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Best kayak locations in Auckland

Best kayak locations in Auckland

Kayaking in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is an unspoiled sea kayaking playground and sits on the doorstep of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.

There are more than 50 islands within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, many of which are public conservation lands managed by the Department of Conservation. All this makes the Auckland region one of New Zealand’s great kayaking locations.

The area covers more than 1.2 million hectares on the east coast of the Auckland includes the Waitemata Harbour, Firth of Thames and eastern coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula.


#1 Browns Island / Motukorea

This island is perfect for sea kayakers as its close to the main land, beautiful, has a great landing spot and you usually have it all to your self.

It is also one of the best-preserved volcanoes in the Auckland volcanic field, it erupted between 10-20,000 years ago. The volcano’s main scoria cone has survived in good condition, and has an impressive deep, well-shaped crater.

The best landing spot for kayakers on Browns Island is Crater bay which is a sandy beach located on the North Eastern aspect of the island.

From here there is a board walk on the western end of the bay which leads up to the islands summit.The island has been an important part of Auckland’s early history. Historic sites cover much of the island and include Maori pa sites, gardens and settlements, in some cases several hundred years old. Other sites are associated with early European settlement.

Motukorea is free of animal pests and home to the endangered New Zealand dotterel and sand spurge (Euphorbia glauca), a threatened plant. No camping on the island.


Motukorea lies a short distance offshore from Auckland’s eastern suburbs. Great launching locations on the main land include: St Heleirs, Kohimaramara and Bucklands beach. The below picture is from the summit of Browns Island / Motukorea.

#2 Motuihe Island

Motuihe is a natural sanctuary which is free of animal pests and home to the endangered New Zealand dotterel, saddleback, kakariki, kiwi, shore skinks and bellbirds.

The diversity of rare birds, its location and natural beauty makes Motuihe a kayaker’s dream destination.Motuihe Island has some of the best sandy beaches of the inner Hauraki Gulf islands. These, together with its clear waters, sheltered anchorages, visitor facilities and community conservation efforts, make it the perfect destination for experienced kayakers.

Camping is located in the North-western headland of Motuihe. The camp site is kayak friendly and sites face Auckland or the outer gulf. There is water from the tap (advised to filter or boil), toilets and costs $5.10 adult/night, $2.50 child/night (5-17 years). This can be booked online from https://booking.doc.govt.nz/

# 3 Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is the largest, highest youngest and one of the least modified of about 50 volcanic cones and craters in the Auckland volcanic field.

It erupted from the sea in a series of dramatic explosions around 600 years ago, and is now extinct. It dominates the local seascape and a visit there is like stepping into another world. The island is a public reserve managed by the Department of Conservation and is famed world-wide as a botanical gem.

Launch locations for kayakers.

You can launch kayaks from any of Auckland’s eastern beaches and will take approximately 1.5 hours to kayak to Rangitoto. If you launch from any North Shore beachs, Takapuna for example, you will be choosing the main shipping channel into Port of Auckland. It is a slightly shorter paddle however you will need to stay clear of these large ships. There is no camping on Rangitoto. The closet camp sites are on Motuihe Island and Home bay on Motutapu.



Ain't no office better than the Hauraki Gulf 💯☀️
Dinner al fresco. Do the guides deserve a Michelin star? @dukeofednz #dukeofedinburghaward
Team New Zealand @emiratesteamnz training on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday. They tried to keep up with our kayaks but I think they had the wrong foils on 😂
Beautiful jellyfish found on the shoreline at Motukorea. Any marine biologists out there have some intel on this cool creature? @emr_nz
Motunau Bay, Ponui Island. Everyone enjoying an afternoon swim at high tide on the Autumn Equinox, Wed, 20 Mar 2024.
For our tinier Auckland Sea Kayaks whanau | here's an epic colouring in sheet to celebrate Te Ika o te Tau - Fish of the Year competition! Complete this comp and be in to win some amazing prizes including:
- A sunset kayak to Rangitoto for two 
- An eDNA kit or eRangers card game kindly donated by Wilderlab 
- A family pass aboard Perfect Day (NTL) kindly donated by @divetutukaka 
- A mask and snorkel kindly donated by @wettie.spearfishing 
- One of two Marine Invaders card games kindly donated by Marine Invaders 
- A Doon River Fishy Pin kindly donated by @doonriver 
- An @emr_nz  goodie bag, and more!

Tag us and EMR so we can see your masterpieces  #teikaotetau2024 😎
Chloe and Bennett have been going hard at @vectorwero practicing their white water skills. Epic to see their continual progression!