Introduction

It is possible to visit nature reserves but visits are strictly regulated. You must apply for a permit to visit Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island and you are likely to be prosecuted if you land illegally.

In this section

Arranging a visit to Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island

You must apply for an entry permit to land on the island.

The only part of the island open to the public is the area around Te Maraeroa and up to five tracks.

To protect the island, the maximum number of visitors permitted to land is 20 per day, although this may vary dependent on the management activities scheduled for the time of your visit.

Note: There is no public accommodation on Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island, and no visitor facilities available.

To travel to Little Barrier Island you must:

Getting there

Arrange transport before applying for your permit.

You will need to include details of how you will be travelling in your permit application.

You can only travel to Little Barrier Island in a vessel authorised to transport visitors to the island.

Ensure that the vessel you are travelling on carries its own dinghy or tender, and that someone in your party can row. The Island Ranger is not responsible for ferrying visitors ashore.

Check with the operator on your required number of passengers.

Supervisors 

An accredited supervisor must accompany every group travelling to Little Barrier Island. These people are not a guide but are to make sure you follow permit conditions.

See Accredited supervisors

Group leaders

Every group of visitors to the island must nominate one person as their group leader. They will be the permit holder and will be responsible for ensuring that the biosecurity and other permit conditions have been read and understood by all members of their party and complied with before departing for the island. The group leader is also responsible for the group's safety.

See Responsibilities of the group leader

Fees and application

Before applying for an entry permit, contact the Mahurangi / Warkworth Office to discuss available dates and the purpose of your trip, as some activities may require a concession in addition to the entry permit. See Apply for permits.

Day visitors:

Entry permit fee $130+GST per group plus a quarantine fee of $38.40+GST per person.

Entry permit application form

Allow a minimum of 20 working days to process your application for a permit to enter Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve.

See full biosecurity and entry permit conditions

Biosecurity

Little Barrier is free of all introduced predators except wasps. This makes it a very important sanctuary for many of New Zealand’s threatened species now extinct, or in danger of extinction, on the mainland.

It could spell disaster for many species if new diseases or pests such as ants, rainbow skinks, mice, rats, stoats or cats got to Little Barrier Island. For this reason, strict biosecurity conditions must be followed by all visitors to the island, including:

  • Completing the biosecurity checklist (726K)
  • Follow the checklist when packing your gear before your arrival at Quarantine.
  • Packing, rechecking and sealing all personal gear in a rodent-free area at DOC's Warkworth quarantine room immediately prior to departure.
  • Unpacking all personal gear in the island's quarantine store immediately on arrival on the island.
  • Taking all rubbish with you when you depart, including unwanted food such as apple cores, unwanted fillings from sandwiches etc.

More detailed biosecurity information will be supplied upon issue of your permit. The Island Ranger will turn away any supplies or people if they do not comply with permit conditons.

How to pack

Because of the risk of reinvasion of pests, visitors cannot take their own day packs to Little Barrier Island.

Your gear will be packed into fish bins during your biosecurity check, which will then be sealed and not opened again until you are in the quarantine store on the island.

The Island Ranger will advise you when it is ok to open the bins and will provide you with day packs to use during your visit.

Anything you want kept dry should be sealed against immersion in salt water, either in plastic bags or a water tight container. Breakables should be well padded as a precaution against unavoidable rough handling.

Safety

Landing on the island

Landings and departures at Little Barrier Island are only possible during suitable weather conditions. Even in agreeable conditions, landings are difficult and may need to be performed in chest high surf on slippery boulders.

Because of landing difficulties, visitors must:

  • Be at least 12 years of age.
  • Be physically able.
  • Wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear – walking boots or shoes or hard soled wetsuit booties. Bare feet, jandals and sandals are not suitable.
  • Be willing to help unload supplies and not worried about getting wet on arrival. Unsuitable clothing and attempts to keep dry on arrival make landing more difficult and dangerous for others.

What to bring

  • Appropriate clothing, including a raincoat and sturdy footwear
  • Water bottle (2-3 litres)
  • Food for the day, plus extra food in case of delayed departure
  • Enough personal medication to cover for an enforced overnight stay
  • At least one cell phone and first aid kit should be carried per group
  • Whistle (useful for finding someone lost in the bush)

Delayed return

Due to the difficulties in landing and departing from Little Barrier, a delayed return is a real possibility if visiting the island.

When visiting the island:

  • Bring enough personal medication to cover for an enforced overnight stay.
  • Have a contingency plan arranged with your boat skipper in case of deteriorating weather.
  • Arrange a ‘telephone tree’ so if your planned return is delayed, a message can be sent to one person who can then relay the information on.

Island tracks

There are usually five tracks open to visitors on Little Barrier. Visitors should be aware of the following:

  • Visitors must stay together with their supervisor at all times
  • The tracks are trails only and require good robust footwear
  • Vegetation on each side of the tracks is fragile and visitors must stay on the track in order to protect this fragile ecosystem
  • Bush safety practices must be followed, with warm clothes and snack food carried at all times.

Total fire ban on Hauraki Gulf islands

There is a total fire ban on islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The exceptions are Waiheke, Great Barrier, Kawau and Rakino, if you have a permit. Check the Auckland Council website.

Contact

Mahurangi / Warkworth Office
Phone:   +64 9 425 7812
Email:   warkworth@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Unit 12
30 Hudson Road
Warkworth
Full office details
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