Getting to the Island by boat or kayak

You are welcome to visit in your own boat.  Please be considerate about where you moor as other boats may want to tie up too, please do not tie up on the Keeper’s boat line or to the wrecks.

Charter boats

Talk to our Keeper about which charter boat service is appropriate for the size of your group and preferred day/time of travel. Once you’ve made your arrangements, please let the Keeper know.

On ‘open days’ and events organised by the QIKT Community, we organise the boat transfers, so please book directly with the Keeper. We can sometimes subsidise transport, related to particular grants, for example for weed control work, biodiversity monitoring, or for those with financial hardship. The usual departure point is from the jetty at Back Beach, Port Chalmers (see map below), but pickups are also possible at Portobello on request.

East Coast Charters: John McLachlan 027 681 4778. For groups: The usual cost is $7.50 per transfer ($15pp return) or $10 return for primary school age children. Minimum charge applies, so better for groups. The Vivienne J  can take approx. 18 people at a time.

Vista Viv jPorttoport offer a regular ferry service between Back Beach and Portobello, and can drop off or pick up from the Island at various times  by prior arrangement. Ideal for individuals or small groups as there is no minimum charge. $10 per transfer (adult); $5 per child. Contact: 020 416 24 250 info@porttoport.co.nz

Natures Wonders operate the catamaran, the Albatross Express, which is another option for large groups (26 – 50 ppl). Usual departure point is the Portobello Pontoon or fisherman’s wharf at Careys Bay. Contact 03-478 1154  info@natureswonders.co.nz

Additional option of a wildlife cruise to Taiaroa Heads: East Coast Charters offer a discount for groups who would like a tour to the Heads during their visit to the Island. $20 pp duration 1 ½ hrs to 2 hrs (dependent on tides and sea conditions). Minimum 10 people. If the group is larger than 18 (maximum on VJ) then the groups can split into two with one remaining on the island while the other group is on the cruise.

Pickup point 1. Via Port Chalmers, Back Beach by the Port Chalmers Yacht Club.

Park in the single parks (e.g. near the jetty) in the big carpark here, near the Yacht Club.


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Pickup point 2. Alternative pickup near Portobello township.

Pickups at the floating jetty. Park there or by the hall.

Coming from Dunedin: The left turn is easy. (Note: The Marine Studies jetty is closed due to renovations (7/2016 on).)

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Warning: Coming from Portobello: The right turn: If heading in the direction of Dunedin (e.g. coming from the Marine Studies centre) be careful turning right into the Jetty area. Best to turn after (around) the yellow ‘<<<< 45’ sign and post (in the photo) as you can see oncoming traffic better.

Portobello road