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


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 Tour

Donut Island

Kayak Hire




Donut Island

Kayak Hire




Donut Island

SUP Hire

Stand Up



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Donut Island is located 800 meters off the coast of Whangamatā. Whangamatā is a small beach town on the east coast of New Zealand. Donut Island is part of four Islands small islands known as The Whangamatā Islands; Hauturu (Clark Island), Maukaha, Whenuakura (Donut Island) and Rawengaiti (Third Island). 

Donut Island is approximately 800m from Whangamatā 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.

Landing on, in or around the island, is prohibited. Whenuakura Island holds a Wildlife Sanctuary Status that was administrated by
Department of Conservation (DoC) in the 1970s.

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

Yes. Kayak trips to Donut Island run daily and are condition dependent. If local operators reschedule trips, it is for your own safety.

No. Motorised vessels are prohibited inside Donut Island's lagoon and can only be accessed via kayak or standup paddleboard.

No. Due to the wildlife status, we ask you to stay in your kayak or on your standup paddleboard at all times.

Commonly Asked Questions About Donut Island

Where is Donut Island located?


How long does it take to paddle to Donut Island?

Can we land on Donut Island?

What is the best tide to kayak to Donut Island?


Do kayak trips to Donut Island operate daily?

Are there boat tours to Donut Island?
Can I swim in the lagoon?


Explore Whangamatā 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 Whangamatā 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 Whangamatā and surrounding beaches; Octopus Bay, Onemana and Pokohino Beach with SUP'S or kayaks. . Recommended for experienced paddlers.

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