Home Bay, Motutapu Island

Image: DOC


At 178 million years old pest-free Motutapu is one of the oldest land masses in the Hauraki Gulf. The island has lived an exciting life – it was intensively settled by Maori, it hosted massive Victorian picnic parties, and was a base during WWll.


Now, following the world's largest island pest eradication programme, it's a fine place to see native birds including the rare and beautiful tieke.

There are multiple walking tracks. If you're feeling up for an adventure, head across to neighbouring Rangitoto, thanks to the short causeway established during WWll that connects the islands.


Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping
  • No dogs allowed

    To protect our native widlife, dogs are not allowed anywhere in this place.

  • Check you are pest-free

    Check, clean, and seal your gear to ensure you don't bring pests, soil, and seeds.

    See island biosecurity requirements.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Motutapu Island

About this place

History and culture

During its varied past Motutapu has been intensively settled and cultivated by Maori, hosted Victoria picnic parties of over 10,000 people, and at times during WWII was a base for more than 1,000 military personnel.

Remnants of this varied history can still be seen including sites of kainga (villages), pa (earthwork fortifications), kumara storage pits, former gardens, and middens (food refuge deposits). You can also visit the Reid Homestead, one of the last of the early farmhouses on the island and now a Visitors Centre, and explore WWII sites.

Getting there

Motutapu is directly behind Rangitoto in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf and joined to it by a causeway.

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

There is a wharf at Home Bay. Rangitoto's Islington Bay Wharf is also near the island's western end.

Public passenger ferry and private charter

Ferry service is limited. The public passenger ferry operators that travel to this island only maintain a limited service.

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.

Find authorised transport operators to this island.

Private boat

Safe anchorages for private boats include Islington Bay (Rangitoto) and Home Bay on Motutapu.


Motutapu is accessible to very experienced kayakers. It takes approximately three hours to kayak to Home Bay from Mission Bay. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours to Motutapu. See the Commercial Operators section.

Know before you go

  • There is no public transport on the island.
  • There are no shops on the island. The Reid Homestead at Home Bay may open at times and has drinks and food available.
  • Take care on the beaches of Motutapu. Do not to disturb nesting birds from September to March.
  • Beware of wasps and sandflies.

Dogs and fires (including barbeques) are also prohibited to the low tide mark.

No bicycles. Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins.

Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park bylaws apply. Activities such as weddings and other events may require a permit.


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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