All our regional parks are rubbish free. Whether you call it rubbish, trash or garbage, please bag it all up and recycle it or throw it away when you return home.
Glenfern Sanctuary is a predator controlled regenerating forest, where threatened and endangered species are able to thrive once more. Come visit this regional park and see for yourself! For detailed information about Glenfern Sanctuary, and to book a relaxing stay in one of the two houses click here.
Parkland, access roads & adjoining beaches, council land at the park entrance: dogs are prohibited (including dogs in vehicles)
Click here for information about which regional parks prohibit dog walking
Glenfern Sanctuary is on Great Barrier Island. Access is by air (half-hour flight), ferry or boat.
Vehicle access is available for accommodation and booked activities only.
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The nearest beach is within the peninsula sanctuary at Kotuku Scenic Reserve, and is accessible by boat or kayak. Follow the coast along the western shore until you come to a small sandy beach (at low tide). Allow an hour to paddle there. No dogs permitted.
There is no boatramp at Glenfern. There is water access to the Sanctuary and boats can be launched from Port Fitzroy wharf (10 minutes walk, 5 minutes drive). Visitors can secure their tenders, kayaks etc at the wharf/jetty and accommodation guests can request use of the private mooring. Please keep the pontoon free of vessels.
Coverage for Vodafone is generally good. Reception is best near the houses.
The Information Centre located behind Fitzroy House provides a series of interpretive panels about the cultural and natural history of Glenfern. Along Glenfern Walk other panels provide further information specific to the walk. An "explorer activity sheet" is available for children aged 7-12 years.
One limited mobility carpark is available near the entrance to the Information Centre; otherwise parking is at the main entrance gate.
There is access via a farm-track to the pateke pond. A steeper farm track accesses a quad track (the first half of Glenfern Walk). Beyond this Glenfern Walk includes numerous steep steps and a narrow boardwalk.
Glenfern boasts some stunning areas of remnant and restored native forest with both mature and young trees such as kauri, puriri, totara and pohutukawa among many others.
The designated carpark for day visitors is the grassed area immediately outside the main gate. DO NOT park across the ford on the concrete platform - this is for the rescue helicopter.
Potable water is available within the Sanctuary.
Pram and mountain buggy access is possible along the main entranceway, to the pateke pond and to/from the wharf/jetty area (with care). Mountain buggy access is possible from the pateke pond up to and along the quad track section, but beyond this there are numerous steps and narrow boardwalks.
Located east of Fitzroy House, above the main driveway, the first house on your right if entering via the vehicle entry; or the house furthest on your right if entering from the wharf/jetty. This is the ranger's residence - please refrain from disturbing except in an emergency.
Glenfern Road (600m) is narrow, unsealed and includes a hair-pin bend and a ford / stream crossing. Please drive with care.
20 years of restoration and pest control work has given you the chance to see many rare native species in Glenfern Sanctuary. During the daytime, around the houses and gardens you are likely to see kereru, tui, kaka and banded rail. Along Glenfern Walk you will hear and maybe even see those birds plus fantails, grey warblers, pateke and (seasonally) black petrel and even morepork. Australasian harriers glide over the paddocks, and at night you may see pateke near the houses, and hear kaka and morepork. Long-tailed cuckoos can be seen and heard during spring.
Along the shoreline you'll see kotare (kingfishers). Cormorants nest in the pohutukawa along the coast and korero (little penguins) nest along the shore. Oystercatchers are often seen along the harbour / estuary and occasionally you'll also see herons. Kotuku, the white heron is occasionally seen.
Other seabirds breeding in the Sanctuary include grey-faced petrels and Cooks petrels. Occasionally you may hear bellbirds, and red-crowned kakariki are vagrant in the area. North Island robins were reintroduced to the Sanctuary, and have dispersed south, nearer to Hirakimata.
Restoration of habitat is ongoing and will help provide an environment to support more bird species.
Port Fitzroy is an extremely popular spot for many kinds of boating. There is boat access to Glenfern Sanctuary with the nearest boat launch facilities a 5-minute drive away at Port Fitzroy Wharf. Visitors can secure tenders, kayaks etc. at Glenfern wharf / jetty and accommodation guests can request use of the private mooring. Please keep the pontoon free of vessels.
Education programmes are available for schools and youth groups. We facilitate experiential education activities which can be arranged in association with Hillary Outdoors or other providers.
Enjoy the sight of cattle grazing peacefully - they help manage paddock grasses in the Sanctuary. Please leave gates as you find them.
The wharf / jetty provides a good base for fishing, but please respect other users and refrain from fishing when swimmers are using the area. You can reach better fishing areas by boat from Glenfern.
All coastlines: visitors need to be aware of the fishing and non-fishing areas and abide by all fishing regulations.
Excellent canoeing, sailing and kayaking opportunities exist in and around Port Fitzroy and most of Great Barrier Island. The harbour between Glenfern Sanctuary and Port Fitzroy wharf is generally well-sheltered and provides good opportunities for beginner paddlers. Be aware of boating traffic, particularly in summer.
The greater Port Fitzroy Harbour is surprisingly large and can become very exposed. Take great care when paddling farther afield.
Tracks within Glenfern Sanctuary are not suitable for mountain biking. Consider the Haratonga track or the Forest Road between Port Fitzroy and Whangaparapara for good length and challenging mountain biking options.
There are no bookable picnic sites but it is easy to find a favourite spot of your own. Please keep to the public access areas only.
Glenfern Sanctuary offers some spectacular views. Along Glenfern Walk you can access Sunset Rock with its 360-degree views, which take in the Hauraki Gulf and islands, and the conservation area of Great Barrier Island including Hirakimata, and north to Te Paparahi.
From the kauri tree platform, above the tree canopy, you will have views down to Port Fitzroy.
Swimming is popular from the wharf / jetty. Be aware of boats and stingrays.
Glenfern Sanctuary integrates the conservation of native species, farming and public recreation, allowing visitors to get in touch with nature and the species within.
Find further information about volunteering in the Glenfern Sanctuary - click here
Visitors can take part in the guided tour, which includes a 30-minute audio-visual presentation in the Information Centre, a lift up the hill on a 4WD van, and an expert guide. Duration approximately 3 hours.
Minimum number 6 people, maximum 10 people per guide. Costs is $40 per person.
Tailored tours are also available for larger groups - POA.
For more information, click here.
Glenfern Walk is an easy-to-moderate 2km loop through successional reforestation and old growth native areas. Interpretive signs and maps guide walkers, and children can choose to use a specially developed "explorer activity sheet" - request one from the on-site Information Centre.
Highlights include feeding pateke chicks with special duckling food in the purpose-built breeding area; peering into the burrow of an endangered black petrel; and crossing a swing-bridge into the canopy of a 300-year-old kauri.
There is no charge for this walk but donations are appreciated - you'll find a donation box at the Information Centre.
Glenfern Sanctuary is available for weddings and other events.
For more information, click here
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