Paddle a sea kayak around Te Matuku Marine Reserve on Waiheke Island. Watch birds and enjoy the tranquility.
Te Matuku Marine Reserve protects one of Waiheke Island's largest and least disturbed estuaries. You can get to Waiheke Island by ferry from downtown Auckland.
The reserve is located at the far south-east corner of Waiheke Island and can be accessed by land and sea. By land, access is via Orapiu Road, which skirts around the head of Te Matuku Bay and continues out to Orapiu Bay (about 30 minutes from the ferry terminal at Matiatia Bay).
There are good views of Te Matuku Bay at several points along this road. Pearl Bay, on the outer eastern side of Te Matuku Bay, is a 20 minute walk from Otakawhe Bay at the end of Hunterville Road.
People are welcome to visit the Te Matuku Marine Reserve to picnic, swim, take photos, kayak and watch birds. Water within the tidal bay is often murky and not great for underwater viewing.
Diverse habitats include saltwater wetlands, broad intertidal mudflats, low lying islands, shell spits, rocky shorelines and the deep water of the Waiheke Channel around Passage Rock.
Te Matuku Bay is home to a variety of bird species. The endangered New Zealand dotterel breeds on the shell spits, although you should keep your distance because breeding pairs are easily disturbed and may abandon their nests if people approach.