Autumn outdoor adventures with Kiwi Guardians

Getting out into nature has never been as fun – or as rewarding – as it is now.

That’s because the Department of Conservation (DOC) is rewarding young Kiwis for exploring the great outdoors by giving them a medal through its new Kiwi Guardians programme.

Kiwi Guardians is a new programme developed by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Toyota and local land owners and managers. It highlights family friendly activities at specific sites that support kids having fun, engaging their senses, taking risks and getting dirty, all in the outdoors. It’s a great way to get kids off screens and into the outdoors in a way they’ll love.

Each Kiwi Guardians site has a unique code located on a post or plaque. The code unlocks a site-specific embossed wooden medal that is posted to each child, allowing them to identify themselves as Kiwi Guardians. So don’t forget to find the post while you are on your adventure!

In addition to the site-based experience, Kiwi Guardians provide families with some simple ideas on how they can start taking action for conservation. These actions are ideal weekend or school holiday activities, and by telling DOC what they’ve done children can earn more reward medals.

Kiwi Guardians sites

Quail Island

Beautiful Otamahua/Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour has a great deal to offer families eager for salty adventures around Christchurch.

There are memorable experiences to be had by the bucket loads on this isolated island, many of which have been picked out to feature in a map that you can download by visiting www.kiwiguardians.co.nz or www.doc.govt.nz.

A magical harbour boat trip takes you to the rich history of Quail Island—a former leper colony that also has links to Scott’s 1910 Antarctic voyage. Look out for skinks, korora /white-flippered penguins, tara/ white-fronted terns, parekareka/spotted shags, black backed gulls, variable oystercatchers, piwakawaka/fantails, kotare/kingfisher and riroriro/grey warblers as well as introduced quail and pheasant. Hector’s dolphins can sometimes be seen in the surrounding waters and there are plenty of shady picnic spots.

Banks Peninsula tree weta have recently been transferred to the island—you may see custom-built weta homes attached to the trunks of manuka trees.

Remember to keep an eye out for a Guardian Post, which holds the key to receiving your Otamahua medal.

A regular bus service runs between Christchurch city and Lyttelton, including a stop at the jetty where a 7-day ferry service operates during summer and a weekend service during winter.

More to explore around Christchurch

Otamahua is currently one of three Toyota Kiwi Guardian sites around Christchurch available for exploration. The others are even easier to access from the city: Godley Head and Riccarton Bush.

The aim is for there to be a destination to suit every family. Sites will be added over time to keep busy Kiwi Guardian families active and encourage new families to join in.

Visit www.kiwiguardians.co.nz to start your family’s adventure.