• browns island twilight sunset kayak auckland sea kayaks

    Motukorea Browns Island Twilight tour

Motukorea Browns Island Twilight tour

Our Motukorea Browns Island kayak twilight tour ticks all of your outdoor-loving adventure boxes.

A favourite amongst those in the know, Browns Island (also known as Motukorea) is only accessible by private craft. Fortunately, we know exactly how to get you there; on a twilight kayak tour (which includes a BBQ dinner – yes!)

Located to the south of Rangitoto Island and Motutapu Island, Browns Island provides gorgeous views back towards the city. Best of all, because you’ll be the only ones there, it will be impossible to do anything but relax and enjoy the stunning scenery that Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is so well known for.

Its original name of Motukorea (island of the pied oystercatcher bird), is one of the best-preserved volcanoes in the Auckland Volcanic Field.

A small island in the Hauraki Gulf, Motukorea (which means ‘oystercatcher island’ in Māori) is one of the best-preserved volcanoes in Auckland’s volcanic field.

The island itself is of archaeological importance, having been home to many Māori people before pākehā settlement. With three pā sites identified, and moa bones and fishhooks having been found on the island, it is clear that Motukorea was a hive of activity in years gone by.

Now, though signs of the fortified pā sites are still visible, the most obvious sights on and around the island are natural ones; incredible views, flowing grass, and seabirds are in ready supply.

Not only is Motukorea, Browns Island rugged and gorgeous, but it also provides a home to countless endemic species, including the dotterel and oystercatcher. If you’re especially lucky, you might even come across dolphins or orcas as you make your way on over!

What’s more, during the warmer months, our twilight tours also offer the chance to witness bioluminescence, adding a magical touch to your adventure while kayaking home after dark.

A lot of hard work has been done over the years to rid the islands of the Hauraki Gulf of introduced pests, and visitors now reap the benefits. To keep these islands pest-free, see what you need to do before joining Auckland Sea Kayaks on our trip at www.treasureislands.co.nz. Check your gear and help keep our islands pest-free.

Age restriction: Minimum age of 12 years old for this tour

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Tour Cost


$195 NZD per person (BBQ dinner and refreshments included)
Minimum group size 6



5 Hours

Start time

Start Time

Start time upon enquiry

Start location

Start Location

Boat Ramp at 384 Tamaki Dr, St Heliers. More

Fitness required

Fitness Required

Moderate. Must be able to hike 1 km (.7 miles) rising 70 meters (200 feet)

  • “Kayaking at night feels daringly intrepid – as if we’re secret agents on a covert mission. For the next hour we paddle towards the city;s twinkling lights under a sky pinpricked with stars. It’s my favorite part of the trip. The only sound is the rhythmic splash of the paddles in the water. No one speaks, not even my sister.”

    Rob McFarland in Rough Guide to New Zealand

  • “A delightful guide Logan who made us feel welcome, safe and informed and timed our activities impeccably so that we caught sunset at the top, and moon-rise on the harbour. He also kindly dropped us back at our hotels in Auckland at the end of the tour, appreciated by solo female travelers.”

    Fay on TripAdvisor

  • “My boyfriend and I did the sunset kayak tour to Rangitoto island a few days ago – one of the BEST decisions we’ve made on our NZ trip! Our tour leader Eric was a knockout! He was warm and friendly from the start, and made us feel safe the whole way across to Rangitoto and up to the summit, providing knowledgeable commentary all the way. we saw the most beautiful sunset over Auckland city and the harbour. Once we were back down at the dock Eric cooked us up a lovely dinner that had us almost too full to kayak back to the city. as someone who has kayaked maybe once or twice in her life, i’d say this venture was a decent challenge for me, especially in the middle of the New Zealand winter. So be prepared to work for your lovely sunset views – but be very assured that they are worth it!”

    Shannon on TripAdvisor


  • Can you see bioluminescence on this tour?

    During the summer months, our sunset kayaking trips often provide the unique opportunity to witness bioluminescence in the water. This natural phenomenon, where marine organisms emit a magical blue-green light, is most common during warmer weather, peaking between October and April. As you paddle through the tranquil waters at dusk, you’ll be mesmerized by the sparkling display beneath your kayak, making for an unforgettable experience. Join us for a sea kayaking adventure and experience the stunning bioluminescence that lights up Auckland’s coastal waters.

