Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Four carloads of trampers met at Sandspit and had time for a quick coffee before 9.30am meeting the water taxi at the wharf.  A small boat it seemed, but with 6 of us tucked into the covered bow with the luggage, there were still seats for all 14.  A 45min trip took us out of Kawau Bay, around Mullet Point (and Scandrettís Regional Park), in a southerly direction.  After passing Martinís Bay on the coast, and islands Motuketekete, Moturekareka, Motutara, we neared the shore of Motuora Island. (almost opposite to the Mahurangi River entrance).

The driver lowered the ladder onto the side of the boat before pulling in as close as possible to the shore.  Our group all stepped off the ladder into thigh-deep water.  Then, forming a chain-gang, we passed the heavy packs and all the luggage to the shore. Setting up tents in the nearby camping ground was followed by morning tea, once the cabin was opened and the jug boiled!  (The cabin accommodates four, and five tents were used for the other ten participants.)  

In glorious sunshine, we set off from Home Bay, towards the northern end of the island, searching for any plastic refuse and any other rubbish, supporting the Motuora Restoration Society with a Beach Clean-Up.  High tide mark was a source of numerous items, plastic bottles, pieces of rope, 2 right jandals, piece of a ship mast, metal and plastic crates and much more.  What a load we carried in at the end of the day!  

Lunch was enjoyed on a small sandy beach on the eastern side of the island.  With the low tide, large expanses of rock ledges, rock pools and plenty of Neptunes Necklace seaweed were exposed. Great views towards the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Tiri Tiri Matangi were before us!

Finally, we reached the very scenic Still Bay with rock platforms and a high rock to explore.  (Simon made it to the top!)  Taking the steep, zig-zag track up from the beach brought us to the main Ridge Track, from which we descended on the western side, back to the Rangerís House and campground area.  Planting of native trees by MRS over the last 19 years, help define the tracks, and our planting from 2004 area looks healthy and well forested now. A further beach walk, after afternoon tea, took us to the southern end to see the natural rock cave.  The tide was lapping at the other side, showing it was clear we could go no further around the island from here.

After dinner we enjoyed a moonlight walk up onto the ridge track, progressing northward in search of Kiwis.  We heard a number of Kiwi calls, but they were not keen to come out on the track to meet us.  We stood for some time at a point were moonlight illuminated the tracks, but no little kiwi popped out from the undergrowth.  Finally, a light shower of rain chased us back into the cover of the cabin.

Bev Taylor (Barbaraís sister) shared geographical details and the history of the island ownership, which came into the hands of George Samuel Emtage 1906-1954 their great grandfather).  Many of their grandmotherís family were born on the island, where they farmed until it became uneconomic. The work of the Motuora Restoration Society (MRS) is remarkable.  The island has been transformed to a sustainable environment for birdlife and native creatures.  Dotterels, Shearwaters, Pycroft Petrels, little Penguins, baby Kiwi (from the zoo) and even Gannets have been raised on the island.  Bird nesting boxes have been provided. Thousands of native trees have been planted.

Barbara then shared devotions on the Biblical view of Restoration and Renewal.  This was based on the founding principles of New Creation New Zealand, which is now an established entity.  Godís plan for renewal involves both humans and non-human life.  We are Godís stewards, and we can participate with Him in renewal of the earth.  The Motuora Island is a great example of what a difference we can make!

When morning dawned, showers were not far away.  The water taxi providers phoned to advise an earlier 11.15am pick up as winds were increasing during the day.  A walk to the Lookout on the south-eastern corner of the island provided a 360 degree view!  Then we took the wide, grassy ridge track to the northern end, in pleasant sunshine.  Return to Home Bay was timed for the departure. With wind against us, and Ian holding the boat at the shore, we loaded the gear in the front of the boat and stepped up on the ladder, for our ride back to Sandspit.

Such a great team assisting with boat and luggage handling, tents, loading up rubbish, meals, general help and cabin cleaning.  We were grateful to God for such pleasant and suitable weather to allow this trip to take place.

Accommodation: Cabin $20pp / Tent $8 pp.
Food $5.00
Equipment Levy $2.50
Transport $14 + $4pp for paid parking at Sandspit.
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