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Walk among some of the most ancient forests in the region at the small "mountain" called Maungatautari, where the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation, is carrying out one of New Zealand's many successful conservation stories. The trust has built a NZ$14 million, 50-km (31-mi) pest-proof fence around 8,400 acres of native forest on Maungatautari, creating a refuge for some of New Zealand's rarest native species. Several endangered birds, including the kaka bush parrot, have been reintroduced here. Interpretive signs at the entrances to the forest describe the conservation project. The closest walk, 14 km (9 mi) from Cambridge, is Te Ara Tirohia Loop Track, but this involves a 20-minute climb through farmland just to reach the enclosure. There is more to see on the more-accessible southern side of the mountain, at the end of Tari Road, Pukeatua (32 km from Cambridge). From the parking lot at the end of the road there is a double-gate entrance into the enclosure. Five km (3 mi) of high-quality tracks lead you through forests, and to an aviary (kaka feeding around 10:30 daily), and to a 16-meter viewing tower, where you can climb into the treetops and be at one with the birds. Experience forest nightlife on an after-dark tour, which can be arranged through the trust (NZ$90 per person, minimum of four people).
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