Joined to her much better known neighbor Rangitoto Island, Motutapu consists of rolling grassland pastures still farmed, natural and regenerating native forest, an old World War II army training camp and sites related to this period of New Zealand's history. Most notable are the concrete and steel gun emplacements meant to defend Auckland from an expected Japanese invasion. Most of the defenses are still in place and can be easily visited by those willing to take an energetic stroll.
Recently made pest-free, the island is becoming another sanctuary for protected native species. The Department of Conservation also operates a rustic campsite on the island. There are no shops on the island, so take plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Fullers Ferries operates runs to the island. The service is not daily, although the island can be reached from Rangitoto on foot. http://www.fullers.co.nz.
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