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.


Find things to do and places to stay Motuihe Island

The Motuihe Trust is undertaking a restoration project in partnership with DOC and a number of rare species have been released on the island. Birds such as tieke/saddleback can be seen and heard near the campground. Kakariki/red-crowned parakeet can be seen flying above open areas. You may also encounter flocks of popokatea/whitehead on the island.

Little spotted kiwi can be heard at night in bush areas and sometimes spotted. Remember to cover your torch with red cellophane if out kiwi spotting. You may see shore skinks bathing in the sun on rocks on the eastern beaches.

Motuihe is also a popular site for shore birds including the endangered New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu. The best time to see shorebirds is from mid-winter on when pairs move back to their nesting sites. Nesting usually begins in September.

Stay well away from birds during their nesting season and take care when you walk on the beach to avoid crushing their well-camouflaged eggs.

Motuihe has long been a popular destination for boaties.

Small boats can be landed at either Ocean Beach, Wharf Bay or Calypso Bay, and these spots also provide sheltered anchorages.

Larger boats can land at the wharf on the northern end of the island. However, the wharf can only be used for drop offs and pick ups; you cannot lay alongside the wharf.

You can fish off the rocks or the beach anywhere round the island’s coastline.

Motuihe is accessible to experienced kayakers. It takes about 2 hr 30 min to kayak to Wharf Bay from the mainland.

You can also kayak to Motuihe from the nearby islands of Motutapu or Waiheke, or as part of a tour of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

No dogs allowed

To protect our native wildlife, 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.


Auckland information
Phone:   +64 7 867 9080
About:   Kauaeranga Visitor Centre provides visitor information for this area
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