mokohinau Islands at sunset

Image: Leon Berard | Creative Commons


The pest-free Mokohinau Islands lie 100 km north-east of Auckland. The islands are home to skink and muttonbird populations. Recreational activities include walking and diving.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • 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.

Find things to do and places to stay Mokohinau Islands

About this place

Nature and conservation

Burgess Island

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.

Unique species

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. One of the most distant lighthouses in the Hauraki Gulf, the site was chosen to provide boats with a good landfall position when travelling to New Zealand from the Pacific. The lighthouse was one of the last to be automated, with the last lighthouse keepers leaving Burgess Island in 1980.

Visitors to Burgess Island can explore historic sites associated with the lighthouse and World War II military installations. You can visit the lighthouse and historic sites associated with it, but there is no access into the lighthouse. It takes about 40 mins to walk to the lighthouse from the landing at Burgess Island.

Getting there

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

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
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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