Overview

Rotoroa Island is a unique arts, heritage and conservation island. Come and see the endangered species in the wild - and learn about the mission to save them. Bring your walking shoes to explore the island’s network of trails and lookout points, or simply relax with a swim at one of four beautiful beaches. 

Experience this Hauraki Gulf wildlife sanctuary, home to endangered native species including kiwi, tīeke, takahē, pāteke and skinks

Rotoroa was closed to the public for more than 100 years, as home to NZ’s first addiction treatment centre. Rotoroa maintains historical buildings and exhibitions showcasing the island’s fascinating history. For a truly unique experience, you can even stay the night at the island’s boutique hostel or in a vintage holiday home.

Where is it?

Rotoroa Island is nestled among a chain of islets off Waiheke’s east coast – a 75-minute ferry ride from the Downtown Auckland ferry terminal. You can also catch this ferry from Orapiu Wharf on Waiheke Island, which is a 10-minute journey to the island.

What can I do?

  • Walking tracks - Take in the island's rugged coastline, sandy beaches and regenerating forest. Visit the seven-metre high sculpture by New Zealand artist, Chris Booth, on the island’s southern headland. Walk to the North or South Tower for amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf, or go for a short walk to Ladies Bay and relax on the sandy beach with a picnic or BBQ. The majority of walking tracks on the island are accessible by most people with reasonable fitness.
  • Guided Walks -  Explore Rotoroa Island with a guided walk by the Rotoroa Rangers. Your guide will lead you as you walk among the regenerating native forest, with plenty of wildlife, lookout points and beaches along the way. Learn more about the guided walks.
  • Museum and Exhibition Centre - A state-of-the-art visitor centre and museum now showcases the island’s fascinating history from its Maori and early European history through to its many years in private isolation as New Zealand’s first and longest-running addiction treatment centre.
  • Historical Buildings - Get a glimpse into what life on the island used to be like by visiting heritage buildings including a chapel, schoolhouse and jailhouse.
  • Birdlife - A number of endangered birds have been introduced onto the island including takahe, whitehead, saddleback, pateke ducks and kiwi. Kiwi chicks were first released in 2014, and since, more than 30 kiwi have enjoyed Rotoroa's predator-free haven. Rotoroa welcomes visitors for special release events, as the island trust regularly introduces.
  • Native forest - Thanks to the efforts of Rotoroa Island Trust and volunteers, the island has gone through a substantial transformation since 2008. The planting of 400,000 native trees and shrubs have helped regenerate the island, as it was once covered in 20,000 wilding pines.
  • Accommodation - Rotoroa Island has three self-contained Qualmark 4-star rated boutique holiday homes, as well as a backpacker style hostel. All of the accommodation is renovated and styled in vibrant, vintage decor reminiscent of the island's history. Bookings are essential. Visit the Rotoroa website for more information and availability by clicking here.

What do I need?

  • Plenty of water, snacks and lunch, as there are no food outlets on the island.
  • Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat.
  • Swimming gear and a towel in the warmer months.
  • A light rain jacket, and warm layers. Temperatures can change quickly, regardless of the season.
  • There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you.

How long should I stay?

This is a full-day activity due to the ferry timetable and travel time to the island from downtown Auckland. Bookings are recommended. For ferry timetables click here.

Important pest-free island info

  • Please check your bags for stowaways, such as mice, rats, Argentine ants and Rainbow Skinks to name a few.
  • Ensure your footwear, clothing and bags are clean and free of soil and seeds.
  • Your lunch must be packed in a rodent-proof/ sealed container e.g. hard plastic.
  • No open bags or boxes will be allowed on-board. Everything you bring must be sealed or zipped closed.

