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Islands in New Zealand (beside the North and South Island)

Islands New Zealand

Islands in New Zealand (beside the North and South Island)

New Zealand consists of about 600 islands, but the North and South Islands are considered the “mainland”. In this blog I will tell you about a few other well-known islands such as Stewart Island and Waiheke Island, but also lesser-known island groups. You can travel to all the islands listed below from the North or South Island.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island is the second largest island after the North and South Island and is located south of the South Island. This island is easily accessible by ferry from Bluff. The main reason people go to Stewart Island is to enjoy nature. There are many hiking trails on the island, including a Great Walk. In addition, you can see the famous Kiwi birds on the island and it is a perfect place for stargazing. It is possible to stay overnight on this island.

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island is located near Auckland. The island can be reached in about 4.5 hours by boat or a 90-minute flight. This island is also visited for its nature, 70% of this island is protected natural park. The other 30% is full of facilities for tourists such as hotels, a spa, a museum and tourist activities. This island is packed with beautiful hiking trails and is ideal for various water sports. This island is recognised as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, which means that there is little light pollution here and you can therefore enjoy great stargazing. You can discover this island through multiple tours or you can go out on your own. It is also possible to stay overnight here.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is also near Auckland, but much closer, this island can be reached by ferry in 40 minutes. The ferries go several times a day. This island is mainly visited for the many vineyards, olive groves and beaches. It is the perfect place for a wine tour. There are also beautiful hiking trails on this island that pass along cliffs, forests and beaches. Once you are on the island it is easy to get around with buses and taxis or you can rent a bike, car or motorbike. It is also possible to spend the night on this island.

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is another island near Auckland and is also easily reached by ferry. It is also possible to kayak to this island. Rangitoto is a dormant volcanic cone. By walking the Rangitoto Summit Track you can walk all the way to the top, which takes about an hour. Here you can enjoy an amazing view. There are also caves on this island, so bring a flashlight. This island is a good place to see native birds and plants as it has a rich nature. It is also possible to relax on the beach. There is one campground on the island, “Home Bay Campsite” and there are no hotels.

Urupukapuka Island

Urupukapuka Island is one of my favourite islands in New Zealand. But to be honest I didn’t visit many and I had a fantastic day on this island. Urupukapuka Island is the largest island in the Bay of Islands. The island is easily accessible by boat from Paihia or Russell. It’s a small island, with actually not many amenities. However, it is a very green island, with empty beaches, beautiful viewpoints and it is full of hiking trails. There is one restaurant with a bar and you can rent kayaks, it is not possible to stay overnight on the island. This island is fantastic for a day trip to enjoy nature.

White Island

White Island is an island off the coast of Bay of Plenty which is home to one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes. This island is fairly easy to reach by boat or plane tour. This way you can visit the island in a safe way. Not only is this island very interesting from above, it is also a great place for diving. There is a great diversity of different marine animals, but you can, for example, also admire volcanic openings underwater.

Moturua Island

Moturua Island is another island in the Bay of Islands. However, this island is less easy to reach as there are no ferries going there. You can get here by private boat, kayaking or taking a water taxi from Paihia. This island is popular for its native plants and animal species. If you like hiking, the Moturua Island Track is a must. This route goes around the island and can be accessed from any of the four main beaches. In addition, you can of course also just enjoy the beaches or even go snorkelling.

Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is located 3 miles west of the North Island, just north of Wellington. What makes this island special is the fact that there are no predators on the island and therefore you can find an abundance of native birds. This island is protected and you therefore need a permit to enter the island. You also have to go through a bio check to ensure that no unwanted animals get on the island. A maximum of 100 people per day are allowed on the island. On the island you will find an information center where you can map out the best walking routes and find good places to swim. The best way to visit this island is through a tour, which can be a boat tour or kayak tour and a permit will be included. Click here for tour options.

Island groups

The island groups mentioned below are all uninhabited islands. The islands are all Nature Reserves and World Heritage Sites. Tourism to these islands is allowed but only with a special permit and it is very limited. This is to ensure that the nature is disturbed as little as possible.

  • Auckland Islands

Auckland Island is the largest island in this group, in addition you have Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island and Green Island. The Auckland Islands is the largest island group on this list.

  • Campbell Islands

Campbell Island is the only large island in this island group, the rest are small islands. The best known small islands are Dent Island, Folly Island and Jacquemart Island. The Campbell Islands and Auckland Islands are relatively close to each other and can often be combined in tours.

  • The Snares

The Snares (or Snares Islands) is made up of two islands: North East Island, Broughton Island and an even smaller island group called Western Chain Islands. The Snares is the closest island to New Zealand and therefore the easiest to reach.

  • Bounty Islands

The Bounty Islands consists of 13 small, mainly rocky islands. Therefore you will not find many native trees here, but you will find an abundance of birds including the erect-crested penguins and also marine animals.

  • Antipodes Islands

The Antipodes Islands consists of the largest island Antipodes Island, the smaller Ballons Island and a few smaller islands. The Antipodes Islands are volcanic islands.

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