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Mana Island Scientific Reserve lies off the west coast of Wellington. A restored woolshed houses historic displays, walking tracks lead to spectacular views and a restored wetland is home to many bird species.


Also enjoy a historic lighthouse site and 'concrete gannet colony' installed above the western cliffs to attract gannets to breed there.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching


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      Bird watching

      Many bird species can be seen on Mana Island including takahe, blue penguin, brown teal, diving petrel, fluttering shearwater, gannets, yellow-crowned parakeet, little spotted kiwi and North Island robin.

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      About this place

      Getting there

      Landing point, Mana Island. Photo: Kris Ericksen.
      Landing point, Mana Island

      The 217 hectare island is only 2.5 km from the mainland at its closest point.

      Visitors are welcome to Mana Island between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm. Access may be made only in the bay between the old woolshed and the wharf. Boats must remain offshore after visitors have landed.

      Two moorings, marked by red buoys, are available in the bay for daytime use. They are not available for overnight mooring.

      Dinghies may be pulled up the beach after transporting passengers from their boat.

      'Friends of Mana Island' sometimes run day excursions with a guided tour of the island.

      For transport options contact the Wellington Visitor Centre. 

      Know before you go

      Everything on Mana Island is protected and nothing may be removed. Fires and smoking are not permitted. Dogs and other pets may not be taken onto the island.

      Unwanted pests and weeds

      The most likely way pest animals and plants can invade the island is by stowing away on or in your footwear or gear, or on your vessel or kayak. It’s easy to pick one up. Rats can squeeze through a 12mm gap, mice can squeeze through a 7mm gap, insects and mice could hide in your bag, weeds, seeds and soil cling to clothing and shoes.

      Check your gear and vessel before you set out, every time. Ensure that your clothing, footwear and luggage is free of plant material including seeds and foliage.

      Once checked keep your bags tightly closed and keep food supplies in sealed containers.

      What to do if you find a pest

      • On the mainland: get rid of the pest and clean your gear again.
      • On your own boat or in your kayak: make sure the pest has been destroyed before you land. Don't throw rats/mice overboard as they can swim. Return to the mainland to deal with the pest if you need to.
      • On a commercial boat: tell the crew what you have found and where it is.


      Pōneke / Wellington Visitor Centre
      Phone:      +64 4 384 7770
      Address:   18 Manners Street
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