New Zealand Walk: Motukiore Island Track
Motukiore Island is a 5-ha recreation reserve sitting in the middle of Parua Bay, approximately 8 km east of Whangarei, 400 m east of the end of Manganese Point. Motukiore Island has a fascinating history, being both an important vantage point for Maori in prehistoric times, and a focus of early European industry in Whangarei Harbour.
Allow about two and a half hours for the return trip and allow no more than three hours either side of low tide to safely complete the walk. The Motukiore Island Track is about 2 kilometres in length and is graded as a walking track.
The Motukiore Island track leads from the grass car park by the Pines Golf Club to Motukiore Island via the low tide causeway.
Motukiore is only an island at high tide - crossing over to the island is not possible around high tide.
The track meanders around the coastline to the causeway. You walk over gravel along a rocky shoreline and through mangrove swamp. (It is almost inevitable at any stage of the tide that your shoes will get wet).
Mature Pohutukawa trees are sprinkled amongst the grassy paddocks, and the birdlife is abundant around Motukiore Island. Terns and oystercatchers are frequent visitors.
After a final short climb to the pa site and the house site on Motukiore Island, your efforts are rewarded with outstanding views of Whangarei Harbour’s coastline and of Mount Manaia. All so surprisingly close to town.
Looking towards the open sea, you can admire the impressive Mount Manaia and Whangarei Heads on your left. Straight ahead, you can see the narrow entrance to Whangarei Harbour with Reotahi on the left and New Zealand’s only oil refinery at Marsden Point on the right.
Getting to Motukiore Island:
From the Whangarei city centre, take Whangarei Heads Road and follow the road towards Whangarei Heads. The Motukiore car park is signposted from the boundary of the Pines Golf Club just before Parua Bay.
The road is extremely busy, especially during rush hour in the mornings and afternoons with commuter traffic. Limited parking is available at the grass car park.
Motukiore Island is a little gem so near the Whangarei city centre with historic and archaeological sites to explore and offers a perfect vantage point to enjoy scenic views of the Whangarei Harbour.
The island was purchased by the Crown for the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park in 1974. Since 1987 Motukiore has been managed by the Department of Conservation.
Above: View of Motukiore Island available to get there only at low tide.