Kelp forest off southeast coast of Rakitu Island
Image: Kim Westerskov | ©



Rakitu Island Scenic Reserve lies off the north east coast of Great Barrier Island, in the Hauraki Gulf. It contains areas of native forest and is home to a diverse population of native birds.

Covering 329 ha, Rakitu's sheer cliffs rise 180 meters from the sea in places, giving it an imposing fortress-like appearance. Rakitu Island became a Scenic Reserve in 1994 after being purchased by DOC, with Natural Heritage Fund assistance, from the Rope family.

The island's native flora and fauna are great attractions for day trips. Be aware there are strict biosecurity requirements in place following the eradication of rats in 2018.

No dogs icon

Dogs are not allowed on island reserves in the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf.

Find things to do and places to stay Rakitu Island Scenic Reserve

Look out for kererū, tūī, North Island weka, bellbird/korimako, morepork/ruru and shining cuckoo/pipiwharauroa in the forest areas on the island.

You can see sea birds such as little penguin/kororā, grey-faced petrel/oi and shags around the island’s coast.

At its closest point Rakitū is only a few kilometres from Great Barrier Island Aotea, an easy boat trip. The only safe landing is Arid Cove on the north-western side of the island.

As with Great Barrier, there is excellent visibility for diving or snorkelling around Arid Island. The archway on the northwest side of the island is a great place to snorkel. The eastern side of the island has interesting diving. Species you can spot include snapper, blue moki, blue maomao, demoiselles, and possibly kingfish in the summer months.

You can fish off the rocks or the beach anywhere around the island’s coastline.

Rakitū is an open water kayak from Whangapoua or Harataonga campsites on Great Barrier Island. It takes around 1.5 hours to kayak from either campsite. You can kayak around the island, with the west coast having more sheltered weather conditions for kayaking. 

Check you are pest-free

Check, clean, and seal your gear to ensure you don't bring pests, soil, and seeds.

See island biosecurity requirements.


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
Address:   No physical address
Contact via email or phone
Postal Address:   PO Box 32026
Auckland 0744
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