Little Barrier Island as seen from Mangawhai
Image: Russell Street | Creative Commons


Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island is New Zealand's first nature reserve, established in 1896 and a safe haven for a multitude of critically endangered species.


Te Hauturu o Toi – the resting place of the wind – is the gold standard for predator free New Zealand and our jewel in the crown for conservation. Often described as our most intact ecosystem, it is without doubt one of the most important reserves of its kind in the world.

Approximately 40 species of rare or endangered birds, 14 reptile and 2 bat species, and more than 400 native plants flourish in this pest-free sanctuary. Among many success stories, the beautiful hihi/stichbird, which would have been extinct if not for this island, thrive and are able to be translocated to other pest-free island sanctuaries.

Lying just 80 km north of our largest city, Auckland, you need a permit from DOC before visiting the island.

View the video Little Barrier Island - New Zealand's Ark.

No dogs allowed on Hauraki Gulf island reserves

No dogs.

To protect our native species, dogs are not allowed on island conservation reserves in the Hauraki Gulf.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • 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 Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve


Bird and wildlife watching

Many native birds thrive on Little Barrier since the eradication of feral cats and kiore/Pacific rat.

Diving and snorkelling

The underwater scenery on a dive around Little Barrier Island includes huge boulders, pinnacles and deep crevices. In and around these you can spot sponges, crayfish, red moki, black angelfish, scarlet wrasse, demoiselles and John Dory.

Historic appreciation

Te Maraeroa Flat on Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island was extensively used for cultivation by Māori then Pākehā. The ground has never been disturbed by powered machinery so it has high archaeological value.

Features that can be seen today include stone mounds and alignments associated with early Maori gardening, the remains of the first caretaker's house constructed in 1898, and the grave of caretaker Robert Hunter-Blair. SeeTe Maraeora Flat, Little Barrier Island heritage assessment.

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    About this place

    Getting there

    Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island is 80 km north of Auckland on the outer edge of the Hauraki Gulf. 

    You can only travel in a vessel authorised to transport visitors to the island, and you need a permit from DOC before you visit.

    See Know before you go to Little Barrier.


    Mahurangi / Warkworth Office
    Phone:   +64 9 425 7812
    Address:   Unit 12
    30 Hudson Road
    Full office details
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