Bream Head Scenic Reserve Field Trip (Friday 20th April)


Depart: Forum North car park at 9am and park at the Peach Cove car park, Ocean Beach.  Return to Forum North 3pm.

Bring: Walking shoes or light boots (track is gravelled), hat and sunblock. A reasonable level of fitness is required.  A packed lunch will be provided.

Bream Head Scenic Reserve (800ha) is an outstanding coastal forested ecosystem which continues to support a diversity of threatened, at risk and regionally significant plants and animals.  It is one of the most significant ecological sites listed in the Manaia Ecological District Protected Natural Area Programme Report and is a priority area of management of the Department of Conservation, Northland Conservancy.  The local community lead by the Bream Head Conservation Trust have a management agreement with DoC and currently intensively manage a Core Area (175ha) which includes the Peach Cove Track area.  In addition to predator control long term monitoring is also being established including pitfall trapping for invertebrates.

We plan to walk over the main Bream Head saddle to Peach Cove, approximately a 1.5 hour walk.  The track winds up the ridge on the north eastern side of the reserve, through regenerating forest with patches of mature broadleaf species and traverses the saddle with spectacular coastal views to the north and south.  The track then descends into Peach Cove through some of the finest coastal broad leaf forest in Northland.  Peach Cove itself is a beautiful sandy beach suitable for swimming and a great spot to have lunch.

Pete and Cathy Mitchell from the Bream Head Conservation Trust will lead the trip, while Chrissie Painting (giraffe weevil) and David Seldon (Mecodema) and Shelley Myers (stick insects) will hopefully be coming along and talking about their respective research areas.  Pete and Cathy are with the local restoration project; their work includes predator control, kiwi work and outcome monitoring of invertebrates and lizards.


Matakohe-Limestone Island Field Trip (Friday 20th April)


Depart: Forum North car park at 9am, return to Forum North 3pm.

Bring: Walking shoes or light boots, at hat and sunblock.  The walking on the island is easy.  A packed lunch will be provided.

Motu Matakohe, also known as Limestone Island, is a 37ha (100 acre) island just off the suburb of Onerahi in the upper reaches of Whangarei Harbour.  Only five minutes boat ride from the city, the island has become the site of one of Whangarei’s best known restoration (ecological and historical) projects.  Efforts are coordinated by a group of enthusiasts, the Friends of Matakohe – Limestone Island (FOMLI).  Tree planting has been a major focus on the island, with a target to plant 152,000 trees on the 19 hectares of island available to be planted.

Vertebrate translocations to the island have included NI brown kiwi (the island is part of the DOC Operation Nest Egg Programme), lizards (including forest geckos and shore skinks), and grey-faced petrels.  Invertebrate translocations have had mixed success, and have included tree weta, stick insect, and flax snail (unsuccessfully – all eleven snails died).  Adult tree weta have been found on the island well away from release sites.

We will be met by the Limestone Island ranger, Ben Barr, who will give us an overview of the island’s social and ecological history, and the ecological restoration plans for the island.  We will also have an informal workshop session at 1.30pm to discuss potential invertebrate translocations and specific habitat restoration projects that could be adopted for the island.  The rest of the trip will be spent exploring the island.


0900 – Leave Forum North by minibus

0930 – Pickup to Limestone Island

1000 – Ranger introduction and talk on the island

1030 – Cuppa tea

1100 – Guided walk to plantings/cement work ruins/petrel site/gecko boxes/pa site/sandspit/, then back along coast to visitor shelter.  Some may prefer to explore the island by themselves at this time too.

1245 – Lunch

1330 – Workshop

1400 – Boat leaves

1430 – Drive back to Forum North

1500 – Arrive back at Forum North