Kelp forest off southeast coast of Rakitu Island
Image: Kim Westerskov | ©
Located in the Auckland region
Covering 329 ha, Rakitu's sheer cliffs rise 180 meters from the sea in places, giving it an imposing fortress-like appearance. Rakitu Island became a Scenic Reserve in 1994 after being purchased by DOC, with Natural Heritage Fund assistance, from the Rope family.
The island's native flora and fauna are great attractions for day trips. Be aware there are strict biosecurity requirements in place following the eradication of rats in 2018.
Dogs are not allowed on island reserves in the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf.
The eradication of rats from Rakitu Island was carried out during the winter of 2018. Without predators, the island’s already rich plant and wildlife will only continue to flourish. Visitors to the island should take special note of the biosecurity requirements to ensure the island remains pest-free.
The vegetation of Rakitu is made of retired farmland, and forest of mānuka, kānuka and coastal pōhutukawa. The flora of Rakitu features large leaved forms of rangiora and kawakawa. Like nearby Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands, Rakitu has a remarkable diversity of lichens.
Many native birds occupy the island’s forest and coastal areas.
Rakitu is a taonga to Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea people. It is the final resting place of the founding tupuna Rehua.
It is one of a number of sacred islands such as Mokohinau and Hauturu-o-Toi. These other islands have been eradicated of pests for some years, so are thriving with life and taonga species. Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea are committed to restoring the mauri of Rakitu. The recent eradication of rats is the first step in establishing a sanctuary for our seabirds and other taonga species.
Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea people cleared and cultivated the central valley. There are historic sites including a pa (earthwork fortifications) and several kainga (settlement) and whare (dwelling) sites.
Rakitu was purchased from the Rope family in 1993. Europeans settlers grazed cattle on Rakitu for more than a century, before the Rope family stopped grazing in 2013.
Rakitu Island Scenic Reserve is 2.5 kilometres off Great Barrier's eastern coast.
You must find your own boat transport to Rakitu. The only safe landing spot is the sandy shore of Arid Cove on the north-western side of the island.
Find authorised transport operators to this island.
Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park bylaws apply. Do not light fires (including barbeques), or remove/disturb plants and artefacts. No bicycles or pets. Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins. Rules apply to the land and extend to the lowest point reached by a low tide.
Some activities require a permit, such as weddings and events.
|Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 9 379 6476|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
|Full office details|