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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.



Skills training before next week's multiday trip with Mahurangi College. @burto1 you legend!
It's just Autumn in Auckland today #rangitoto here we come @visitauckland
Finishing the day with an epic sunset from Motuihe island. We are staying here for a multi day trip with a local high school. Amazing place to stay with kiwi, tautara to name a few 📸superguideeric
Sun's out, guns out. Stunning weather for three days of exploring the Cavalli islands in the tropical far north.
Great paddle past the Candy Cane tower (Mackenzie bay light house) while heading to Rangitoto Island. Stunning paddle with a great group of local high school students  @visitauckland
So nice to float up Williams stream in Parau on the Manukau harbor @visitauckland  thanks to @emr_nz for another amazing event
Motukorea /Browns island twilight tour. Stunning evening with a group of local friends @visitauckland @purenewzealand
Amazing adventures with a Duke of Edinburgh group last weekend. We explored loads of sea caves, learnt about sustainable journeys and the 7 steps of leave no trace @dukeofednz
Stunning morning with flat water as we got set up for another @emr_nz day. Loads of locals learning about how amazing Lake Rototoa is. For those that don't about this amazing sand dune fresh water lake which is located at the northern end of the south head of the Kaipara Harbour should go and check it out. Or even better wait until EMR runs another of their legendary experience days @visitauckland
Gift New Zealand's #1 rated guided experience this Christmas. Sunset sea kayak tour to Rangitoto Island. Escape the city to a volcanic island and see why it's a sea kayakers paradise.