How to get here
Matakohe-Limestone Island is an open access island - which means anyone is free to visit the island. The main things to remember if you are visiting are NO DOGS, NO FIRES, NO CAMPING and NO STOWAWAYS. This is to protect the island and its special inhabitants. Click here to read why this is so important.
Making your own way across
People usually launch boats from the public ramp at Onerahi, which is approximately 500m from the island. There are two main landing spots on the island; the all tide floating pontoon in the Portland channel, which is suitable for a boat up to 12m or so, and the bay below the Managers House Ruin (to the west of the derelict barge - click here to check out a map of the island). Please note the pontoon is a public facility so if tying up please have regard to other users; the M. V. Waipapa often visits at midday on a sunday and lands passengers from the seaward side.
The beach below the Managers House ruins is suitable for run-abouts but can be exposed to SW wind and is not good at low tide. Just to the west of the derelict barge is sheltered from SW but can only be used at high tide. The adjacent derelict barge may be taped-off during the dotterel and oyster-catcher breeding season, so please don't land on the barge. Shipwreck Bay on the eastern side of island is often used by kayaks and other small craft at high tide.
People in canoes, kayaks and dinghies have the option of landing at most points around the island. However, please do not land on the southern sandspit, it is a bird resting and nesting area which should not be disturbed.
Friends of Limestone Island boat
The Society has an open 6m aluminium barge (Petrel Tua Toru) which, by prior arrangement with the Ranger (phone 4360923), can be used for a return trip to the island. The recommended donation for educational groups (schools, preschools, holiday programmes) is $80, with $100 recommended for other groups which helps cover running costs. The barge is registered commercial vessel and can carry 24 passengers, and our ranger is a commercial skipper. Lifejackets are provided. It is advisable to bring a coat in any weather. The Ranger has absolute discretion to cancel or shorten the outing, due to weather, work commitments, or other situations arising on the day. Passengers are responsible for themselves once on the island.
The Ranger usually gives an introductory talk on arrival. However, if you wish to have a guided tour once on the island, please ask the Ranger when booking the trip. Cost is negotiable and depends on guide availability.
M.V Waipapa Sunday Cruises
The M.V Waipapa runs afternoon cruises down the harbour to the island and can carry up to 60 passengers. For more information please call (09) 436 4467.
Pacific Coast Kayak Tours
Pacific Coast Kayaks runs half and full day sea kayak trips to the island. They have a variety of double and sea kayaks and can cater to a variety of age groups. For more information please call Mark on (09) 436 1947 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can check out their website at www.nzseakayaking.co.nz
Groups may be able to charter a boat from the Town Basin, though prior arrangement is needed.
Go as a volunteer/researcher/guest
The Friends of Limestone Island boat service for these groups is free, though a donation would be gratefully accepted. This includes public planting days, volunteers doing work on the island, approved researchers and invited guests.