10 Best Islands in New Zealand

By Veronica Delacruz on May 31, 2018
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New Zealand is often talked about for its un-paralleled beauty in the entire world. The two mainland islands of New Zealand are the North Island and the South Island. Apart from the mains, there are a bunch of subsidiary islands as well. 

New Zealand natives love to spend time in water and enjoy every bit of their island life. While some of the islands are inhabited with local population, others are solely for the wildlife that dwells there. Also, another major attraction of New Zealand islands is bird watching. Rare and exotic species of birds that one might have never seen can be seen in during their New Zealand travel. 

Listed here are few of the must-visit unexplored islands of New Zealand.

1. Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island, New ZealandImage Source: flickr.com

This is located just off the Kapiti Coast and is known for the wildlife sightings. The Kaka parrots are found in abundance on this island that are notorious and are even known to steal snacks from tourists. Also present are Kiwis but you would have to be lucky to spot one. This is one of the most accessible islands in NZ that is also a Nature reserve and a bird sanctuary. Some of the other birds that can be spotted are Hihi, Kokako and Takahe, among others.

How to reach: take a boat from the Kapiti boating club.

2. Stewart Island

Stewart Island, New ZealandImage Source: wikimedia.org

This is a perfect place to enjoy the backwaters in New Zealand. 80% of the island is a national park, where the Rakiura Track is there. Here, one has more chance to spot Kiwi in its wild habitat. There is also a bathing beach on this island with clear waters that is very inviting for sea-lovers. There is also a museum called Rakiura museum to explore if you are interested in the local history. Take a hike to the observation rock during the sunset time to catch beautiful hues of the sunset when on this island. Native blue penguins can also be spotted when on a beach walk out here.

How to reach: By ferry or by air.

3. White Island

White Island, New ZealandImage Source: flickr.com

There is an active marine volcano on this island in New Zealand. This volcano has erupted for over 35 times since 1826. You can explore this crater to get a unique experience of being around a volcanic site and the sulphur-remains from the volcanic eruptions. While on the walking volcanic tour, visitors are made to wear hard hats and gas masks for their protection. Other than this, the waters here are a popular diving spot.  

How to reach: By helicopter or a boat

4. Great Barrier Island

This island is paradise-like that has golden beaches and natural hot pools. Also present are picturesque peaks and thick cover of forest in which reside the local variety of wildlife. This is a popular tourist pick in New Zealand. The island is adventure personified with the native forest having many walking tracks that takes one to natural hot springs and also to the Kauri dam. The Hirakimata or Mount Hobson stands tall 627m above the sea level, a hike to which can give a panoramic view of the island. This makes it a popular choice for camping and hiking activities.

How to reach: Flight or ferry from Auckland city 

5. Ulva Island

Ulva Island, New ZealandImage Source: wikimedia.org

This island is located close to the Stewart Island. This place is home to a variety of wild animals devoid of any predator species. The rainforest here is untouched and hence is home to a large number of birds. Boating is also a popular activity here to explore this island and the Paterson Inlet. Kayaking and canoeing are other ways to self-explore this natural reserve. Diving and snorkeling in this island will be perfect because the water is very clear.

How to reach: By water taxi from Halfmoon Bay/Golden Bay.

6. Poor Knights Islands

Poor Knights Islands, New ZealandImage Source: flickr.com

This is located on the coast of Tutukaka. This island is a renowned spo for divers. The popular shipwreck dive lets you lose near two sunken navy ships, namely the Waikato and the Tui. This unique experience will let you explore the ruins of the wreck, their control areas, engine rooms, etc. Snorkeling is another option here that you must not miss.

How to reach: By boat from multiple locations.

 7. D’urville Island

Named after a French explorer, this island is quite commercial and has a lot to offer to tourists. There are resorts, campsites and hiking trails for those who seek adventure. This island is also the eight-largest amongst all the New Zealand islands. There are numerous interesting hiking trails on this island. The Waterfall track, the Schoolhouse track, the Greville Harbour walk, the French Pass Lookout track are some of the common ones that are most often explored.

How to reach: Chopper or boat

8. Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island, New ZealandImage Source: pixabay.com

This is Auckland’s most popular volcano that is an island in itself too. If you want to explore some spread out lava fields, crater and lava caves, this place will mesmerize you for sure. A hike to see the native wildlife will give you a panoramic view of the Hauraki Gulf as well. This island has the largest pohutukawa forest in the world. There are guided tours available both for the hike to the volcano site and for sea-kayaking tour.  

How to reach: Ferry from Auckland.

9. Chatham Islands

Chatham Islands, New ZealandImage Source: wikimedia.org

It is located far away from the NZ mainland, 800km off the New Zealand’s main islands to be precise. Both human and wildlife population inhabit the Chatham Islands. You can take an eco-tour to this island to explore Nature like never before. Hiking, fishing, beach combing and fossicking, diving, snorkeling and photography are some of the activities that one can indulge-in out here. Also present are hiking trails that can be explored by tourists.

How to reach: By air.

10. Urupukapuka Island

Urupukapuka Island, New ZealandImage Source: flickr.com

This one is the largest among the 144 islands that constitute the Bay of Islands. Being one of the most popular islands of NZ, it is the most sought after place for camping that has well managed camping grounds. Popular things to do here are kayaking, swimming and walking the archaeological track. All kinds of water activities awaits you in this island.

How to reach: By water taxi from Paihia and Russell, Bay of Islands, North Island.

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