Quarantine Island, Kamau Taurua (a place to set nets). This place will certainly catch you and pull you into its embrace. An open recreational reserve in Dunedin Harbour, ignore those who may tell you it’s a restricted place, this could not be further from the truth and the people tasked with the care of the island could not be more welcoming. It is a short boat ride (I came via Monarch Cruises ‘Vivienne J’) from Port Chalmers or Portobello yet you feel you have journeyed to a whole other, special place.
It is a beautiful place indeed with a rich history from its Maori name to its use as a Quarantine station from 1863 to 1924. The old station married quarters still stands and is a Category 1 listed building. While the lodge building contains panelling and windows from Dunedin’s New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition as well as an old Captain’s bed in the accommodation rooms. Yet the people’s history is perhaps most poignantly exemplified by the well preserved child’s wooden toy (a Camel head) found during renovations. Did it once belong to one of the many children who died and are buried on the Island’s small cemetery?
Should you take the opportunity to boat or kayak around the island or explore its rich history or beautiful flora there is certainly much choice.
A wonderful walk takes in the higher ground of the Island where each turn of the track comes with another stunning view, often while serenaded by Bellbirds. There are frequent benches to sit and relax and let the Island do its magic on your heart and soul. You will want to return it’s that kind of place.
Post submitted by Ian Loughran