Who visits the Island?

Groups on Viv J welcome

The Island is a public Recreation Reserve and all are welcome. People generally find their own way- sailing, kayaking or motoring over; or arrange to come over on the charter boat on an open weekend or at another time. (There is no regular ferry at this stage).

The Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua Community own all the buildings on the island, but groups can book to use the facilities in the St Martin Lodge, Married Quarters, or stay overnight (koha). Our Island Keeper may be able run a half day or day programme with your group (koha), or involve you in a project.


The Community host an Open weekend (usually the last weekend of the month). We usually ‘work’ for a few hours on the Saturday; then eat together, explore the Island and relax. Sometimes, we also run workshops and retreats.


SeveralĀ  special Open Days are held each year, sometimes in collaboration with other groups, for example the Southern Heritage Trust. These are another great way to explore the island with your family or friends, and assist in fundraising at the same time! They will be notified on the News and EventsĀ  and Facebook page.


There are a range of opportunities for volunteers to get involved on the Island.


As there are no public toilets on the Island, visitors are welcome to use the Lodge ‘s toilets. Please do not enter the actual house when groups are there.


Please note, camping is not permitted on the island.

The island is a special place. We ask that visitors respect this. Consumption of alcohol in moderation is permitted. Due to fire risk, we ask smokers to only do this at the end of the jetty and use a can to dispose of cigarette butts.

Quarantine Island is a conservation estate; rare native shore birds nest here. Because of the risk to our endangered species, no dogs are permitted on the island or its shoreline.

A visit in 1874 –



Very pleasant is an excursion to Quarantine Island on a fine day, when the placid waters of the harbour are bathed in sunshine, and ripple round many picturesque headlands, clothed with native verdure to their bases. On such a day Port Chalmers and its neighbourhood look their best, especially when viewed from seawards, and discover a rare commingling of nature unadorned, and nature embellished by the art and ingenuity of man.

Evidences of thriving prosperity, of the substantial progress of this land of our adoption, are apparent on all sides. Stately merchantmen in every stage of loading and unloading throng the harbour and line the jutting piers, whilst the scream of the railway whistle, the rattle of the heavily laden train, and the thud-thud of the paddles of the steamers which ply about the bay, tell the tale of the advance of science as applied to everyday affairs, and indicate that a share of the abundance of knowledge which pervades the world is not wanting here, and that man has profited and is profiting thereby”.

Otago Witness, 20 June 1874