Rocky Bay, Waiheke
Image: Matti Vuorre | Creative Commons

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A popular day trip destination for families, with good boating, swimming, fishing, and kayaking.

Place overview


  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping
  • 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 Waiheke Island

About track difficulties


Waiheke Island is a popular destination for boaties, with its great sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The Auckland Council maintains a number of wharves and boat ramps around the island, and small boats can also be landed on many of Waiheke's beaches.

Boating is allowed in the Te Matuku Marine Reserve but please take care to avoid damaging marine life by dragging anchors.

Child/family friendly activities

Waiheke Island makes a great family day trip. The kids will love exploring the tunnels and gun enplacements at the Stony Batter Historic Reserve (see below for more information). The short walks on Waiheke are also suitable for older children.

Diving and snorkelling

You can snorkel or dive in the Te Matuku Marine Reserve. However, the water within the tidal bay is often murky and not great for underwater viewing.


You can fish off the rocks or the beach around the island’s coastline, except in the Te Matuku Marine Reserve.


Kayaking is a popular activity on Waiheke Island. Kayak around the island taking in the spectacular cliffs, coves and sandy beaches. Kayak rentals are available on the island. You can also kayak to Waiheke from the nearby islands of Motuihe or Motutapu, or as part of a tour of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.


There are many sandy beaches great for swimming on Waiheke Island, including Oneroa, Palm Beach and Onetangi. You can also swim in the Te Matuku Marine Reserve, but because of the tidal nature of this marine reserve, swimming may not be best at low tide.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    On the southeast side of Waiheke Island lies Te Matuku Marine Reserve, which contains the largest area of intertidal mudflats in the inner Hauraki Gulf.

    Te Matuku Bay Scenic Reserve protects the coastal fringe of part of the bay, including taraire/tawa forest with pohutukawa and kauri. Fortunately Waiheke Island is free of possums  - a pest animal which threatens native forest.

    Getting there

    Waiheke is a large island in the Hauraki Gulf between the Auckland mainland and the Coromandel Peninsula.

    A number of commercial ferry operators run both car and passenger ferry services to Waiheke Island.

    Find boat services to Waiheke Island.

    A regular bus service to the main villages on the island operates daily. Taxi and car rentals are available on the island. Get information from the Waiheke Island i-SITE.

    Know before you go

    • The western end of Waiheke is a residential area with around 8,000 permanent inhabitants.
    • The eastern end is a mix of farm blocks and settlements.
    • There are shops and a variety of accommodation.
    • Don't disturb threatened birds like the New Zealand dotterel. Watch them from a distance.

    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.

    Looking after the marine reserve

    Rules and regulations:

    • No fishing of any kind is permitted.
    • Do not take or disturb marine life, including shellfish and seaweeds.
    • Do not remove any part of the sea floor, including rocks or dead sea shells.
    • Leave your dog at home as dogs disturb nesting seabirds. Dogs are not permitted at the marine reserve at any time.
    • Do not exceed 5 knots in a boat or on a jetski within 200 m of the mainland or a dive flag, or within 50 m of a boat or person in the water.


    Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
    Address:   137 Quay Street
    Princes Wharf
    Auckland 1010
    Full office details
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