Auckland is home to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, a conservation area that extends over 1.2 million hectares. These protected coastlines and pest-free islands are sanctuaries to many of New Zealand’s rarest native species – from shorebirds and endangered wildlife to endemic trees and regenerating forests.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
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.
- Guided Walk Tour - 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
- 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), Takahē, and Kōkako plus see reptiles and invertebrates. As the forest grows and the wildlife population increases, Tiritiri Matangi will become even more richly diverse.
To find out more about what you can see and do on Tiritiri Matangi click here
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.
- Guided Walk Tour - 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 Ranger Walk here
- 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.
To find out more about what you can see and do on Rotoroa Island 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.
- 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 before you visit a pest-free island here
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.
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.
Where can I park my car if I'm travelling by ferry from Downtown Auckland?
There are a number of convenient parking buildings within walking distance of the downtown Ferry Terminal. The closest is the Downtown Car Park, located on the corner of Customs Street West and Albert Street, roughly a five minute walk.
To find out more about parking rates at the Downtown Car Park click here