Frequently asked questions
Where is the Hauraki Gulf?
The protected waters of the Hauraki Gulf contain many islands, most of which are conservation islands and sanctuaries. Most are seabird islands. Our area of operation for day and occasional overnight trips to see seabirds is the outer Hauraki Gulf - north of Tiritiri Matangi Island along the mainland coast to the Hen & Chickens Islands and east past the Mokohinau Islands to Aotea Great Barrier Island. The outer Hauraki Gulf is influenced by the warm East Auckland Current, particularly around the Mokohinau Isalands and down the eastern coast of Great Barrier. This warm current brings a strong subtropical componenet to the marine life found there.
Where do our boats depart from?
To make the most of our day in the outer Gulf we depart from Sandspit, Leigh Harbour and Ti Point. These locations are reached by driving north from Auckland city on SH1, allow 50mins from Downtown. We will tell you which location your trip will depart from when you book. There are plenty of accommodation options in the Warkworth-Snells Beach-Sandspit-Matakana-Leigh area. We are happy to advise you.
How long will we be out on the water?
Most of our trips are full day tours, giving plenty of time for you to see the best of the Hauraki Gulf and its seabirds; however we can arrange half-day trips on demand. Trips generally are 10 hours in duration.
What kind of boats do we travel in?
We use fast reliable launches (35ft, 40ft) and our skippers have a good understanding of the needs of birdwatchers. There is covered area and a toilet on board.
What do I need to bring?
You will need your lunch and plenty of fluids to drink. We do provide a light snack (usually gingernuts!) and there is tea and coffee on board. Weather conditions can vary enormously in the Gulf, so you should be prepared for hot and dry as well as cold and wet. Bring warm clothing and raincoat, but also pack sunblock, sunhat and sunglasses. Don't forget your binoculars and camera!
Will I get seasick?
If you are prone to motion sickness you should consider taking medication before departure.
Will we take a break from birding?
We generally anchor in a sheltered bay next to one of the islands for lunch, and in summer there can be time for a refreshing swim or snorkel. Alhtough we don't land on the islands, we anchor close enough to see and hear some of the terrestrial endemic birds such as kaka, saddleback, tui and NZ pigeon.
Will we have someone who will help us identify the birds?
On all our trips we have a guide on board (in addition to the skipper) who will help youi identify the birds we see. At the start of each trip we give a run-through of where we going and what we're likely to see. We want to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
What other marine life we will see?
Every day on the water is different. The Hauraki Gulf abounds with marine life - active schools of trevally, kahawai and kingfish. Also sunfish, sharks and flying fish. The Gulf is also home to a range of cetaceans - Bryde's whale, orcfa, common and bottle-nosed dolphins.