One of Auckland’s best features is right at its front door – a beautiful marine park, home to fascinating islands, sandy beaches and unique wildlife. The Hauraki Gulf covers an area of 4,000 square kilometres, bordered by Auckland’s east coast, the Hauraki Plains and the Coromandel Peninsula, and sheltered from the open Pacific Ocean by Great Barrier and Little Barrier islands.
Over 7,000 years ago the Hauraki Gulf was dry land, until sea levels rose and filled it in. There are more than 50 islands within the Hauraki Gulf. While the majority can be accessed by the public, some are privately owned or require a landing permit.
Some are the result of volcanic activity, like the iconic Rangitoto Island at the mouth of the Waitemata Harbour and the much smaller Browns Island. Others have a more placid history, like Motutapu, Waiheke Island and Motuihe. Many act as nature reserves, including the Tiritiri Matangi wildlife sanctuary and Little Barrier, and in 2000 the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park was established to protect the unique features and environments of this jewel in Auckland’s crown.
Did you know? Hauraki means ‘North Wind’ in Māori.
When visiting the Hauraki Gulf islands it's important to protect the native plants and wildlife - find out how you can help.
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