If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be on a private island and you find yourself wondering what to do in Auckland - I have great news for you!
Just a short ferry ride away from Auckland there is this little hidden gem called Rotoroa Island. The Island used to be off the limits for public for almost 100 years as it was purchased by the Salvation Island and it was used as alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre.
Noways, Rotoroa (not to be confused with Rotorua) is in partnership with Auckland Zoo predator free wildlife sanctuary and conservation park in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
There is only one ferry going to the island and one ferry going off the island, thus you are "stuck" there for a day with approximately 50 other people (that sounds like plot episode of Lost, doesn't it? :D). There is no shops on the island so make sure you take food and water with you.
The visit starts with a short health and safety briefing and if you are lucky, you might be able to see a release of a kiwi in the wild.
A kiwi release was scheduled for the day of our visit but the rangers have found rat tracks on the island thus the release was rescheduled.
(Tip: Follow Auckland Zoo's Instagram page to be up to date on the animal release dates.)
Even though we were slightly disappointed by the news (damn rats!), we didn't let that crush our spirits.
There are seven walking tracks you can choose from ranging from 20 to 75 minutes return. We did them all, had a picnic on the beach, took a lot of stunning photos and completed our day on the island with a bbq dinner.
Due to the fact that there are not many people on the island (only about 40 arrived with our ferry + rangers + a few people who were staying on the island overnight) and the island is decently sized (It takes from one hour and a half to two hours to walk in straight line from one end to the other) we have only met about 10 people in about seven hours we were on the island.
Our fist stop was Chris Booth Sculpture on the North end of the island.
We've made our way to the Men's Bay where we had picnic on the beach.
Next stop was Ladies Bay.
We've then made our way up the hill to the North Tower
and back down to Cable Bay and Mai Mai Bay.
And finally back to the exhibition centre at Home bay
where Chloe made this delicious stake on the provided BBQ facilities.
If you ever find yourself in Auckland with a spare day and desire for special adventure - I would definitely advise you to check out Rotoroa Island. Not only you get to observe the beautiful nature and wildlife (maybe even see a kiwi up and close if you are lucky enough!), dip into the ocean and clear your mind of the city rush - you also get an experience of what it would feel like to be on a private island. And when will you be able to get this for less than $52 which is the cost of the return ferry ticket?
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