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Motutapu Island Reserve is popular for its historic and recreational value. Just a 30-minute ferry ride from Auckland, you can camp, explore or just relax on the island.


This is a Hauraki Gulf Treasure Island. Check your gear for pests before you visit.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping
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      Getting there

      Motutapu Island.
      Motutapu is a Treasure Island

      Access to Motutapu is by private boat, ferry or kayak.

      A number of private ferry operators run trips to Home Bay Wharf on Motutapu Island in the summer months. Alternatively you can catch a ferry year round to Islington Bay Wharf on Rangitoto Island.

      See the pest-free warranted operators for available transport options to this island.

      Safe anchorages for private boats include Wharf Bay, Ocean Beach and Calypso Bay.

      Motutapu Island is accessible to experienced kayakers. It takes approximately three hours to kayak to Home Bay. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours to Motutapu.

      Know before you go

      Motutapu Island.
      Motutapu Island

      There is no public transport on the island. Bicycles are not permitted on Motutapu.

      What to bring

      • Food and drink - at times the Motutapu Restoration Trust opens the Reid Homestead at Home Bay and has drinks and food available, otherwise there is nowhere else to buy food and drink on Motutapu
      • Good walking shoes
      • A torch
      • Insect repellent for wasps and sandflies
      • A bag for your rubbish
      • Sunscreen and a first aid kit
      • Camping? You'll need your own fuel (gas) stove and spare fuel and your tent!

      Looking after the island

      You can help ensure the long term success of keeping pests off this island and preventing reinvasion. Before you leave the mainland or travel between islands in the Hauraki Gulf:

      • Check your boat or kayak and gear for rats, mice, Argentine ants, rainbow skinks, soil and seeds. 
      • Clean footwear, clothing and gear of soil and seeds – weeds are a significant problem on the island.
      • Pack luggage and all food you are bringing to the island in pest-proof containers – not in open bags/boxes/containers or plastic bags.
      • Leave your dog and other pets at home – they pose a risk to the native species on this island.
      • Read the Treasure Islands biosecurity information.

      Other ways you can help look after Motutapu Island

      • Do not light fires. They can easily get out of control.
      • Take your rubbish off the island with you - observe DOC's 'Pack in - Pack Out' policy. There are no rubbish disposal facilities on Motutapu.
      • Do not move or disturb any plants or historic artefacts.
      • No firearms.
      • Take care on the beaches of Motutapu - take care not to disturb nesting birds from September to March.
      • No dogs - kiwi and takahe live on the island.
      • No bicycles.

      Non-compliance with these conditions may result in prosecution.

      Auckland's treasured islands: Working together to protect the Hauraki Gulf

      From small beginnings mighty things can grow, and from small beginnings mighty things can go.

      A single spark can be devastating to Auckland's treasured islands—and everything that lives there.

      If you see a fire call 111.

      Total fire ban

      There is a total fire ban on islands in the Hauraki Gulf (with the exceptions of Waiheke, Great Barrier, Kawau and Rakino, where you can light a fire if you have a permit).

      Check the current Hauraki Gulf fire conditions.

      Related link

      Radio NZ's 'Your place' audio on Motutapu

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