A trip to Mana Island was conspiratorially put together to surprise our two young sons in June. We had not been before and it is right on our doorstep – so why not? Plus, we have friends who are overtly biased in their obvious love for all things Mana Island and this had kind of rubbed off on us!
With our booking in hand for the last Sunday of the trip season we headed to Mana Marina and joined a group of keen scouting Venturers.
Introductions were made and the biosecurity check passed. Well almost, as unfortunately our boots failed – to our dismay they did not meet FOMI expectations and needed extra attention.
A short walk to the jetty in crisp clear weather with two excited children before having to sprint back to the car for forgotten sunglasses luckily did not prolong the boat’s departure. Once the obligatory safety check was done and life jackets in situ, we were on our way.
A smooth picturesque journey ensured cameras could be happily clicked on the uneventful trip over for those with a steady arm on the deck. Disembarking meant wet boots and socks for some – thank goodness for spares – then a clamber up the stony foreshore to the woolshed.
FOMI volunteer guide Jason gave an overview of the island and presented options for exploring, with his colleague Richard contributing additional information.
We chose to stick with the main group to tour the island. A steady pace was set, with us coming up at the rear. Lots of stops were made at points of interest along the well-maintained track, to take in the 360-degree views, to explain the flora and fauna, to listen to and spot native birds, and to check out where ‘Nigel’ the
gannet used to reside.
We really enjoyed our wintery Mana Island experience. The bonus of seeing takahe in their natural habitat was great and gaining an understanding of the colourful history of Mana Island was worthwhile.
Reflecting back our children described their Mana Island trip as a “wonderful fun day out” where they “learnt heaps of new things” and where they “enjoyed seeing the birds and geckos and hearing the special bird noises”.
All in all, the trip to Mana Island was a success and will be a lasting memory. Ka pai to mahi ko Mana Moutere.
Story and photos by Rachel Binning