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”A peaceful morning with the birds on Motuara Island”

The boat drives slowly through Queen Charlotte Sound. Our hair waves in the light breeze and the sun on a blue sky makes us smile. The narrow and long sound with all it’s coves and beaches is surrounded by beautiful dark green mountain ridges. We are going out with  Cougar Line and captain Fred steers the boat, like he has done for many, many years.

It’s early morning and we are heading out to Motuara Island which is a bird sanctuary. Only birds live here and not one single predator.

New Zealand has problems with the predators killing native birds. Ever since the English came here 200 years ago, pests such as rats and possums have been a major threat to the New Zealand birds. These pest animals came with the boats from Europe. Before the first people set foot in New Zealand, there were no mammals at all on this land. No threats to the birds.

Motuara Island is one of the few places in the country where the Department of Conservation have managed to eradicate the pests and the birds can once again live in peace. Like they have done for thousands of years before man came to New Zealand.

From Picton, it takes just over an hour to reach Motuara Island, located on the absolute edge of Queen Charlotte Sound. Captain Fred tells one incredible story after another about different animals he has seen in the sound over the years. Dolphins, whales and orcas. He has an entire album with his own pictures that he shows us. Unfortunately, we are not lucky enough to see any whales or dolphins today.

At Motuara Island, the birds have already started the day long before. When we land on the small wooden pier, only us and two other people are on the whole island. Still a little sleepy, the bird song from within the greenery is a great way to start the day.

We walk up a wide gravel path and are immediately welcomed by two pigeons flying low over the trees. A second later, a little ”South Island Robin” lands on the path just infront of us. The little fella waits eagerly for our feet to stir the gravel and grass so the insects comes out, that means breakfast.

Not much later, two ”Saddlebacks” jump out of the bushes and continue into the greenery on the other side of the path. They seem to chase eachother, maybe it is mating time?

Suddenly we hear something to the left. But there is nothing there? Or is it?We give a closer look, that’s when we see it. A ”Kākāriki” (which is maori for ”small green parakeet”). It is so well camouflaged that it blends into the green in the background. We are standing and admiring this beautiful bird for several minutes.

Motuara Island is also home to the little blue penguins. However, we don’t get to see it. But we heard it. The Department of Conservation has built small wooden boxes where the penguins can breed their young. From one of the boxes we can hear how something is moving inside. But their is no small beak peeking out as we were hoping for.

We continue up the path that winds  towards the top of the small island. Slowly the amazing views becomes visible over the tree tops and the majestic sounds spreads out beneath us. The clear blue color from the sea in contrast to the green mountain ridges is so beautiful that it feels unreal. It looks more like a painting.


But it is for real. Here we stop for a while and just enjoy the view, the sun and the nice morning. Better start to the day is hard to get.

Two hours we spend at Motuara before Captain Fred comes and picks us up with his boat. We spend the afternoon walking a bit on the Queen Charlotte Track. We are dropped off in beautiful Resolution Bay and we walk all the way into Endeavor Inlet where  Ferneaux Lodge is located. The views along this part of the Queen Charlotte Track is breathtaking. Or what do you think? Have a look here:

This trip to Motuara Island and the walk is a collaboration with Cougar Line. All I have written about this trip is my own opinions and I would never write something that I don’t stand for. All posts are written by me and are written based on how I have experienced it.