Walks & Activities

Although the wildlife is the main attraction for island visitors, there are a number of activities for those interested in water-based activities or the Island’s early settlement or maritime history.

Wildlife watching

If you are a day visitor, you can explore the various trails throughout the island, many of which cross beaches, lagoons and ephemeral streams which are home to a range of wildlife .

  • Sit amongst the korimako (bellbirds), tui and hihi as they gorge themselves on the sugar-water feeders.  
  • Count the freshwater fish in the streams that weave throughout the Kawarau track.  
  • Look for wētāpunga along the Wattle track. 
  • Park up at the bird bath on the Wattle track. Typically there is a queue of birds waiting in the trees, so there are plenty of photo opportunities! 

Take a specialist tour of the island led by an expert in photography or ornithology. Please note, groups are limited to 8 people and must be requested specifically).

Historical activities

  • Visit the one-million candlepower lighthouse which was shipped from England in 1864 and was equipped later with a blindingly bright light that stretched over 80 kms. 
  • Learn about the ancient refuse stations or middens, kūmara pits and other areas of cultural and historic interest. 
  • Take a guided walk with a specialist to learn about one of the earliest settlements or pā sites. (Please note, groups are limited to 8 people and must be requested specifically). 

Beach activities

  • Go for a swim in the crystal clear water at Hobb’s beach. 
  • Bring your snorkel and mask to ogle some fish on the eastern side of the island, near Northeast Bay or Wooded island. If time is of the essence, head for the rocks off Hobbs Beach, or snorkel out to the small island a couple of hundred metres offshore.

Activities for young children

  • Pick up a Kiwi Ranger booklet on arrival (just ask the guiding manager), complete the tasks and earn a Kiwi Ranger badge. 
  • Spend the afternoon in the educational centre – here, visitors can learn about the calls of  native birds, their adaptations and the restoration of the island. 
  • Download our scavenger hunt and do some detective work on the island.

Night Time Activities

If you stay overnight, you can explore the island fully, and typically, the birds are more active once the crowds leave, so there is a greater chance of catching sight of the less common birds such as kokako. On the island, there are a number of family friendly activities. You can:

  • Look for Little Spotted Kiwi (kiwi pukupuku) once the sun goes down
  • Get up early with the birds and hear their melodious dawn chorus.  

Do the three hour loop track that circumnavigates the island, taking in views of Rangitoto, Hauturu and the Coromandel. It is best to take swim gear, beach shoes and sun protection as the trails on the Northern end are more exposed.