Looking towards the historic lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi
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Introduction

This island represents an amazing opportunity to see some unique native treasures. Tiritiri Matangi is rich in Māori and European history with one of the most successful community-lead conservation projects in the world.

Highlights

Unwanted predators have been eradicated and rare native birds such as the kōkako and the takahē (once thought to be extinct) survive and thrive in restored habitats within regenerating native forest.

The island is the perfect day trip destination for nature lovers and families.

Video

Place overview

Activities

  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping

Facilities

  • Visitor centre
  • Pest free
    Protect our wildlife
    • Check - your gear for pests, eg. rodents, insects, skinks
    • Clean - footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds
    • Seal - ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

    See island biosecurity requirements.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Tiritiri Matangi Island

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Bird and wildlife watching

Tiritiri Matangi is renowned as one of the best places in New Zealand to spot rare and endangered native species.

Tūī, saddleback/tieke and bellbird/korimako are commonly seen in the bush along the Wattle Track between the wharf and lighthouse area, and you may also be able to see whitehead/popokatea, stitchbird/hihi, North Island robin/miromiro and, if you are lucky, kōkako. Another good place to spot birds is on the Kawerau Track - look out for the rifleman/titiponamu.

Other species you may see on the island include little penguin/kororā (check out the penguin boxes on the side of Hobbs Track), takahe and NZ parakeet/kakariki.

Boating

Tiritiri Matangi is a popular destination for boaties with Hobbs Beach providing a sheltered anchorage.

Child/family friendly activities

Give your kids an opportunity to see endangered native wildlife up close. Tiritiri Matangi is an ideal destination for families, including those with young children. Some walks are short and achievable for small children - try the walk from the wharf to Hobbs Beach, a great place for a swim and picnic.

For families with older children, walk to the Visitors Centre and let them loose in the popular children’s learning area.

Tiritiri’s Visitors Centre includes displays on the island’s history and plants and animals. Complimentary tea and coffee is available courtesy of the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi. The group also operate a fundraising shop selling quality gifts and cold drinks.

Note: there is no food sold on Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Kiwi Ranger programme

The Kiwi Ranger Programme is a free, fun and interactive way to get to know this special place. There are activities for young and old alike, and a badge is awarded on completion.

Diving and snorkelling

The best snorkelling on Tiritiri Matangi is on the eastern side of the island. Bring a snorkel and mask and head to Northeast Bay and snorkel out to Wooded Island. Or for somewhere closer to the wharf, head for the rocks off Hobbs Beach, or snorkel out to the small island a couple of hundred metres offshore.

Species you may see include:

  • reef fish - parore, goatfish, snapper, leatherjackets, rock cod and eagle rays
  • pelagic fish - herring, kahawai, and even the occasional kingfish
  • other marine species - octopus, squid and colourful sponges

Fishing

You can fish off the rocks or the beach anywhere round the island’s coastline.

Guided walks

If it is your first visit to the island, a guided walk is highly recommended. The Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi provide a very low cost guided walk from the wharf to the lighthouse, identifying birds and bird song, native plants and points of interest along the way. Two routes are used, the Wattle Track (1.5 hours) and the Kawerau Track (1.5-2 hours). You can book a guided walk at the same time as you book your ferry ticket.

Kayaking and canoeing

Kayaking to Tiritiri Matangi is an option for intermediate kayakers – the stretch of water between the island and the mainland can get rough and windy so this trip is not for beginners. The best place to start from is the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, from where it takes about 1 hour to get to Tiritiri Matangi.

Swimming

Hobbs Beach is a good place for a dip while you are waiting for a departing ferry. Another good swimming spot is North East Bay at the norther end of the island.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    Tiritiri Matangi means "looking to the wind" or "wind tossing about". The island is officially called Tiritiri Matangi Scientific Reserve, and is one of the most successful conservation projects in the world.

    Unwanted predators have been eradicated, and the once-pastoral island has been replanted with native trees. Rare native birds as well as tuatara have been returned to its now-safe and restored habitats.

    You can visit this open sanctuary, and see some of New Zealand's most endangered birds in the wild including takahē, kōkako, saddleback/tīeke and hihi/stitchbird.

    This world renowned island sanctuary attracts more than 20,000 visitors annually.

    The island is managed by DOC in partnership with Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi – a voluntary community group and major contributor to the success of Tiritiri Matangi as an open sanctuary.

    Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi 

    History and culture

    Getting there

    Tiritiri Matangi is 4 km off the coast of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, north of Auckland. 

    Public ferry and charter

    The public passenger ferry service runs most days, and can get booked up well in advance during November to April.

    If you are chartering a commercial vessel to the island, check the operator has a Pest-Free Warrant. Commercial vessels that use the wharf will also need a wharf landing permit.

    Private boat or kayak

    Private boats and kayaks can also visit the island. The best landing is at Hobbs Beach on the western side of the island, where there is good swimming and snorkelling.

    Know before you go

    Visitor cleaning shoes.
    Clean and check your gear before travelling

    • There is no phone available for use on the island apart from in an emergency.
    • Mobile coverage is good on the grass outside the bunkhouse.
    • There is no food for sale on the island.
    • There is a visitor centre and shop at the top of the hill near the lighthouse. Gifts and cold drinks only are available from the shop – generally open 11 am to 3 pm on days the ferry visits.
    • Toilets at Tiritiri Matangi Wharf, Hobbs Beach and the lighthouse area.
    • Rangers live on the island and can offer further information and emergency support.
    • Smoking is restricted to the concrete area at the wharf and outside the visitor centre.
    • Keep to the tracks so you don't disturb rare plants and birds, or scientific studies.

    Conditions of visiting Tiritiri Matangi Island

    If staying at the Tiritiri Matangi island bunkhouse, you must also bring the completed biosecurity checklist.

    Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park bylaws apply. Do not light fires, or remove/disturb plants and artefacts. No bicycles or pets. Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins.

    Some activities require a permit, such as weddings and events.

    Contacts

    Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Information
    Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
    Address:  
    Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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