Hauraki Gulf Islands
The sixteen Hauraki Islands are scattered off the coast of Auckland in Hauraki Bay. Auckland’s summer playground, they contain some lovely places to get away from it all and indulge in walking, horse riding, swimming, eating and drinking.
Island highlights include Waiheke Island which is described as a magical island paradise and is home to over 7,000 people. Its beaches are beautiful and safe for swimming, sea kayaking and fishing, making it a popular holiday spot in summer. The rest of the year there are lovely walks and lots of restaurants, cafes and vineyards to visit.
On Tiritiri Matangi Island, which is being returned to its original forest, you can explore the unusual fauna and birdlife native to New Zealand. You can also see the gulf’s oldest lighthouse, circa 1864, which is now the brightest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere.
The cone shape of the dormant volcano that forms Rangitono Island provides some excellent walking opportunities with great views of Auckland City and the harbor from the summit.
Regular ferries and car ferries to the islands leave from the Downtown Ferry Terminal in Auckland and some islands have airstrips, though you’ll need permission to land.