The Pigeon Island and Pig (Matau) Island reserves were gifted by the Crown during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1884, for use and enjoyment by the people of the Queenstown district.
The islands are free from introduced animals such as rats, mice, possums, stoats and weasels; however stoats have occasionally made the swim from the shoreline of the lake.
These islands are a special habitat because the milder climate; due to the influence of the lake allows podocarps such as miro, kahikatea and matai to grow. In addition there are good populations of southern rata and kowhai. The remnant patch of red beech forest to the south of the summit provides an important habitat and food resource for bird species. Native bird life is recovering and there are now many tui, bellbirds, wood pigeons and weka present.
Fire is the greatest threat to the islands as seen in 1996 and 2003, when fires devastated a large portion of the southern end of Pigeon Island destroying large sections of regenerating forest.
In 2001 the Wakatipu Islands Reforestation Trust was established and with the help of QLDC, Dart River Jet and Project Crimson initiated an island reforestation project which has been supported by many local organisations and interest groups. The main objective of the project is to plant native trees and plants with the aim of restoring the islands to their original condition; or as close as possible, before the arrival of man.
Smith Hut Information
There is one hut on the island which can be used by the public. The Smith Hut is available on a first come first serve basis and bookings are not taken. There is another hut on the island, but this is not open to the public.
Summit Track: 1 hour return
North End Look Track: 2 hours return
North Bay: 30 minutes return
Please respect the Island
Camping is permitted, and there is one hut for public use on the island. The hut is Council owned and can be used on a first come, first served basis. This has a fireplace and sleeps around 8 to 10 people.
Please no dogs, fires or shooting.
Please don't feed the Weka.