Enjoy a day exploring the natural and cultural history of Rotoroa Island at your leisure, with a scenic 75-minute ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf. Board the ferry in downtown Auckland and hear live commentary about the chain of islets off the eastern shores of Waiheke Island.
For almost a century, Rotoroa Island functioned as a sanctuary for those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, with a Salvation Army–run rehabilitation center. Visit the historic buildings — including the chapel and community gardens — and learn about Rotoroa's Maori and European heritage at a state-of-the-art museum.
Soak up the natural surroundings at four sandy beaches, ideal for picnics and swimming. Hike past restored native plants along groomed trails, and view an outdoor sculpture on the southern headland. You can see the island's cemetery, which overlooks Ponui Island, and tour a wildlife sanctuary operated by the Rotoroa Island Trust and the Auckland Zoo. Spot up to 20 endangered native animals including kiwi birds before you return by ferry to Auckland in the afternoon.