Kawau Island the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf
Kawau Island is one of the largest islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Kawau was named after the Kawau Paka; the white throated or little shag-cormorant which breeds on the Island. Kawau is one of the most beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf and one of the richest in history. Visiting Kawau is like stepping back in time.
A splendid historic house, fully restored, welcomes the visitor into the turquoise waters of Mansion House Bay. Landscaped gardens that are over 150 years old provide quiet corners and forested walks. Mansion House is open for visitors ($4 entrance fee).
The island was bought in 1840 from local Maori, who had battled each other over it for over 300 years. It was intended to be farmland but manganese and copper were discovered and mining became the biggest industry. The remains of the copper mines can be spotted around the island.
Sir Governor George Grey, the first governor of New Zealand, bought the island in 1862. He employed architects to develop what was then the mine manager's house into his own stately home, and set about creating an exceptional residence. The exotic gardens are a focal point and some introduced animals remain as well, including peacocks and wallabies.
Kawau Water Taxis operates the well-known Royal Mail Run Cruise which departs daily from Sandspit. The three-hour cruise delivers mail and freight to many of the island's residents and features an informative commentary and optional barbecue lunch. Water Taxis to and from the Island are also available. You can also book a charter cruise and explore the island with Norma Jean Charters.
There are a number of other islands in Kawau Bay and Hauraki Gulf. Motuora is the largest at 80 hectares. Having been farmed for many years, it has become a "nursery" island for endangered species and is looked after by DoC (Department of Conservation). Motuora is a "taonga" (treasure), with which the "tangata whenua" (people of the land) have a special relationship, but visitors are encouraged and camping permitted in a designated area.
Te Haupa (Saddle Island) is at the mouth of the Mahurangi Harbour. It is best accessed on the western side. Shearwaters nest in burrows and care should be taken when walking inland. Moturekareka is known for the remains of the Rewa which was the largest New Zealand-registered sailing ship. Its hulk was towed to the island and sunk as a breakwater, which is now popular with divers and snorkelers.
Motutara adjoins Moturekareka and has the remains of an old wharf. It is named after the white fronted terns or kahawai birds common in the area. Motuketekete, also in Kawau Bay, is privately owned. Beehive Island, near Kawau, can be walked around in a few minutes. Oyster catchers, shore plovers, shags and gulls can be seen on the beach. The Mayne Islands comprise Rabbit Island, which is privately owned, and Takangaroa Island, a wildlife sanctuary.For further information:
A piece of maritime history has been given a new lease of life by a group of enterprising yachties and Kawau Island residents. The Kawau Boat Club is a great asset for Kawau Islan..more..
Super Cruise - Royal Mail Run and the Mansion House Cruise departs from the Sandspit wharf daily at 10.30am. - The Royal Mail Run is a delightfully relaxing way for you to have..more..
We can arrange to personally collect you from the Sandspit wharf in our 28' boat, "Dolphin Explorer" and we can organise fishing trips, personal tour of Kawau Island highlights or a..more..
Norma Jean Charters can offer you a half day or a full day to experience for either a sightseeing cruise, Island experience or fishing. All cruises depart from Sandspit Wharf. K..more..
Kawau Island Beach House is a unique luxury lodge nestled on the edge of the crystal clear waters of Vivian Bay, Kawau Island. We offer boutique beachfront, courtyard and bush ..more..