Getting to the Island by boat or kayak

Visit in your own 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 a charter boat appropriate for the size of your group. Options and contact details are listed below. On ‘open days’ and ‘work days’ organised by the QIKT Community, we can sometimes subsidise boat transport, related to particular grants, for example for weed control work, biodiversity monitoring, or for those with financial hardship. We also subsidise preschool/primary school aged children at our monthly open days.

Groups 13+  Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours   operate the Vivienne J  which can take approx. 18 people at a time. The boat usually leaves from the jetty at Back Beach, Port Chalmers (see map below). Pickups are also possible at Portobello township (best at higher tides, see below).

Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours charge  $7.50 per person one-way, $15 return, $100 minimum each way for the group). The trip itself takes about 10 minutes, but allow at least another 10 for loading/unloading. Contact details: Monarch Wildlife Cruises: 477 4276

For smaller groups of 12 and under, or if the Vivienne J is unavailable, there is a water taxi  option, the Ally J (AJ), with the same $15 p.p. rate, but a minimum charge of only $40 each way. Contact details: John McLachlan 027 681 4778Vista Viv jNatures Wonders operate the catamaran, the Albatross Express, which is another option for large groups (26 – 50 ppl). Contact 03-478 1154

Additional option of a wildlife cruise to Taiaroa Heads: The Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours 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 are possible at the floating jetty, unless at a very low tide. 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