The current through this channel often reaches 4.5 knots making it one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. in 1989 the Trimaran Rose Noelle capsized in the area during a ferocious storm. The up turned vessel with four crew aboard drifted in the current for 119 days before washing up on the northern part of Great Barrier Island. All four survived.Believe it or not, and most people don't, Auckland in fact has more varieties of marine mammal species in it's waters than any other region in New Zealand. Bottle nose, Common dolphins, Orca and Brydes whales are frequently seen gorging in the gulf's bountiful waters.
There are 65 islands throughout the Hauraki gulf. Many are privately owned and are used for farming, many are also important conservation reserves. New Zealand's main land was decimated by introduced species and the arrival of man. Many of the gulf's islands have been cleared of introduced pest to provide a safe natural, native environment so many of New Zealand's most endangered species can rehabilitate themselves. These islands are essential to the survival of dozens of endemic brids, plants and reptiles.
The largest of the Gulf Islands is Great Barrier Island, named by captain Cook because of it's barrier type effect on the Hauraki gulf. The fourth largest Island in New Zealand, Aotea as it is known in Maori, was fortunately not subjected to the onslaught of possums, this is clearly evident in the prolific bird life that abounds on the Island. Near by Little Barrier island is probably New Zealand's single most important wildlife reserve. Being totally free of introduced pests the island is home to many of New Zealand's, and some of the worlds most endangered species. Visitors are not permitted on Little Barrier Island.
A jewel of the Hauraki gulf and New Zealand's conservation programs is the island of Tiritiri Matangi (meaning 'looking to the wind'). Tiri as it is referred to locally, is a scientific reserve and open sanctuary. There are a number of rehabilitation projects on the Island perhaps the most significant is the islands forest itself. Extensively farmed between 1850 and 1970 over 280,00 trees have been planted by volunteers to create a lush coastal forest. Conservation is taken very seriously here, you'll have your bag and shoes checked just in case of a stow away mouse or a micro nasty attached to the bottom of your sole. The island is host to numerous endangered species including the Saddle back, N.I. Robin, Kokako, whitehead, stitchbird, brown teal but most significantly the Takahe and the Little spotted Kiwi.
There are five species of Kiwi, the Great Spotted, Little Spotted, Brown, Tokoeka and Rowi. They are the only bird to have external nostrils at the end of their beak and one of few with a good sense of smell. It produces the largest egg of any bird in relation to it's size, nearly six times the size of an average bird the same size.
The Takahe, another flightless ground nesting bird, also takes pride of place among the islands inhabitants. Today they are located on just a handful of islands and in remote Fiordland. There are less than 300 remaining.
Tiri Matangi offers a number of excellent short bush and coastal walks and a unique insight in to the way New Zealand once may have been like prior to the arrival of man. .
Ace Tourist Rental Cars NZ is committed to doing its part to reduce its impact on the environment and people. We love New Zealand for the adventure playground that it is and we want to do our bit to keep New Zealand clean, green and beautiful.
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