Moutohora Muttonbird Mania
As the sun begins to dip in the sky and dusk approaches join us aboard the Moutohora Cat for the journey to visit magical Moutohora at night.
Moutohora is home to the world's largest colony of Grey-faced Petrels, commonly known as Muttonbirds and also as Kuia. With an estimated 168,000 birds roosting on the island during breeding season, their arrival back from a day feeding at sea is spectacular.
After disembarking the boat we'll make our way through the bush as most of the island's other bird species quieten down for the evening. We'll then settle at a vantage point and as the first stars begin to appear, so too will the Muttonbirds. Sweeping in from the sea the birds swoop and circle as they locate their burrows. The island comes alive with the dove-like cooing call that the birds make as they search out their mate. As darkness descends the Muttonbirds begin to crash land through the island's canopy. Once on the ground the birds pause for rest after their day of flight and then begin the process of finding their particular burrow.
With no predators on the island and little interaction with people our presence is largely ignored meaning a wildlife encounter of the closest kind. If you happen to be sitting in their way you may find a Muttonbird clambering right over the top of you. The Muttonbirds are fantastic flyers but not so good at landing so we will provide you with a hard hat!
While the focus of this tour is the Muttonbirds we may be lucky enough to come across some of the island's other nocturnally active residents such as kiwi, tuatara and little blue penguins.
The Moutohora Muttonbird Mania Tours operate on Thursday evenings from 17 July through to 26 November 2015. Group enquiries are welcome for other nights during this period.
Child: $59 (15 years and under)
Child: $59 (15 years and under)
- Bookings are essential.
- We recommend that children be at least 8 years of age for the evening tour.
- The tour is very weather dependent. We will confirm with you between between 11am and 12pm on the day of your tour whether the tour is able to operate.
- Check-in is at White Island Rendezvous, 15 The Strand East, Whakatane. Check-in is required 30 minutes prior to your advised departure time.
- Tour departure times:
As we need to be at the island at dusk our departure time varies based on sunset time. Towards the beginning of Winter departure time will be between 4pm and 5.30pm. During daylight savings departure will be between 6pm and 7pm.
- Moutohora is a pest free island and a biosecurity clearance check is required before departure. Please see below for further details.
What to Bring
- You need to wear/bring very warm clothing as you will be outside at night.
- A raincoat or water proof jacket is recommended.
- Sturdy footwear for the walk. Sneakers/sand shoes are perfect. Jandals/thongs/flip flops are not suitable.
- Small backpack - biosecurity guidelines require all bags to be closable by zip. Drawstring and open bags are not suitable.
- A small towel to dry your feet after landing on the island.
- You may like to bring your own small handheld torch. We do not recommend headlamps as the birds are attracted to light and you can imagine what might happen!
Protecting Moutohora / Whale Island
- Moutohorā (Whale Island) is rodent and predator free. To keep it this way it is important for us to enforce strict bio-security checks on behalf of the Department of Conservation.
- Before arriving for your tour please check clothing, bags and shoes for soil and seeds. This is to prevent weed species becoming established on Whale Island.
- Backpacks and bags must be able to be sealed closed with a zip or similar device. Open bags are not permitted.
- Only packaged food is permitted on the island. No fruit or home grown produce is allowed. Food may be taken aboard the boat but must be in a sealed container or commercially packaged.
- Following check-in for your tour you will be directed to the bio-security Caravan on the wharf. Please try to bring as little as possible to the island.
- Inside the bio-security caravan you will be required to un-pack any bag you may have. Items will be inspected by a White Island Tours staff member to ensure that they do not inadvertently contain rodents, insects or seeds.
- You will be requested to dip the soles of your shoes into a water bath containing a strong disinfectant prior to boarding the boat.
- Whale Island is an extremely dry environment and as such there is a high fire risk. Please do not bring matches or lighters on the tour. Smoking is not permitted on the island or on the boat.
- All items taken to the island must be removed again.