Map of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

The Mercury Islands are east of the Coromandel Peninsula in the lower right area of this Dept of Conservation map.

We sailed to Great Mercury Island about five years ago and I thought it felt very dead and didn’t like it at all as there was very little bird life.

This story in New Zealand Geographic tells why: 700 years of rats, and in recent years they were in plague proportions. The birds didn’t stand a chance.

A public/private partnership between Sir Michael Fay, who owns the island, and the Department of Conservation cleared the island of pests over a two-year period and it is now pest-free and has been for a couple of years.

The birds and other creatures have returned: kaka, petrels, bumblebees and lizards are all back.

We are sailing there again in late January and I can’t wait to see it this time.