Fodor's Expert Review Tiritiri Matangi Island
You can see rare native birds up close at Tiritiri Matangi, a bird sanctuary open to the public and accessible by ferry from Auckland or Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparoa Peninsula. Gentle, well-maintained, signposted trails lead to the top of the island and the oldest lighthouse in the gulf, still in operation. The island is free from predators, and the birds are unafraid. Tiritiri is home to at least 18 takahe, large blue-and-green flightless birds with red beaks that are part of a nationwide breeding program for the rare species; you can usually spot them eating grass near the lighthouse.