Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Donut Island is a short paddle from Whangamata beach and can only be accessed via kayak or stand up paddle board. Donut Island kayak trips are a must do activity in Whangamata.


Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in Maori history and is privately owned by local Iwi. Whenuakura Island was given a wildlife sanctuary status, administered by the Department of Conservation and the Kaitiaki (guardians), in the 1970s. Tuatara are medium-sized reptiles found exclusively in New Zealand. Known as the last survivors from a number of reptiles during the dinosaur age, Tuatara thrived on Whenuakura Island. Landowners envision that future generations will see the relocation of these reptiles back on the island.


Land access on Donut Island is strictly prohibited at all times. Please stay in your kayaks and visit the island responsibly and respectfully.

Donut Island

Kayak Hire




Donut Island

Kayak Hire




Donut Island

SUP Hire

Stand Up



Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary (Donut Island) Commonly Asked Questions


Where is Donut Island located?

You will find Donut Island off the coast of Whangamata New Zealand. Whangamata is a small beach town on the east coast of New Zealand. Donut Island is part of four Islands small islands known as The Whangamata Islands; Hauturu (Clark Island), Maukaha, Whenuakura (Donut Island) and Rawengaiti (Third Island). 

How long does it take to paddle to Donut Island?

Donut Island is approximately 800m from Whangamata Beach and on average, a 15-30 minute kayak paddle to the entrance of the wildlife sanctuary. Paddling to Donut Island at low tide makes an insignificant difference to the distance.

Can we access land on the Island?

Landing on, in or around the island, is prohibited. Whenuakura Island holds a Wildlife Sanctuary Status administrated by the
Department of Conservation and the Kaitiaki (guardians).

What is the best tide to kayak to Donut Island?
Access to the Whenuakura Island can be made across all tides if the conditions are suitable. There is more water inside the lagoon a couple of hours either side of high tide. High tide brings more water into the lagoon, covering exposed rocks that can be challenging to navigate around.


Do kayak trips to Donut Island operate daily?

Yes. Kayak trips are condition dependent. If local operators reschedule trips, it is for your own safety.


Are there boat tours to Donut Island?

No. Motorised vessels are prohibited inside the lagoon. Donut Island can only be accessed via kayak or standup paddle board.


Can I swim in the lagoon?

No. Due to the wildlife status, we ask that at all times you remain in your kayak or on your standup paddle board.


Explore Whangamata Harbour's vast area of shallow, crystal clear water, sheltered from the ocean swell. Enjoy the abundance of wildlife - you may even spot a stingray or two.


Country2Coast is a tidal paddle that begins 4km south of Whangamata at the Otahu river bridge.  This tour is only suitable on a high, outgoing tide as you drift with the current. Your final destination for the Country2Coast paddle is the estuary boat ramp.


Explore the coastal region of Whangamata and surrounding beaches; Octopus Bay, Onemana and Pokohino Beach with SUP'S or kayaks. . Recommended for experienced paddlers.