Shakespear Open Sanctuary on Tiritiri Matangi Island. © itravelNZ Creative Commons

Tiritiri Matangi Island short walks


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Enjoy a magical cacophony of sounds from a variety of native birds on the walks on this pest-free island, as well as stunning views of the surrounding islands.

Wattle Track (wharf to lighthouse)

Tiritiri Matangi tūī

The beautiful tūī of Tiritiri. © Tim Dawson  Creative Commons

How long will it take? 

This is a 40-minute one-way walk.

This track provides one of the best opportunities to see Tiritiri Matangi’s birdlife in its natural environment as you meander through planted and remnant bush along a gravelled and boardwalk track.

Tūī, saddleback tīeke and bellbird korimako are common, but sharp eyes might also sight whitehead popokatea, stitchbird hihi, North Island robin miromiro and, if you’re lucky, kōkako.

This track includes several sets of steps, so baby buggies can be awkward unless you are happy to do a little lifting.

Hobbs Beach Track (wharf to Hobbs Beach)

Kererū feeding

Kererū feeding. © Jen Parke Creative Commons 

How long will it take? 

This is a 10-minute one-way walk.

This track runs along a rocky coastline to Hobbs Beach (named after the family who farmed the island for many years). The sandy beach is good for swimming and picnicking.

Hobbs Beach on Tiritiri Matangi is home to several native species such as dotterel

Hobbs Beach on Tiritiri Matangi is home to several native species, including the dotterel. © DOC Creative Commons

There are good views back to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and walkers are often entertained by New Zealand pigeon kererū swooping through the air in their impressive display flights. Look out for little blue penguin kororā boxes at the side of the track. These are often occupied during the spring and visitors may gently lift the inspection lids to observe the nesting birds.

Kawerau Track (north end of Hobbs Beach to Ridge Road)


The kōkako was crowned Bird of the Year 2016. © Matt Binns Creative Commons

How long will it take? 

This is a 30-40-minute one-way walk.

This track climbs a short distance up from Hobbs Beach to join a boardwalk that continues steadily upwards, through some of the oldest bush on the island, including massive pōhutukawa and a large pūriri tree.

Most of Tiritiri Matangi’s birdlife can be seen here. Look out for the tiny rifleman titiponamu and elusive kōkako in particular.

A 15-minute detour to the Kawerau pā site offers panoramic views back to the mainland. The boardwalk has many steps.

Ridge Road/Track (end of Kawerau Track to lighthouse)

Male stitchbird on Tiritiri Matangi

A male stitchbird. © Duncan Creative Commons

How long will it take? 

This is a 25-minute one-way walk.

This vehicle track runs along the spine of the island roughly northwest to southeast. Those walking the Kawerau Track can take the Tōtara Track to join Ridge Road near its northern end. A mowed grass track runs parallel to Ridge Road for much of its length, offering pleasant walking through regenerating bush.

Tiritiri Matangi Lighthouse

 Tiritiri Matangi Lighthouse. © Creative Commons

There are several tracks leading off to the east or west coasts for those looking to explore further. At the southern end, near the lighthouse, the grass track crosses a steep hill from which, on clear days, there are good views of surrounding islands and the Hauraki Gulf.

Ngāti Paoa Track, Northeast Bay Track and East Coast Track (Kawerau Track to Northeast Bay to lighthouse)

Red-crowned parakeet/kākāriki

Kākāriki, the red-crowned parakeet. © Bernard Spragg. NZ Creative Commons

How long will it take? 

This is a 90-minute one-way walk.

The first section of this longer walk winds around the northern end of the island, where flax is the dominant planting and, in spring, red-crowned parakeets/kākāriki are often found feeding. Most of the track is on high ground, and there are several good viewing points out over the rocky shoreline and across to Wooded Island. The track continues past the site of Papakura pā and Northeast Bay, both important sites of early Māori occupation.

The next section along East Coast Track to the lighthouse is beautiful, with views out to Coromandel and Great Barrier Island/Aotea. Both these sections include steep areas and walkers need to have a good level of fitness.

Island tracks

The many tracks and paths around the island provide lots of opportunities for solid, round-trip walks that begin and end at the wharf.

  • Wattle Track loop (one hour) - wharf - Wharf Road - lighthouse - Wattle Track - wharf
  • Kawerau Track loop (three hours) - wharf - Hobbs Beach - Kawerau Track - Ridge Track - lighthouse - Wattle Track - wharf
  • Island loop (three hours) - wharf - Hobbs Beach - Kawerau Track - Ngāti Paoa Track - North East Bay - lighthouse - Wattle Valley - wharf (reasonable fitness required)

Getting there:

The public passenger ferry service runs most days and can get booked up well in advance during November to April.

If you are chartering a commercial vessel to the island, check the operator has a Pest-Free Warrant. Commercial vessels that use the wharf will also need a wharf landing permit.

Find authorised transport operators to this island here

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