Motuihe Island

Image: DOC


Crystal clear swimming, white sandy beaches, and a variety of native bush walks with the unique opportunity to see tuatara in the wild – this pest-free island has something for everyone.


Just 45 minutes from downtown Auckland, the varied history of Motuihe Island / Te Motu-a-Ihenga includes being extensively settled by Maori, and farmed by Europeans for more than a century.

It was the site of Auckland's quarantine station for 50 years, a prisoner of war camp, and a naval training base.


Place overview


  • Toilets
  • Picnic tables


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • 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 Motuihe Island

About this place

Getting there

Motuihe Island/Te Motu-a-Ihenga is in the Hauraki Gulf near Motutapu and Waiheke islands.

Access is by ferry, private boat, water taxi or kayak.

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.

Private boat

If arriving by private boat, there are several safe anchorages including Wharf Bay, Ocean Beach and Calypso Bay. Note that the wharf is only available for dropping off and picking up passengers.


The island is accessible by experienced kayakers. It takes approximately two and a half hours to kayak to Wharf Bay. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours.

Know before you go

  • The historic water tower is a major hazard, and the site is fenced off. Do not enter the inside of the perimeter fence or the tower.
  • Bring your own food and drink. The Motuihe Trust opens the 'kiosk' near Ocean Beach on busy weekends, selling drinks and ice creams. There are no other shops on the island.
  • Wear good walking shoes.
  • Bring insect repellent for 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
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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