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Motukorea Island, also known as Browns Island, has 800 years of history hiding in its volcanic landscape. Today, its grassy slopes, visible from eastern beaches including St Heliers and Bucklands, lie uninhabited. Book a guided kayak tour with Auckland Sea Kayaks to step ashore and experience it for yourself. The island is pest-free, so ensure you check, clean, and close your gear to prevent unwanted hitchhikers joining your adventure.
Explore Motukorea Island’s rich history through its archaeological remains. Māori cultivated the eastern side of the island, and you can still visit the three pā sites (earthwork fortifications) where they resided. Relics of European settlement are also scattered across the island, dating from the 1800s onwards – a stone wharf, rusted remnants of five paddle steamers, and walls of old farmhouses.
The island is one of the best-preserved volcanoes in the region, formed by a series of eruptions thousands of years ago. Visit the markers of its fiery past, including a scoria cone, a deep crater, and cooled lava fields. The island is also home to a rare mineral known as motukoreaite, which was discovered in the late 20th century and is found nowhere else in the world.
A day on Motukorea Island is not complete without a 25-minute walk from Crater Bay through farmland to its summit. From the top, gaze down at a crater that last erupted 10,000 years ago, or look out to expansive views of the city and surrounding islands. Several other walks from Crater Bay include a 30-minute stroll to the paddle steamer ruins, a 90-minute hike to pā sites and cultivated areas, or a 90-minute walk to fascinating volcanic features.
Along its rugged coastline, you’ll find isolated, sprawling beaches, perfect for a dip in the sea and a beachside picnic before heading back to the mainland.
Location Te wāhi
Motukorea Browns IslandPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Head to St Heliers beach, a 20-minute drive from Auckland city centre with plenty of parking nearby. From here, launch your 45-minute kayak adventure. There’s no ferry service to the island, but you can also get there by private boat or seaplane.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
There are no amenities on the island, so bring plenty of food and water.