Four sites at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Omana Regional Park, Fort Takapuna and Pohuehue Falls have been added to the Toyota Kiwi Guardians national network in the Auckland region in time for the July school holidays.
The programme launched with just 30 sites in March 2016 and now includes 100 adventure sites nationwide.
“We are excited the programme has reached the milestone of 100 sites,” said Alistair Davis, the CEO of Toyota New Zealand. “It's great progress after starting with 30 sites just over two years ago.”
“It’s fantastic to be working with DOC on a project that encourages Kiwi kids to conserve our natural environment and have fun doing it.”
Getting kids more connected to nature with mostly free family-friendly, treasure hunt style activities at specific sites encourages them to engage with the outdoors and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal for their efforts.
“New Zealand has plenty of beautiful places,” said Megan Sommerville, DOC’s Outreach and Education Programme Developer.
“Toyota Kiwi Guardians showcases local places and reminds us we’re lucky we don’t have to go far to wiggle our bare toes in the grass or hear a native birdcall.”
The four new adventure sites are:
Auckland Botanic Gardens
An Auckland Council-controlled organisation, located on Hill Road in Manurewa, straight off the southern motorway. A visitor’s centre has a variety of exhibits and suggestions for activities.
Check out the weta hotels and grubs in the gardens. There is birdlife in the native forest, an orchard, and freshwater crayfish in the stream. A 2km walk loops through the gardens.
Omana Regional Park
Managed by Auckland Council and situated between Beachlands and Maraetai, Omana Regional Park is home to an ancient Māori pā site. There is a campground to stay at overnight and great views to the islands of the inner Hauraki Gulf including Rangitoto and Waiheke.
Wetland, forested areas and the beach provide plenty of opportunities to discover natural treasures, birds and sea creatures. Check out the pōhutukawa trees with their aerial roots. There is also a Māori-themed playground on-site.
Located on Vauxhall Road at Narrow Neck, Fort Takapuna was built in the 1880s and includes gun shelters, a bunker and a now-dried-up moat. A secret path leads down to the rocky shore where creatures can be discovered in the rock pools. There are excellent views across the Hauraki Gulf.
Straight off State Highway 1 in the Dome Valley between Warkworth and Wellsford. There is a 1km round trip walk to the falls with the opportunity to spot native birds and walk through the native forest including tōtara.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians is a joint initiative between the Department of Conservation and Toyota New Zealand. Most sites are on Department of Conservation reserves, with a variety of activities, wildlife to see and native fauna and flora to be discovered.
The goal of the conservation programme is to encourage Kiwi kids to become guardians of the land and sea and to preserve our fauna and flora in the decades to come. Since the programme started in March 2016, more than 12,000 kids have redeemed more than 25,000 medals earned by taking part in activities.
Families can get started on their Kiwi Guardians adventure by downloading the appropriate 'treasure hunt' map from the Kiwi Guardians website. Click on the Auckland area of the map to find out the full details about the sites and then plan your adventure.