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Each year, the Bar-tailed Godwit flies to the area surrounding the Miranda Shorebird Center from Alaska, a record-setting nine-day journey that it completes without stopping. The destination is worth it: Miranda’s unique shell flats along New Zealand’s Seabird Coast are rich in food and offer the perfect habitat for this incredible bird.
Fortunately, you can access this remarkable place more easily. Miranda is just a short drive from the gorgeous beaches, beautiful walking tracks and well-preserved heritage of The Coromandel. It’s one of the best places in the world to see fascinating bird species and learn about what makes them so special.
Warm welcome and rich knowledge
The Miranda Shorebird Center welcomes visitors with warm beverages, great views, rich displays of information and natural history books galore.
The center is a must-do for bird-watching enthusiasts, with frequently-updated chalkboards tracking sightings of dozens of bird species. Nearly half the world population of Wrybill, an amazing bird with a sideways bill, spend part of the year in the rare shell bank cheniers surrounding the Shorebird Center.
At the same time, any travelers who love nature will find a warm welcome and fascinating experience at the Shorebird Center. Guides share information in an accessible way and readily explain the basics with enough intriguing detail to capture your interest and set you on the path to successful bird sightings.
Tranquil trails and high-action bird watching
The trail leading from the Shorebird Center to the bird hides (where you can best view birds) would be spectacular even without the special species you see along the way. The trail meanders through tranquil fields and beside lush mangroves on Miranda’s shell-packed shores. It also offers a constant view of the majestic mountain range across the Firth of Thames.
While the scenery is impressive, this walk is about what you hear as much as what you see: birds sing, squawk and call to each other as they swoop overhead, search for food and gather in groups over the tidal flats. You can see a great variety of birds on a short stroll (about thirty minutes one way to the bird hides) but the constantly-changing scenery makes it tempting to linger and watch for even more. It’s a setting that’s at once serene and full of action.
Making the journey
The Shorebird Center welcomes visitors to drop by for a day visit, and it’s an easy place to access from Auckland or from the beaches and attractions of The Coromandel. You can also stay at the center in tranquil and well-maintained accommodation that puts you in the right place for morning and evening walks.
The birds are best viewed in the two hours on either side of high tide, so it’s worth checking local tide charts to plan your visit. You can also combine a visit to see shorebirds with the chance to see totally different birds along bush walks at the nearby Mangatangi Dam -- just drop in to the Shorebird Center for a map and practical advice about the best walks for sighting native birds.
To really set your love of birds in flight, the center also offers events and courses throughout the year.