Located in the Auckland region
IntroductionCome 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.
Find things to do and places to stay Motuora Island
A visit to Motuora overnight will give you the chance to hear, and possibly spot, a North Island brown kiwi. The island is used as a kiwi crèche, with a healthy breeding population now established.
Other species to look out for include:
- whitehead/popokatea in forested areas of the island
- shore skinks, best spotted at Home Bay
- New Zealand dotterels on the foreshore
- brown teal/pateke that have self introduced, seen around the dam
- dolphins and orca that sometimes cruise past
Motuora is a popular place for boaties with sheltered anchorages at either Home Bay on the western side of the island or Still Bay on the eastern side, depending on the prevailing wind.
Access to Motuora is by private boat, water taxi or kayak.
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.
Find authorised transport operators to this island.
- 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.
Rules for the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park
- Fires and portable barbeques are not allowed except on the permanent barbeque provided onsite.
- Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins.
- Some activities such as weddings need a permit.
- No camping unless at a designated campsite.
These are part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park by-laws. Read the full by-laws.
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 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.