Nature and conservation
Burgess Island, the northernmost of the group and recognised by its lighthouse, is open to the public. Visitors are asked to be sensitive to the special conservation values of this small 50 ha island.
The remainder of the islands (including Fanal, Flax and Trig Islands) and small stacks are nature reserves and protected wildlife sanctuaries, and landing is not permitted without a permit.
Most of Burgess (Pokohinu) Island is scenic reserve managed by the Department of Conservation; the remainder is Crown Land administered by the Ministry of Transport. There are no tracks or facilities on Burgess Island.
Because of their isolated location at the edge of the continental shelf, the Mokohinau Islands are home for unique wildife species found nowhere else in New Zealand, or the world.
The Mokohinau Islands Nature Reserves provide a safe refuge for some of New Zealand's smallest endangered species, including the Mokohinau skink, the robust skink, the Mokohinau stag beetle and several threatened plants. Several species of burrowing and ground-nesting seabirds find refuge on the islands, as do a range of forest birds.
All exotic animal pests have been removed from the island group and the habitats are regenerating naturally. Making sure new animal and plant pests don't arrive on the islands is a major conservation focus. Due to the islands' remoteness, special care is also required to prevent fires.
History and culture
The islands were visited seasonally by early Maori to take grey-faced petrel (muttonbird) chicks which were preserved for later consumption. The Ngati Wai tribe retain muttonbirding privileges on the islands.
A lighthouse was established on Burgess Island in 1883. Successive lighthouse keepers grazed stock on the island group until the light was automated in the 1970s. The islands are now being allowed to regenerate naturally to indigenous forest.
Visitors to Burgess Island can explore historic sites associated with the lighthouse and World War II military installations.
This small group of rugged islands lies about 100 km northeast of Auckland and 25 km northwest of Great Barrier Island.
There is no public ferry service to Burgess Island, but charter boats sometimes visit. There are no safe anchorages around the island.
Know before you go
- Burgess Island is the only island of the Mokohinau Islands group that you can land on.
- No visitor facilities are available on the islands.
- Do not land on any of the other islands or rock stacks. Your actions could contribute to the extinction of a rare plant or animal specie