The main sanctuary islands in the outer Queen Charlotte Sounds are Motuara Island, Long Island and Blumine Island.
These islands are predator free and are looked after by the Department of Conservation New Zealand. They provide a sanctuary home for some of New Zealands rarest and endangered native birds as well as allowing native flora to flourish. Some of the birds that may be seen on the islands include the south island robin, endangered saddleback, bellbirds, tui, fantails, kakariki (native parakeet), kereru (native pigeon), tomtit, NZ falcon and little blue penguins. Other natives include the Maud Island frog and Marlborough green gecko.
Motuara Island was once home to the maori as it was a natural safe haven with a plentiful supply of food. It was then farmed but now is covered in a good cover of regenerating native bush. Captain James Cook claimed the south island for the King here in 1770 and a small monument at the top of the island denotes this.
Long Island is one of the outer most sanctuary islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound and also has a marine reserve surrounding it and the adjoining Kokomohua island since 1993. Seaweed covered reefs are dominated by sea urchins (kina), paua and other shellfish. Schools of tarakihi and butterfly perch can be seen as well as the occasional rock lobster (crayfish). Large blue cod are abundant and are known to be very friendly to divers and snorkelers alike. Oystercatchers, Caspian terns and black backed gulls also breed onland. If quiet is allowed to reign the distinct sound of the kakariki (native parakeet) can also be heard.
In 1865 Blumine Island was declared a pilot and signal station reserve and then after that used for farming. In 1912 a 113 acre reserve was declared on the southern side of the island, however now-a-days the whole island is a protected scenic reserve. During world war II two gun emplacements were constructed due to fears of Japanese invasion and to allow for a safe anchorage for the US Navy. Army barracks for up to 22 men were also constructed for housing at the top of 215 steps as well as a substantial wharf to land supplies and men. The guns were never fired in anger and were dismounted and moved to Auckland in 1945. Today the remnants of these sites can be seen along a newly upgraded track (Oruawairua) with the gun emplacements (made of thick concrete) still very much standing.
We are very privileged to be able to provide a magnificent opportunity to visit some of these outer sound areas with a variety of different tour packages.
Multi Day Tours
Multi Day Tours