Have you heard about this little Island close to Lyttelton? No?! It is such an interesting place, rich in history and scenic landscapes all easily explored in one day. Perfect for a day out in Christchurch! Let me show you where it is and what you can do there..... Quail Island is a small island but Canterbury's largest one, located within Lyttelton Harbour in the South Island of New Zealand.(Retrieved from: DOC, http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/otamahua-quail-island-recreation-reserve/things-to-do/otamahua-quail-island-tracks/). It is only 20 minutes from Christchurch city centre (by car) and easily accessible by the Quail Island Ferry from Lyttelton. Black Cat Cruises operate a regular 7 day ferry service to the island from October to April. In winter, from May to October, there is no regular ferry service as the island is looked after by the Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust. Uninhabited by the New Zealand native peoples, it was often visited to collect shellfish, flax, bird's eggs as well as stone for tools which explain better its Maori name "Otamahua" which means "place where children collect sea eggs". Regarding its English Name, it was Captain Mein Smith who named the island 'Quail' after seeing native quail here in 1842; they were extinct by 1875. The island is 81 hectares in area, with a high point of 86 metres. It lies in the flooded crater of an extinct volcano so promises wonderful views of the surrounding Banks Peninsula. While today, New-Zealanders and travelers enjoy Quail Island for its beaches, walks and peaceful environment. In the past, it had complete different purposes. Used as a Farm base from Europeans in 1851, it then became a quarantine station in 1875 and a small leper colony from 1907-1925. It was also a place to train dogs used in Antarctic expeditions of the early 20th century. To this day you can still see the remains of the kennels of where Scott and Shackleton kept their dogs. The island was declared a recreation reserve in 1975. It is a small Island but you have got plenty of things to do: walking, swimming, picnics as well as a bird-watching barricade. It is a great spot to spend some time with family and friends and have a great barbecue. You can also see and explore the incredible ships' graveyard along the Quail Island track. Tracks that you can do on Quail Island: - Whakamaru Beach (Swimmers beach) - 10 min - Discovery trail - 1 hr - Ōtamahua/Quail Island Walkway (full island circuit)- 2 hr 30 min Map of Ōtamahau / Quail Island (Retrieved from: http://www.quailisland.org.nz/) Really easy! You just need to pick up your free booklet from the Quail Island ferry, or the Lyttelton i-SITE (65 London Street, Lyttelton). Then, enjoy your day discovering this amazing island through the activities in your KIWI RANGER booklet. "You'll be challenged to imagine living a lonely island life with no TV or Xbox, and competing in a race to the Pole. Explore the traditional values and uses of plants, and become a 'word witch' in a place that inspired Margaret Mahy to write.
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