As part of an Off-Island Youth Trip, I had the privilege to go to Tiritiri Matangi and three other noteworthy places, Snowplanet, Goat Island Marine Reserve and Waiwera Hot Pools. Let’s start with ‘bird watching’ and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Unlike many other islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Tiritiri is an open wildlife sanctuary. Volunteers and private sponsors have reshaped a once almost completely farmed island to a eco-destination for people who like to watch birds and hiking through the vast network of tracks amongst endemic trees and plants. This island is of course also special to researchers.