Motuora Island

Image: DOC


Come to pest-free Motuora for a picnic, or camp for the night. It's possible to hear and sometimes see (at night) North Island brown kiwi here.


Enjoy the beautiful beaches, secluded picnic spots, and clear waters. There are several walking tracks, with chances to see a variety of native wildlife including kiwi.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Walking and tramping
  • 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 Motuora Island

About this place

Nature and conservation

Motuora is an 80 ha island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Much of the original coastal forest and shrubland vegetation was cleared long ago by Maori and European occupants leaving remnant pohutukawa and karo/mahoe scrub growing on coastal cliffs.

In 1990 the local community, the Mid-North Branch of the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, and DOC joined forces to restore Motuora Island.

The Motuora Restoration Society (established in 1995 and made up of volunteers) has led a replanting programme which is now almost complete and continues to work to restore the natural values of the island.

Motuora Restoration Society website

Pest-free haven

Motuora has remained free of mammalian predators despite the island's long history of occupation and farming. There are no rats, mustelids (stoats, ferrets or weasels) or feral cats. 

The island is a crèche for young kiwi chicks raised under the Operation Nest Egg (ONE) programme. A resident healthy population of approximately 100-150 birds remain on Motuora.

Whitehead, Pycrofts petrels and diving petrels have also been reintroduced to the island, along with Duvaucel's geckos, shore skinks and wetapunga (giant weta).

In July 2010 a "fake colony" of gannet decoys was installed on Motuora. Since then, real gannets have been attracted to the site and in 2012 began to nest.

Getting there

Access to Motuora is by private boat, water taxi or kayak.

Private boat

If arriving by boat there are several safe anchorages including Home Bay on the western side of the island and Still Bay on the eastern side.

Water taxi/charter boat services

There is no ferry service to Motuora. However, you can organise a water taxi or charter boat. Water taxis are available from Sandspit Wharf near Warkworth, about one and a half hour's drive north of Auckland.


Motuora is within kayaking distance from the mainland. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to kayak to the island from the main access points in the Mahurangi area. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided kayak tours to Motuora.

Know before you go

  • There is nowhere to buy food and drink on Motuora.
  • Bring insect repellent for sandflies.
  • Follow the signs and stay away from shore bird nesting areas.
  • Avoid walking over newly planted areas.
  • Smoking is only permitted on the beach and in the campground.

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
Back to top