Home Bay, Motutapu Island
Image: DOC



At 178 million years old Motutapu is one of the oldest land masses in the Hauraki Gulf. The island has lived an exciting life – it was intensively settled by Maori, it hosted massive Victorian picnic parties, and was a base during WWll.

Now, following the world's largest island pest eradication programme, it's a fine place to see native birds including the rare and beautiful tieke.


Find things to do and places to stay Motutapu Island

The DUAL multisport event is usually held in March each year. It offers participants trail run and walk, an off-road triathlon and mountain bike options – the only time you will be able to bike on the island!

The Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp is located in Administration Bay. It offers outdoor education programmes for school groups, as well as corporate team building events, or just a place to stay for a group of family and friends.

Gardiners Gap is the best place to spot shorebirds such as the New Zealand dotterel and sometimes shore plovers and Caspian terns. The best time to see these birds 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 where you walk on the beach to avoid crushing their well camouflaged eggs.

Home Bay forest is the best place for seeing forest birds on Motutapu. Birds you might be able to spot include:

  • korimako/bellbird
  • tūī, kākāriki/red-crowned parakeet
  • tīeke/saddleback
  • popokatea/whitehead
  • Coromandel brown kiwi
  • spotless crake
  • kōtare/kingfisher
  • kererū/wood pigeon.

You may also be able to see takahē in the Home Bay area. Do not feed the takahē or other birds.

Motutapu is a popular destination for boaties. Small boats can be landed on many of the beaches around the island such as Islington Bay, Home Bay or Station Bay, and these spots also provide sheltered anchorages. Larger boats can land at the Home Bay Wharf on Motutapu or the Islington Bay Wharf on Rangitoto Island, where you can walk across the causeway to Motutapu.

You can fish off the rocks or the beach anywhere round the island’s coastline. However, fishing is discouraged in Administration Bay, adjacent to the Motutapu Outdoor Education Centre, as it is a voluntary no take fishing area.

Motutapu is accessible to experienced kayakers. It takes about three hours to kayak to Home Bay from the mainland. You can also kayak to Motutapu from the nearby islands of Motuihe or Waiheke, or as part of a tour of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

You can swim at one of the many beaches around the island. A popular choice is Home Bay, where you can also find the island’s only campsite, the 1901 Reid Homestead and various WWII military remains. A number of Motutapu’s walkways can also be accessed from Home Bay.

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
Email:   kauaerangavc@doc.govt.nz
About:   Kauaeranga Visitor Centre provides visitor information for this area
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