Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park

Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park



Comprising 47 islands in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, this park is divided into inner islands (for recreation) and outer islands (designated nature reserves). Several can be visited as day trips from Auckland. Kawau, site of the mansion of early governor Sir George Gray, has pleasant walks. You can get there via ferry from Sandspit (28 mi/45 km north of Auckland).

Motutapu has pleasant meadows dotted with grazing sheep, and Rangitoto offers great walks of three to five hours, as well as secluded beaches in the shadow of a volcanic peak more than 800 ft/240 m high. You can take a tractor-train partway up the summit, which still has remnants of World War II fortifications. Rangitoto and Motutapu, linked by a bridge, can be reached by ferry from downtown Auckland.

Waiheke Island is popular for its outdoor leisure activities, unspoiled beaches, handmade crafts, local produce, and numerous vineyards that offer tastings and meals. Waiheke also has some wonderful walking tracks and a self-guided art trail—pick up a brochure at the ferry terminal. It also has a small museum and World War II gun emplacements. Waiheke can be reached by a short flight or by a QuickCat passenger ferry from downtown Auckland. Car ferries operate out of Half Moon Bay.

The little island of Motuihe, also a short boat trip from Auckland, is known for swimming beaches, boating and walking.

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