There’s another world just an hour from Auckland

Rotoroa Island sanctuary is just an hour from Auckland, but it feels like another world. It’s a place where curious explorers can uncover fascinating stories and beautiful beaches. Experience first hand the conservation of iconic New Zealand species. And escape to somewhere truly special for the day, or overnight.

Good Sorts of our Treasured Gulf Islands by Kevin Lidgard

A highlight of our summer cruise was our visit Rotoroa Island and our chance meeting with the Rotoroa Island Trust’s  Ranger Glen. As Island Manager, he and his wife Milly look after everything from biosecurity to welcoming visitors off the ferry and guided walks.

Brigitte and I had paid our $5 visitor fee and were strolling around Rotoroa commenting on how well maintained the paths and buildings appeared to be when we happened across Glen checking the island's water supply. For the next half-hour, we were absorbed in an inspiring conversation. We were captivated by the vision and purpose Glen articulated for Rotoroa. Glen’s passion is about 'connecting people with nature.

“After planting over 350,000 native trees, Rotoroa is now alive with birdsong. On any of the island walking tracks, you’ll come across - tīeke (saddleback), tui, cheeky weka and takahē. Our island is predator-free, so its a perfect haven for kiwi chicks, about 30 living here at the moment”.

Glen also had some concerns that he shared with us and as he explained how vulnerable the bird breeding program on Rotoroa was, his frustration with boaties bringing dogs ashore was concerning and clearly understood – I made up my mind there and then to appeal to you, our Westhaven customers.

“Dogs brought ashore by boaties pose a significant risk to the coastal birds and Kiwi nesting at the beachhead. The team on Rotoroa love to welcome boaties, just two clear rules: No dogs and No fires”

Glen says, “All of this restoration on Rotoroa is possible thanks to the generosity of the Plowmans, a couple who are passionate about the Hauraki Gulf. Let’s all enjoy this fabulous sanctuary and increase the birdsong in our gulf “

Glen and his family are passionate about conservation and breeding programs on this island which is owned by the Salvation Army and run as an open wildlife sanctuary by the Rotoroa Island Trust. They are undertaking great work and walk the talk implementing precautions put in place by the Trust to protect all threatened wildlife from a variety of predators including your beloved pet dog. Please respect all Gulf Islands that prohibit dogs and accept the plea for all boaties to do the right thing and take your dogs ashore where they are welcome. “If you come to Rotoroa please ensure your dog is exercised and toileted before you visit”.

Thank you for helping Glen and Milly to protect our Kiwi and other wonderful birds to flourish on Rotoroa for our future boaties to enjoy. FYI - Rotoroa has a dedicated boatie page and boaties are encouraged to enjoy the experience and history of this island sanctuary. Landing fees - boaties are encouraged to support this amazing work ‘team Rotoroa’ are undertaking and to purchase an annual pass for $90, available online 

Here’s a blog online that may inspire you -

Kevin Lidgard