Kawau Island Historic Reserve
Located in the Auckland region
IntroductionStep back in time on a day trip to Kawau Island, where Sir George Grey, created a ‘gentlemen’s estate’. Visit Grey’s historic Mansion House and gardens, and walk easy tracks featuring Māori and colonial copper mining heritage sites.
Dogs are not allowed on island reserves in the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf.
Find things to do and places to stay Kawau Island Historic Reserve
Surrounding the house and extending up the valley are exotic gardens established by Sir George Grey – a perfect place to relax with a picnic. If you feel like venturing farther, explore the track network and picnic at the lookout above Ladies Bay, or on Ladies Bay beach at low tide. The Coppermine lookout and Coppermine itself are great spots for taking a break, as is Dispute Cove.
The iconic Mansion House is the former home of Sir George Grey and has an impressive collective of antique furnishings. It’s also a venue for holding weddings or other events.
Water taxis and ferries
Water taxis and ferries travel to Kawau Island daily from Sandspit Wharf near Warkworth, about one and a half hour's drive north of Auckland.
Find authorised transport operators to this island.
If you're a commercial boat operator you need a permit to pull up to Mansion House wharf.
Kawau Island has long been a favourite destination for boaties thanks to its numerous bays which provide shelter from almost any weather. The 45k m journey from Westhaven Marina in downtown Auckland takes approximately an hour, making it close enough to visit for a day trip, and an ideal weekend getaway. From Sandspit or Mahurangi, located less than 12 km away, the journey is even shorter.
There are plenty of options for anchorage, from the white sandy beaches on the northern end to the sheltered Bon Accord Harbour, which almost bisects the island from the west. The Kawau Boating Club is located here.
If visiting the Kawau Island Historic Reserve, Mansion House Bay has a sandy and stony beach ideal for drop offs by dinghy and tender. Small runabout boats can anchor close and take a mooring line to the beach. It is drop off and pick up only at the Mansion House historic jetty which is frequented by commercial ferries.
Dogs are prohibited in Kawau Island Historic Reserve.
Moorings on Kawau Island
- Bon Accord Harbour: almost bisects the island from the west and has good holding power with the exception of strong westerlies resulting in significant wave action.
- Two House Bay and Mansion Bay: ideal in a south-westerly.
- Stockyard Bay: has good anchorage in northerlies and an attractive sandy beach.
- North Cove: has good anchorage but tends to fill up quickly.
- Vivian Bay: exposed and prone to a roll.
- East coast anchorages: only suitable in settled weather or as a daytime anchorage.
- Bosanquet (Bostaquet) Bay: only suitable anchorage on the south coast but prone to a lift when a significant swell Is running.
- North Cove: Private moorings available.
- Smelting House Bay: private mooring for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club and Kawau Boat Club.
Before you depart, check the marine forecast as the journey between Auckland and Kawau can be choppy on windy days.
Exercise courtesy when going ashore. Kawau Island is privately owned and the landowners enjoy riparian rights (access to the water's edge).
Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park bylaws apply
- Dogs are not allowed in Kawau Island Historic Reserve to protect kiwi and weka.
- Fires and portable barbeques are not allowed except on the permanent barbeque provided onsite.
- Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins.
- Some activities such as weddings need a permit.
- No camping unless at a designated campsite.
Take care on the tracks
The mature pine trees can fall or drop branches especially in windy conditions.
Wallabies are animal pests established on Kawau and survive throughout the island. The effects of the wallabies' browsing can be seen everywhere and threaten Kawau’s significant ecological values.
Wallaby control operations have successfully reduced wallably numbers.
Kawau Island was the site of one of New Zealand's earliest mining ventures.