Read more before you visit a pest-free island here

Adult Tickets

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  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA ADULT OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND ADULT OW
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  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA ADULT SAME DAY RETURN
    GUIDED WALK ADULT
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  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA ADULT OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND ADULT OW
    GUIDED WALK ADULT
    - +

Child Tickets

  • - +
  • - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA CHILD OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND CHILD OW
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA INFANT OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND INFANT OW
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA CHILD SAME DAY RETURN
    GUIDED WALK CHILD
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA INFANT SAME DAY RT
    GUIDED WALK INFANT
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA CHILD OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND CHILD OW
    GUIDED WALK CHILD
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA INFANT OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND INFANT OW
    GUIDED WALK INFANT
    - +

Family Tickets

  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA ADULT SAME DAY RETURN
    AUCKLAND - ROTOROA CHILD SAME DAY RETURN
    - +
  • AUCKLAND - ROTOROA ADULT OW
    AUCKLAND - ROTOROA CHILD OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND ADULT OW
    ROTOROA - AUCKLAND CHILD OW
    - +
Buy Tickets

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How far in advance do I need to arrive for my ferry?

    Bookings are recommended for Rotoroa Island and we recommend arriving at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes prior to ferry departure. Boarding for Rotoroa Island closes 15 minutes before departure time.

  • How long should we stay on the island?

    Rotoroa Island is a full day activity due to the ferry service timetable. It is possible to extend your stay at certain times of the year by staying overnight in the fantastic island units if you book in advance. Make sure you book in advance as they book out fast! (See ‘Can I stay on the island?’ further down).

  • Is there a cafe on the island?

    There are no food outlets on the island so please bring your own food and water. All food must be packed in a rodent-proof, sealed container (e.g. hard plastic). There are public BBQs on the island for you to cook your food if you wish.

  • What do I need to bring?

    • Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat.
    • Swimming gear and a towel during summer.
    • Plenty of water, snacks and lunch in sealed, rodent-proof containers. There is no food for sale on the island! If staying overnight it is wise to bring enough food for an extra day in case the boat is cancelled due to bad weather.
    • A rain jacket, depending on the time of year and conditions.

    There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you. Read more about visiting a pest-free island here.

  • What do I need to do when visiting a pest free island?

    • Please check your bags for stowaways, such as mice, rats, Argentine Ants and Rainbow Skinks to name a few.
    • Ensure your footwear, clothing and bags are clean and free of soil and seeds.
    • Your lunch must be packed in a rodent-proof, sealed container (e.g. hard plastic).
    • No open bags or boxes will be allowed on-board. Everything you bring must be sealed or zipped closed.

    There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you. Read more about visiting a pest-free island here.

  • What wildlife can I expect to see on the island?

    Rotoroa Island is predator-free and home to endangered native species, including kiwi, tieke, takahē and skinks. Visit our wildlife page here to see what your visit has in store.

  • Is this destination suitable for children?

    Rotoroa is great for children 5 years and over, as there are easy walking tracks and plenty of opportunities to view wildlife. There are also interactive exhibits to explore plus great beaches.

  • Is the island wheelchair/stroller friendly?

    Yes, but you need to be aware that access to many parts of the Island may be difficult. Also, please be sure to remove any soil or seeds from the treads.

  • Can I bring a bicycle, scooter, and skateboard to the island?

    No. These items aren’t permitted on the island.

  • Can I take my dog to the island?

    Dogs are not permitted on Rotoroa Island. You can take a disability assist dog into controlled dog areas without the need for a permit if it is kept under control at all times.

  • Is there cellphone coverage on the island?

    Yes, mobile coverage is available on Rotoroa Island.

  • Are there toilets on the island?

    Yes. Located in Home Bay within the exhibition centre, and adjacent to the school house. More toilets (and outside showers) are located at Ladies Bay.

  • Is there a smoking area on the island?

    Yes, mobile coverage is available on Rotoroa Island.

  • Is my ticket valid for future dates, or only the day/time specified on the ticket?

    If you have booked accommodation to stay overnight please book your ferry tickets carefully, as you'll need to ensure you book the exact date and time you wish to return.

  • Can I stay on the island overnight?

    Yes. There are three beautifully renovated vintage style units available to hire. These are very popular so be sure to book well in advance. To find out more click here.

    If you’re planning an overnight stay and have booked your own accommodation at one of the islands we travel to, please ensure you have booked the correct return ferry on the exact date and time you wish to return.

    IMPORTANT: A same day return ticket does not allow an overnight stay at any of our destinations. Avoid disappointment on the day and check you book the correct return ferry trip!

  • Is the ferry to Rotoroa Island a direct service?

    No. The ferry to Rotoroa makes a stops at Orapiu, Waiheke Island to drop off and pick up passengers.

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