  • Do you offer city pickups and transport?

    Yes, we provide pickups within Auckland city. To arrange this service, kindly specify your request in the booking form when making an online reservation. Our designated pickup spot is at the Auckland Museum Atrium (google map click here).

  • Are there any biosecurity restrictions?

    Yes there is. Please help us keep Hauraki Gulf islands pest free. The Hauraki Gulf provides a haven for some of our most endangered animals and plants, including sea birds, tuatara and takahē.


    Check your gear and help keep our islands pest-free. To keep these islands pest free. See what you need to do before joining Auckland Sea Kayaks on our trip please go to www.treasureislands.co.nz

    When visiting pest free islands, or islands that are becoming pest-free, make sure you check your gear before you leave the mainland.

    Protect our wildlife

    Check – your gear for pests such as rodents and insects

    Clean – footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds

    Close – ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

    When you arrive on a pest-free island, you may be met by rangers to recheck your gear.

  • Do we kayak back in the dark?

    Yes, for our twilight and sunset tours, the sun will set while we are visiting the islands, and we kayak back to St Heliers Bay after dark. All the kayaks have proper navigational lights, each person is given a waterproof light by us, and your guide carries additional lighting. Your guide is also in communication with the coast guard and all the other vessels in the harbor. Your guide is a trained professional holding current certification.

    Kayaking at night is a wonderful experience and an opportunity not many people get to enjoy. Additionally, night kayak trips offer the chance to experience the mesmerizing bioluminescence in the water, creating a magical and unforgettable adventure.

  • Where does this tour start?

    This tour starts from the St Heliers Bay central boat ramp located at 384 Tamaki Drive, St Heliers.There is lots of free car parking around St Heliers.

    St Heliers boat ramp our launch location only and our offices are located at 193 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024.

  • How much kayaking experience do I need?

    This tour is set up for someone who has no kayaking experience. Your guide runs over paddling techniques before heading out onto the sea and gives you tips while paddling.

    In saying this, our Sunset Kayak tour requires you to be able to paddle for up to 75 minutes and requires you to walk 2.4 km while gaining 271 meters in elevation.

  • Is this tour catered?

    This tour is fully catered and we cater for all dietary requirements.
    Please advise us when you book if you have any dietary requirements so we can let our catering company know.

  • How fit do I need to be?
    Moderate level of fitness required.
    You must be able to kayak 1 hour fifteen minutes each way to Rangitoto Island.
    You must also be able to hike 2.5 km (1.5 miles) rising 270 meters (900 feet).
  • Is there a minimum age?

    The minimum age for our Sunset tour to Rangitoto is 14 years old.

    We do offer great kayak tours for children younger than this. Please get in contact and we can discuss the different options.

What you need to bring

This tour is fully catered so please inform us if you have any dietary requirements.

What is provided?
We kit you out with all the specialist paddling gear including buoyancy aid, spray skirt, spray jacket, thermals and a dry bag for your camera. This tour is fully catered so please advise us of any dietary requirements. Kayaking is a water sport and you will get a little wet while kayaking.

What to bring?

  • Camera
  • Water bottle
  • Sun protection
  • T-shirt
  • Shorts or leggings to kayak in (No Cotton).
  • Sun glasses and hat
  • Sport shoes or hiking sandals. Flip-flops and
    slip on shoes are suitable to kayak in but not to hike in.
  • Warm top
  • Medication
  • Head torch (we supply if you do not have)

Auckland Sea Kayaks
384 Tamaki Drive
St Heliers
Auckland 1071
New Zealand
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Tour Start Location

This tour starts from the St Heliers Bay central boat ramp located at 384 Tamaki Drive, St Heliers. There is lots of free car parking around St Heliers.

Meeting point
St Heliers Bay boat ramp
(Tamaki Drive, St Heliers, Auckland)
– Get Directions



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
There are still some kayak spots available for the Upper Waitemata Coastal Cleanup this Saturday. Join us to get on the water and help cleanup the coastline.
Motunau Bay, Ponui Island. Everyone enjoying an afternoon swim at high tide on the Autumn Equinox, Wed, 20 Mar 2024.