Motutapu Island • Riverhead Ferry

Motutapu Island Cruise

As the world's oldest landmark in the Hauraki Gulf, Motutapu has 178 million years of history. Take a private cruise to this pest-free conservation island and see an abundance of rare and beautiful native species.

Best for

Campers, hikers, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, wildlife and landscape photography and fishing.

Time

1 hour 15 minutes to Islington Bay, or 1 hour 30 minutes to Home Bay. Spend 4 hours on the island. The total trip is approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Schedule

Pick up 10am from Z Pier. Leave Motutapu at 3.30pm, arriving back to Auckland approximately 4.15-4.30pm.

Cost

The price depends on numbers and requirements. Enquire to book! Private charters only.

Amenities

Licensed bar, flushing toilet, eftpos, AUX sound system, indoor and outdoor seating.

Boat capacity

The Riverhead Ferry can comfortably fit 49 passengers.

Experience Motutapu Island

We've teamed up with Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp to offer some package deals to Motutapu Island, staying in their lodge accommodation. Enjoy nature walks, historical building sites, rare and endangered species with takahē roaming freely onsite, breathtaking views, kayaks to use, and more.

Lodge Weekend Package

For $125 per person you'll get return transport to Motutapu by us, and stay in beachfront accommodation on the island. Arrives Friday and departs Saturday. Minimum of 25 people.

Enquire by emailing operations@motutapucamp.org.nz or calling 027 317 2207.

Motutapu is full of rich Māori and European history. It has more than 300 Māori pa and archeological sites, has hosted Victorian picnic parties, was a base during WWII, and has evidence that settlers witnessed Rangitoto Island erupting 600 years ago. There are multiple walking tracks, beautiful beaches, and it underwent the world's largest pest eradication programme so there are many opportunities to see rare and beautiful birds.

The Destination

 

Where is it?

An island located in the Hauraki Gulf, 16.3kms off Auckland’s mainland.

What can I do?

Walk to Rangitoto Island, explore the walking trails, volunteer for conservation, camp at Home Bay, visit the Reid family homestead or the WWII military sites, or enjoy the beaches. 

How do I get around?

The only way to get around the island is by foot. There are multiple walking tracks, even one to neighbouring Rangitoto Island.

What do I need?

Sun protection, food and drink, light rain jacket, warm layers, good walking shoes, swimming gear, somewhere to put your rubbish, camping gear, and change of clothes if staying the night. Make sure you also pack your own food for the day as there are no shops on the island.

How long should I stay?

As a larger island, you might need more than 4 hours to see it all, but a day trip is sufficient to experience its wonders.

The Cruise

What you'll see

You’ll cruise past Auckland’s coastlines, as well as other islands in the Hauraki Gulf - Rangitoto, Motuihe and Browns Island.

Drop-off & pick-up

Your pick-up location is Z Pier, Westhaven Marina. Find out how to get to us here.

Onboard the ferry

Play your own music using our AUX sound system, while you watch the beautiful Hauraki Gulf sail past you. You'll have access to seating in the back and front of the boat, with comfortable indoor couches available to relax too.

Food & Drink

Enjoy the range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from our licensed bar, as well as bar snacks available for purchase. Self-catering for food required. We recommend the Cater Station, or bring your own food to grill on our Weber BBQ. BYO food is free of charge. Eftpos available!

Refunds & Cancellations

A non-refundable deposit is required upon booking date for private charters. Full payment is required one week before departure and will not be refunded if you cancel your charter after full payment has been made. If you need to cancel the charter due to unforeseen circumstances we can reschedule the charter to an alternative date. All our cruises are designed with your safety and comfort in mind. In the event of bad weather, we may have to cancel the charter in the interests of your safety. If we need to cancel your trip due to bad weather we will re-schedule, or offer a full refund. In the event of another lockdown or for any questions around vaccination policies, please refer to our COVID-19 policy.

Safety Onboard

Your safety is important to us. To ensure that your journey is smooth sailing please make sure you; use handrails when moving around the vessel, remove luggage/bags from seats and aisles, ensure you listen to safety announcements on departure, familiarise yourself with the location of the life jackets on your particular vessel, climbing, jumping or running on board the vessel is not permitted at any time, do not stand on seats or sit on railings, intoxicated passengers that are not fit to travel are not allowed on any of our vessels, and drugs or illicit substances are not permitted on board any of our charters.

Biosecurity Information

The Riverhead Ferry holds a "Pest-Free Warrant" so we can visit the islands in the Hauraki Gulf, which means we have a biosecurity system.

Motutapu Island was declared pest-free in 2011. Following this and forest regeneration, native species previously not seen on the islands began to arrive on their own. 

Read more
  • Look out for cleaning stations

    Look out for cleaning stations at your departure or arrival pier to clean your gear and footwear.

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  • Check your overnight gear

    Any overnight gear e.g. sleeping bags must be checked for pest stowaways.

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  • Check your lunch

    Your lunch must be packed in a rodent-proof/sealed container if you bring it onboard.

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  • Check your bags

    Check your bags for stowaways - rats, mice, argentine ants, or rainbow skinks.

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  • Check your footwear

    Ensure your footwear, clothing, and bags are clean from soil and seeds.

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  • “Went out yesterday (our second trip) with Holger and Hannah to watch the Prada Cup racing. Once again fantastic and friendly; an entertaining day out. They both go out of their way to ensure you are well looked after. I have also been on the Riverhead pub trip and again have nothing but praise for these guys. Highly recommend this trip and these great people. They really add something special to a great day out, 10/10.”
    Fantastic
    Keith W
  • “Wow, what a perfect day. Captain Holger and Mate Harry offer the experience of a lifetime. The classic vessel is in tip-top shape and is beautiful. Capt. Holger is knowledgeable, charming and engaging. Harry was our helmsman and maneuvered the vessel like he has been doing this all his life. The scenery and weather helped in making our voyage memorable. The topography and landscape of the secluded coves and beaches are beautiful beyond words. Wow - the only superlative I can think of. Thank you Captain for giving my family a wonderful adventure and one of the best experiences during our visit to New Zealand.”
    Wow – A Perfect Day
    Anne D
  • “What a great day out. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the boat ride so much, but it was a real highlight. If you’ve never been up the harbour to Riverhead you really must. So beautiful meandering up there, and also getting a different perspective of the CBD was good! The boat was delightful and the captain very welcoming. Highly recommend as a must-do.”
    Best Day Out in Auckland
    Michelle Behrens

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