This morning we found ourselves anchored near Port Fitzroy, one of many bays scalloped into Great Barrier Island, off New Zealand’s North Island. After breakfast, Steve Clemow, manager of the Glenfern Sanctuary, came aboard. He described the heroic effort of Tony Bouzaid to preserve the north end of Great Barrier Island and the ancient kauri trees from invasive species such as rodents, feral cats, and human beings. His efforts, and those of other conservationists, led to the creation of the Glenfern Sanctuary, which we were permitted to visit. After bounding up some 350 stairs, the bravest souls crossed a rope bridge. Those braver still climbed a giant kauri tree to a nest with a vista otherwise available only to the likes of fantails, tui, kaka, and other of New Zealand’s feathered citizens.
After lunch, those still hungry for adventure lit out to the other side of Kaiarara Bay for a scenic Zodiac ride or a hike along the Kiwiriki Track trail. The hike turned to bushwhacking occasionally, climbing over fallen timber, crossing riparian areas, and negotiating steep banks. The landscape was fit to serve as the scene for the next Jurassic Park movie. Maybe the sweetest treat of the day was a look into a sacred kingfisher nest burrowed in a hillside, buzzing with tiny chicks.