Nature and conservation
Motuora is an 80 ha island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Much of the original coastal forest and shrubland vegetation was cleared long ago by Maori and European occupants leaving remnant pohutukawa and karo/mahoe scrub growing on coastal cliffs.
In 1990 the local community, the Mid-North Branch of the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, and DOC joined forces to restore Motuora Island.
The Motuora Restoration Society (established in 1995 and made up of volunteers) has led a replanting programme which is now almost complete and continues to work to restore the natural values of the island.
Motuora Restoration Society website
Motuora has remained free of mammalian predators despite the island's long history of occupation and farming. There are no rats, mustelids (stoats, ferrets or weasels) or feral cats.
The island is a crèche for young kiwi chicks raised under the Operation Nest Egg (ONE) programme. A resident healthy population of approximately 100-150 birds remain on Motuora.
Whitehead, Pycrofts petrels and diving petrels have also been reintroduced to the island, along with Duvaucel's geckos, shore skinks and wetapunga (giant weta).
In July 2010 a "fake colony" of gannet decoys was installed on Motuora. Since then, real gannets have been attracted to the site and in 2012 began to nest.
Access to Motuora is by private boat, water taxi or kayak.
If arriving by boat there are several safe anchorages including Home Bay on the western side of the island and Still Bay on the eastern side.
Water taxi/charter boat services
There is no ferry service to Motuora. However, you can organise a water taxi or charter boat. Water taxis are available from Sandspit Wharf near Warkworth, about one and a half hour's drive north of Auckland.
Motuora is within kayaking distance from the mainland. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to kayak to the island from the main access points in the Mahurangi area. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours to Motuora.
Know before you go
- There is nowhere to buy food and drink on Motuora.
- Bring insect repellent for sandflies.
- Follow the signs and stay away from shore bird nesting areas.
- Avoid walking over newly planted areas.
- Smoking is only permitted on the beach and in the campground.