New Zealand Māori named these birds Tākapu and they were once highly prized for their plumage.
Tākapu are large birds whose powerful wings enable them to soar and glide gracefully around their colonies and over the coastal waters of Muriwai Beach. They are spectacular divers and can plunge into the ocean at high speed to catch fish. The birds lay just one egg, in October or November, in ground nests high on the cliffs of Otakamiro Point. By the fourth month after hatching the young birds leave for their westward migration to eastern Australia and will return to breed after their fourth year.
Exposed “pillow lava” cliffs are often a feature of this guided walk with Kiko Tours at Muriwai Beach. Take a leisurely walk along the rocks at low tide. A tour favourite with lots of options to walk under the cliffs and then up to the viewing platforms at the top. This stunning environment is a hidden gem on Auckland’s West Coast.
I was recently offered an opportunity to expand my business by taking visitors to the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Auckland Botanic Gardens (the Gardens) is an award-winning botanic garden based in Manukau. The gardens are unique with a distinctive South Pacific flavour. The Gardens covers 64 hectares with 10 hectares in native forest.
There is a very good Visitor Centre which provides a space for creative displays and exhibitions and Café Miko offers various food options with morning and afternoon teas plus lunches.
I think you would agree that the gardens and landscape is absolutely stunning.
We can combine your visit to the gannet colony with a scenic walk along Muriwai Beach. As we continue down the path to Muriwai Beach you will be astounded by the diversity of things to do.
We can explore the caves at low tide or view the pillow formations on the cliffs above or head northwards along the beach as far as you like.
Here you will often see an array of colourful kites in the air. Muriwai Beach is a popular destination for kiteboarding and is well known for big waves and strong steady winds and is located on Auckland's West Coast.
From the tranquillity of the inland forest of the Waitakere Ranges you will witness the raw power of pounding surf on Piha Beach, situated on Auckland’s West Coast.
Rugged majestic cliffs are on either side of the iconic Lion Rock which juts out from the black sand, between Piha and North Piha beaches. People who climb Lion Rock will have spectacular views in all directions.
There are several cafés close to the beach if you just want to relax, get a drink and a bite to eat, there is also a very good art gallery close by that sells local art and has exhibitions regularly. The laid-back seaside village of Piha is just 45 minutes drive from Auckland’s CBD.
At Ihumâtao, north of Auckland International Airport there is an ancient Kauri forest that was buried by tuff from the Maungataketake volcano which erupted thousands of years ago.
The fossilised forest has since been hollowed out by wave action from the Manukau Harbour and is now exposed at low tide. In the mudflats you will see the remains of these huge kauri trees, and other fossilised tree trunks are clearly visible standing upright in the adjacent eroding cliffs.
It is well worth a look if you are staying close to the airport and it is easily accessible at low tide.
Join us on this easy guided tour across one of the largest volcanic cones in the Auckland region, Mângere Mountain also known as Te Pane a Mataaho (the head of Mataaho).
Mângere Mountain was the site of a major Mâori Pâ (fortified village) and there are many earthworks and archaeological features that remain today including these beautiful kumara (sweet potato) storage pits.
When Mâori were living on the mountain these kumara storage pits would have been covered over to keep the tubers cool and dry during the winter months. Kumara were an important food source and the tubers were also kept for planting in the spring.
You can just imagine the hive of activity as food was gathered and stored. It would have been an amazing sight and we are so privileged to still have these well-formed kumara pits on our mountain close to where we live.
The koru or (loop) is often used by the Mâori people of New Zealand/Aotearoa. It is based on the fern leaf that can be seen in the forest. A koru is used in Mâori art as a metaphor and symbol for new beginnings, creation, growth, strength, peace and harmony.
The Kiko Guided Tours logo alludes to this whakaaro (idea) and the "O" is a stylised representation.
This new unfurling fern leaf was adjacent to the track we walked on. I just love the simplicity of form.
Stretches of beautiful black sand beaches, deep blue waters, and rugged clifftops. Soak up the spectacular scenery and admire the rich and abundant birdlife. If you are looking for a magical day out you can’t go past Muriwai on Auckland’s West Coast. There is a gentle walking track to a viewing platform on Otakamiro Point, right above the site of one of our few mainland gannet (breeding) colonies. It truly is magical.
Karekare is an absolutely spectacular West Coast beach. It is just south of another of Auckland’s famous beaches Piha. You can really feel the isolation and rawness of the place. There are generally less people and the beach is pristine. Dramatic towering cliffs rise vertically above a beautiful black sand beach that seems to stretch forever into the distance. There are some excellent coastal walking tracks through wetlands and sand dunes that take you onto this stunning beach.
And Kiko Guided Tours can take you there. This place is a must visit for keen photographers. You will not be disappointed.