Kawau Island located in Auckland is one of the largest islands that form the Hauraki Gulf. The island got its name from the Kawau Paka which is a tiny shag cormorant found on the island. Rich in biodiversity, Kawau Island is a paradise where flora and fauna peacefully co-exist. The island proudly hosts copper and manganese mines, forests and windswept beaches. Kawau Island offers exhilarating water sports that will surely blow your mind. With so much to explore, Kawau Island is a must-visit.
Rangitoto is the youngest and the largest volcano of Auckland's extensive volcanic field. This island can be seen directly from the mainland as it's wide symmetric conical shape forms an iconic silhouette in the distance. After taking the ferry from the harbour, which is a picturesque experience in itself, you'll find yourself on this imposing volcano island. Hike up to the top, exploring the black lava caves on the way, to enjoy a view well worth the labour!
Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the most active and significant wildlife sanctuaries in New Zealand. The wildlife conservation island is a predator-free environment that provides for a suitable habitat for about 87 varieties of species of birds, among which 12 are said to be endemic. The island is truly a wildlife wonderland and attracts around 32,000 tourists every year. A 75-minute ferry ride is all it takes to get to the bird’s paradise from the Auckland mainland.
Waiheke Island is New Zealand's most densely populated island. The fact that it has permanent residents and is a tourist hotspot means that it has evolved a good number of activities for you to indulge in. Spend the day out soaking up the sun on Onetagi beach, or any of the 9 others, and head out to a winery just before lunch for a wine tasting tour, since it has so many vineyards and wineries. The island also has a cinema, and an arts theatre for various performances, complimented very well by the local art galleries and studios. Other extremely engaging activities include archery, zip-line, and shooting.
The Hauraki Gulf Islands is a cluster of islands spread out across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula. Nature’s gifts to New Zealand, these islands have diverse flora and fauna providing habitat for some of the rarest species of birds, reptiles and plants on the planet. There are over 50 islands ranging from large landscapes with habitation, to almost-barren islands that have little more than rocks on them. Each of these islands offers diverse experiences and can be categorized into recreational, conservation and historical experiences. From kayaking, trekking and horse-riding to food and wine tasting, bird watching and sunbathing on the beach, there’s something to suit everyone’s interests.
Motutapu Island is one of New Zealand’s oldest islands and was one of the first to be formed amongst the Auckland Volcanic Field. It was inhabited first by early Maori and Polynesian settlers, and then eventually European immigrants as well. A volcanic eruption that resulted in the formation of the nearby, but much younger, Rangitoto Island, destroyed most traces of civilisation and vegetation on the island. Motutapu island has now become a haven for trekkers looking for a day-trip away from Auckland and is a bushwalker’s paradise.
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Motuihe Island is located in the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. It lies near Auckland and is sandwiched between Motutapu and Waiheke islands. The name of the island has been derived from the word “Te Motu a Ihenga” which in the Maori dialect means “the island of the Ihengas.” Spread over 440 acres, the Motuihe Island is known for its beautiful beaches and a few coastal forests. The sprawling stretch of the beach is lined with trees native to the area on the branches of which dwells the Tuatara - a species of lizard native to New Zealand. The beauty of the beaches is amplified by crystal clear water that crash on to the white sandy shore. It is interesting to note that this site was earlier used as a quarantine station and naval training base. Motuihe island is under the control of the Department of Conservation and the Motuihe Trust. These entities organise training camps and encourage locals to volunteer to come up and actively take part in the conservation of the island.
The Great Barrier Island is situated 100 kms north-east from the Auckland mainland on the outer Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. An off-the-grid destination with minimum noise and no artificial light, the Great Barrier Island is the perfect getaway from the stresses of daily life. Covering a total area of 285 sq kms, the Great Barrier Island is the sixth largest island in New Zealand and offers a variety of experiences ranging from trekking, kayaking, surfing, diving, snorkelling, fishing, bird-watching, star-gazing and much more.
Are you planning to visit any of the amazing islands in Auckland? Tell us in the comments.