Urupukapuka Island
Image: tjrehmann


Of significant historic and cultural importance, pest-free Urupukapuka Island is also a great place to relax or for water sports at one of the many beaches.


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A concession is required to fly a drone on any public conservation land - apply to fly recreationally or commercially.


Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Walking and tramping
  • Pest free
    Protect our wildlife
    • Check - your gear for pests, eg. rodents, insects, skinks
    • Clean - footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds
    • Seal - ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

    See island biosecurity requirements.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Urupukapuka Island Recreation Reserve

About track difficulties

Bird and wildlife watching

As well as saddleback and robin, the island has a population of sea birds including oyster catchers and dotterels. A viewing hyde in Entico Bay overlooks swamp lands and is home to native birds.

Diving and snorkelling

Diving and snorkelling can be enjoyed around the island.

Heritage sightseeing

The island has well-preserved archaeological remnants of early Maori settlement – Ngare Raumati occupied the island in the early 19th century. There is an archaeological walk to a selection of pa, storage pit and terrace sites.

Walking and tramping

There are numerous tracks around the island for those with medium to high fitness. Children must be supervised as there are steep drops next to some of the walking tracks.

Project Island Song

Visit the Project Island Song visitor centre in Otehei Bay and learn about the restoration of the pest-free islands of Ipipiri (the eastern Bay of Islands),

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation


    The island’s topography is the most varied of the islands in Ipipiri and ranges from flat areas behind the major bays (Entico, Otehei, Urupukapuka) and rises to moderately steep slopes and coastal cliffs on the island’s eastern side.


    The main vegetation type is manuka/kanuka shrubland and extensive kikuyu grasslands are features of northern and southern areas of Urupukapuka. A spectacular pohutukawa forest occupies the coastal fringe and pohutukawa are a highlight of the island's vegetation. There is a significant wetland habitat created in the 1980s as a wildlife habitat with baumea sp. and raupo reed land.


    Urupukapuka has significant restoration potential with its range of habitats, natural regeneration and breeding area for brown teal/pāteke and NZ dotterel.

    As part of the on-going restoration of Urupukapuka, Project Island Song has successfully released North Island robin/toutouwai, North Island saddleback/tīeke and whitehead/pōpokotea on the island. Keep an ear and eye open for these rare birds when visiting.

    Grazing occurs on approximately a third of the island in order to maintain open space and vegetation on archaeological sites.

    Getting there

    Getting to Urupukapuka Island

    Water taxis run on demand year round (weather permitting). The Paihia i-SITE takes bookings for boat transportation to the island: visit Northland New Zealand or email paihia@visitnorthland.co.nz

    Passenger ferries go from Paihia and Russell to Otehei Bay every day in the peak summer season.

    Private boats can leave from boat ramps in the Eastern Bay of Islands:

    • 30 minutes from Waitangi boat ramp on Te Karuwha Parade
    • 15 minutes from Te Uenga Bay beach ramp on Russell Road
    • 10 minutes from Kaimarama Bay boat ramp at the end of Rawhiti Road
    • 45 minutes from Opito Bay and Doves Bay


    Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
    Phone:   +64 9 407 0300
    Email:   bayofislandsbooking@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   34 Landing Road
    Kerikeri 0230
    Full office details
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