Overview

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a stunning wildlife sanctuary for New Zealand’s native birds, and an important conservation project. From the moment you step onto the island to the moment you leave, you’ll be serenaded by birdsong.

A protected haven for endangered species, the island is a nature lover’s paradise, particularly for avid birdwatchers. Beyond native wildlife, Tiritiri Matangi is home to a 150-year-old lighthouse, a network of trail walks through lush coastal forest, plus pristine beaches and spectacular views.

Where is it?

Located in the Hauraki Gulf, this predator-free island is a 75-minute ferry ride from the Downtown Auckland ferry terminal. You can also catch the ferry from Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparoa Peninsula - only a 20-minute journey to the island.

What can I do?

  • Birdlife - This predator-free island is home to many rare and endangered birds - some that exist only in New Zealand. 71 species of birdlife can be observed on or near the island - including the korora (little blue penguin), takahe, and kōkako plus see reptiles and invertebrates. As the forest grows and the wildlife population increases, Tiritiri Matangi will become even more richly diverse. Read more about the island’s inhabitants here.
  • Native forest - Explore the regenerating forests of the island. 283,000 trees were planted between 1984 and 1994, regenerating 60% of the island’s forest. See one of New Zealand’s oldest pohutukawa trees, estimated to be 800 to 1,000 years old.
  • Guided Walk - We highly recommend the 90-minute guided morning walk by the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi. Your guide will lead you straight to the little blue penguins' nesting boxes, plus show you the best spots to watch birdlife and how to identify the different species by sight and sound. Bookings are essential. Learn more about the 90 Minute Guided Walk here.
  • Walking Tracks - Forested tracks of varying lengths allow you to discover at your own pace. Explore the two main wildlife paths (the 2 km Wattle Track and the 3 km Kawerau Track), and add a walk to Hobbs Beach. It's even possible to stroll around the whole island in four hours or less. Purchase the walking track brochure from the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi Island for a detailed guide and map of all the available trails across the island. All profits go back to supporting the conservation and education programmes on the island. Learn more about the featured walk here.
  • Beaches - Only a 10-minute walk from the wharf is the unspoiled Hobbs Beach. It's the perfect spot for a picnic or a swim on a warm summer day.
  • Lighthouse and Signal Station - First lit in 1865, Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in New Zealand. Within months of signing the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, the Lieutenant Governor of the new British colony, William Hobson set aside a lighthouse reserve on Tiritiri Matangi Island. But it wasn't until 25 years later that lighthouse finally beamed its one-million-candlepower light across the Gulf. It was manufactured in London and brought to New Zealand in pieces. The redbrick lighthouse became Auckland's first major icon. The lighthouse buildings, including keepers’ houses, workshops, three foghorns and the signal mast are still in good condition on the Island and are a great photo opportunity.
  • Visitor Centre - Located near the lighthouse, the Visitor Centre and Gift Shop feature the island's rich conservation history and the best selection of guidebooks and souvenirs to remember the creatures you saw on the island. All proceeds go directly back into the island's conservation and education efforts. Plus, enjoy complimentary coffee and tea.
  • Stay the night on Tiritiri Matangi island! Bookings are essential.

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. 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.

What you need to know FAQ's

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

    For all ferry services, we recommend arriving at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes prior to ferry departure.

  • How long should we stay on the island?

    Tiritiri Matangi is a full day activity due to the ferry service timetable. It’s possible to extend your stay at certain times of the year by staying overnight in the island bunkhouse if you book in advance (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 is a visitor centre and gift shop at the top of the hill near the lighthouse. The visitor centre provides complimentary coffee and tea, and the gift shop has cold drinks available for purchase – generally open 11 am to 3 pm on days the ferry visits.

  • 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?

    Tiritiri Matangi Island has a range of native and non-native wildlife to see and hear on the island. Visit our wildlife page here to see what’s in store for you to experience.

  • Is this destination suitable for children?

    Tiritiri Matangi is great for children 5 years and over, as there are easy walking tracks and plenty of opportunities to view wildlife.

  • Can I bring a children's stroller?

    Yes, but please be aware that access to many parts of the Island will be difficult. There are limited areas around the visitor centre and towards the lighthouse where you can use a buggy or stroller. However there are steps and inclines so please be aware of this when deciding. Also, if you're bringing a stroller please be sure to remove any soil or seeds from the treads.

  • Is the island wheelchair friendly?

    Not really. Getting around on the island with a wheelchair is not very practical. While it is possible, those in a wheelchair will be mostly limited to the area immediately around the visitor centre – where they can still enjoy many of the island’s birds and plants.

  • 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 Tiritiri Matangi 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.

  • Are there toilets on the island?

    Yes, there are toilets at Tiritiri Matangi Wharf, Hobbs Beach and the Lighthouse area, close to the visitor centre.

  • Is there cellphone coverage on the island?

    Yes, mobile coverage is good on the grass outside the bunkhouse.

  • Is there a smoking area on the island?

    Smoking is restricted to the concrete area at the wharf and outside the visitor centre.

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

    Sailings to Tiritiri Matangi Island have limited capacity - this means bookings are essential and valid only for the date and time indicated on the ticket.

  • Can I stay on the island overnight?

    Yes. Booking space in the Island's bunkhouse is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). To find out more visit our stay the night page or to book online visit the DOC website here. 

    Please be aware that the bunkhouse is often used by volunteers and researchers, and that public beds are often booked up several months ahead, so it is wise to plan your trip well in advance. There is usually more space available in the winter months. Please pay close attention to the biosecurity requirements when planning an overnight visit. Camping is not permitted on the Island.

  • Is the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island a direct service?

    No. The ferry stops at Gulf harbour to drop off and pick up passengers.

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