Kawau Island Attractions & Transport

What’s special about Kawau Island? 

A lot of people are interested when I tell them I live on Kawau Island. Kawau is one of the many small islands that dot the east coast of the, much larger, North Island of New Zealand. We have some 90 permanent residents, which makes us one of the more populated inshore islands, but we’re sparsely populated by most people’s standards.

Kawau Island is a real treasure to those lucky enough to arrive on our shores.

Mansion House and Historic Copper Mine

Mansion House is probably the best known Kawau Island attraction. Owned by Sir George Grey from 1862 to 1888, it is now run by DOC as a historic building and museum.
Visiting the Mansion House is a great day-trip (particularly through the summer months): explore the Mansion House, wander the grounds and experience a little bit of life with a water access. If you want to stretch your legs you can follow walking tracks that take you over part of the island to the historic copper mine. The cafe, that operates through the summer months, completes the experience and makes sure you don’t go home hungry.

Camp Bentzon

Another Kawau Island attraction brings thousands of children (and families) to the island each year: the fabulous “Camp Bentzon”.

The camp is a great place for kids to come for a week to discover the joys of kayaking, sailing and getting out to enjoy themselves in the great outdoors. With the additions of rock climbing, abseiling and, most recently, an observatory, this school camp is still living up to the dream Nicolas Bentzon started when he donated the land for children, education and recreation in 1935.

The camp is also a very popular choice for larger private bookings on the weekends.


Bowl Gallery and Turning Studio

Nestled amongst the trees just up from the water line, my house, gallery and turning studio enjoy intimate views of bush covered valleys along with water views up and down Bon Accord Harbour.

Open by appointment, the Bowl Gallery always has a good selection of work available for purchase and there is a real benefit to seeing my work in person.

Visiting my gallery on Kawau island is not possible for everyone but is a great outing if you have the opportunity. Be warned, as I do live on an island, it’s a little more of an adventure to get here than simply driving up to my door!
Viewings by appointment only so please be in touch to arrange a time that is convenient for you to visit the gallery.

Sailing and fishing destination

Kawau Island is a very popular destination for yachties and power boaties alike.

Being a very comfortable day sail away from Auckland Harbour makes Kawau, and all its great anchoring, a very popular destination for a weekend getaway in the boat.

Kawau Boating Club acts as a focal point for our water based community, offering showers, water, fuel, hot food and the island’s only bar (all the necessities of life).

The Classic Kiwi bach

With several hundred holiday baches on the island, running the full gambit from very modest little 1930s baches to large luxury homes, the island is known to many as a place to get away from the world and enjoy that classic kiwi holiday.

With no interconnecting roads, Kawau Island is one of the few places which has stayed water-based for transport. With only two notable exceptions, all of these holiday baches and permanent residences are right on the shoreline. They are accessed directly from the numerous wharves that pepper the coastline.

How to get to Kawau Island

As we are an island, accessed only by the sea, it’s a little more of an adventure to get here …

Ferry Service

We have a reliable local ferry service, operating out of Sandspit, running:

  • regular services to and from the Island four or five times a day. 
  • private water taxis.
  • the Royal Mail Run Cruise and a Mansion House Cruise.
  • also bay-to-bay transfers on the island.


Sea Plane

A great way to see the islands from the air and then land with a splash. We have a seaplane operating out of Auckland which can be seen landing at numerous places around the island, particularly over the summer months.


Accommodation on Kawau Island

If you really want to enjoy being away from the world, it’s no good rushing out here just to rush home again!

Go Authentic – Rent a Bach

A great option to stay on Kawau is to book one of the many holiday baches on the island for a weekend (or a week): come for an adventure and holiday in one.

It’s a Kiwi tradition that more than just the owners get to enjoy these Kiwi icons. Friends and family are often allowed to visit or use the bach at different times of the year. There are also numerous families who rent the same houses on the island

This is a deeply personal and authentically kiwi way to spend a summer: enjoy the simple things in life, jumping off the wharf, and being on the water’s edge as the sun goes down.

Go upmarket

At the north end of the island, we have a fantastic upmarket accommodation and fine dining restaurant: “The Beach House” on Vivian Bay. It’s a superb option for a weekend getaway.
This is definitely the way to enjoy the island in style. They have decks under massive old pohutakawas, are small enough to be personal and large enough to give you your space, are right on the beach and even have a small collection of my work on display so you can see your future bowl in a home setting.

Vivian Bay is almost the only sandy beach on the island and has views of Tawharanui Pensinsula with a stretch of water between that dolphins and orca often travel through.


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