Visiting Auckland’s Treasure Islands

Auckland sits on the spectacular Hauraki Gulf, a vast marine park dotted with fascinating islands home to lush native bush and abundant wildlife.

Thanks to years of work by the Department of Conservation, many of the Hauraki Gulf islands are now pest-free, including Rangitoto, Motutapu, Rakino, Motuihe and Browns Island/Motukorea. This means native plants, birds and other wildlife can flourish in the temperate climate and isolated environments.

From takahe to tuatara, the locals are an intriguing bunch. Many of the islands are home to endangered species, so any intruder, from the tiniest seed to rats, mice and even household pets, can pose a grave threat to these delicate ecosystems.

Most of the Hauraki Gulf islands can be visited without a permit, but everyone can play a part in keeping these treasure islands safe for the inhabitants.

Hauraki Blue Cruises is licensed by DOC and the Auckland Council to visit pest-free conservation islands and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Here are some tips from our crew about what to do (and not do) when visiting the Hauraki Gulf islands to help protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Preparing for your visit

Prepare for your island visit by being alert for stowaways in your bags or personal items, such as Argentine ants, rainbow skinks, soil, seeds, mice or rats.

  • Make sure all food is packed and sealed in plastic rodent-proof containers with lids.
  • Ensure cardboard boxes are closed and taped – there must be no opportunity for pests to get in.
  • Ensure all footwear and gear is clean and free of soil.
  • Check any camping or overnight gear for stowaways, especially if it's been in storage.
  • Thoroughly check seedlings, potting mix or plant matter to ensure there are no hitch-hikers.
  • Seal up your gear/food as soon as you have finished packing and leave it closed until you reach your destination.

During your visit

While you’re visiting the Hauraki Gulf islands, respect the rules that have been put in place to protect the wildlife and help keep this region pristine:

  • Take all rubbish with you, or leave it in rubbish bins if they are provided
  • Do not touch or approach any bird nests. It is best to leave 5m distance as you may scare the birds away, leaving the eggs to die.
  • Stay out of any cordoned-off or signed areas
  • Use the accessways and paths provided to protect plants and wildlife
  • Leave the island as you found it

Enjoy your visit to these very special islands - and if you have any questions, our crew are always willing to help.

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