Much of the original coastal forest and shrubland vegetation was cleared long ago by Maori and European occupants leaving remnant pohutukawa and karo/mahoe scrub growing on coastal cliffs. In 1990, the local community, the Mid-North Branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, and the Department of Conservation joined forces to restore Motuora Island.

The Motuora Restoration Society (established in 1995 and made up of volunteers) has led a replanting programme which is now almost complete and continues to work to restore the natural values of the island.

We will travel to Motuora to be hosted by the Motuora Restoration Society. They will supply two guides to show us around the island and explain what projects are underway.

The island is a crèche for young kiwi chicks raised under the Operation Nest Egg (ONE) programme. A resident healthy population of approximately 100-150 birds remain on Motuora. Whitehead, Pycrofts Petrels and Diving Petrels have also been reintroduced to the island, along with Duvaucel's Geckos, Shore Skinks and Wetapunga (giant weta). In July 2010, a "fake colony" of gannet decoys was installed on Motuora. Since then, real gannets have been attracted to the site and in 2012 began to nest.

After a tour of the island, we will take time for our lunch, and you will have time for exploring on your own, or you can lounge on the beach and have a swim. The island is small so, rather than a hike, this trip is about the experience of getting out into the gulf, seeing rare native species, having an adventure and soaking up the atmosphere of this gorgeous island.

This amazing day will be topped off by the boat trip back across beautiful Kawau Bay and bus back to base.

Please ensure that your footwear and clothing is clean of soil or seeds that may introduce unwanted weeds to Motuora. Also ensure that there are no pests stowing away in your bags (insects or rodents).