Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary
Something that has been on our must do list for some time – a trip out to Kaipupu Point!
The kids and I were super excited as we booked in with Cougar Line, our water taxi choice for the day. Cougar Line were taking us out to explore Kaipupu Point for a couple of hours. The trip takes only 10 minutes, but such a treat on a lovely sunny day. Pulling out of the mooring at Picton and heading out into the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most magical experiences ever!
Looking back over the picturesque township of Picton or looking out over the bow towards the sounds is just breathtaking, no matter how many times you have experienced it before. On our way out, we had a family of seals swimming at the end of the moorings, we couldn’t help feeling though they were waving us off.
10 minutes later we were climbing off the boat onto the Dolphin Bay Jetty, excited about what we may see over the next two hours.
Kaipupu wildlife sanctuary is a ‘mainland island’ in Picton harbour and was created as a sanctuary in 2005 to protect and enhance our New Zealand wildlife. This 40-hectare sanctuary is managed entirely by volunteers. In 2008, with the support of local business a 600-meter-long predator proof fence was built. The walking track we walked on, was completed in 2013, and the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary was officially opened to the public in March 2013.
More recently Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary became a “crèche” for Rowi kiwi, these birds were transferred early Autumn and will return home to Ōkārito forests in late Spring as part of the Department of Conservation’s Operation Nest Egg.
Rachel, the project coordinator armed us with ‘A kids guide to KAIPUPU Wildlife Sanctuary and the Marlborough Sounds’ booklet, a task the kids took very seriously! Marking off the plants they saw. We found the Rangiora (the girls very excited to tell me why it is also called the bushman’s friend!), Kawakawa, Mānuka, Beech, Makomako and Tree Ferns.
Then it was time to spot the birds and any creatures we could find. With my background in Entomology I was excited to see in the first Weta Motel a Weta!! We were thrilled by the beautiful sound of two Tui’s singing above our heads. Many times, we had Fantails playing on the path or darting around chasing insects. Every penguin breeding box we saw we approached quietly for a peek inside, and to our great excitement about half way in, a fluffy beautiful Rowi Kiwi (the rarest KIWI) was staring back at us. We were all instantly in love.
How so special it was! Further up the path we recognised the Kiwi footprints in the sandpit, and sure enough not too far ahead in another nesting box were two Rowi Kiwi’s, which we liked to believe were Dusk and Dawn, the newest members to the crèche. Next, we saw two little blue penguins huddled up together. We were so happy and feeling very proud that we got to see these little guys up so close. Our final excitement before heading home was standing quietly watching three Kererū soaking up the last of the Winters Day feeding on some leaves in the trees.
Cruising past Kaipupu Point on our way home we were all smiles and feeling like the luckiest people in the world :)
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