South Molle Island -Full Details



South Molle Island


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South Molle Island is a secluded paradise located in the Papakura District, Auckland. It is a haven for hikers, cyclists, and nature lovers and is also home to one of the country’s most important archaeological sites – Pātaka-Māui. With its diverse landscape, South Molle Island offers an infinite amount of activities to enjoy. From swimming in its crystal-clear waters to hiking its rugged trails, there is something for everyone to experience.

South Molle Island History

South Molle Island

South Molle Island first came to prominence in the 12th century when it was used as a stopover for traders travelling between Polynesia and New Zealand. The island’s isolation continued until 1872, when it was discovered by Captain James Cook during his exploration of the Southern Ocean.

It remained uninhabited for many years due to its inhospitable surroundings, but now South Molle is one of Auckland’s most popular tourist destinations. In 1994, the Government of New Zealand designated South Molle Island as a Provincial Park and in 1995 it won the Award for Excellence from Tourism New Zealand.



South Molle Island has a warm and humid climate with average temperatures ranging from 18°C in winter to 25°C in summer. Precipitation averages per annum are 35cm.

Exploration & Contact Ranges South Molle Island is located forty minutes north of Auckland on the North Shore. The main access to the island is via South Harbour boat ramp, off Great Portland Road at Papakura. There are two tracks leading from this point – one runs southwest and another that heads northeast up both sides of the Island, which includes a national park trail accessible only by foot or mountain bike.


Amund Ringnes island culture

South Molle Island has a rich and diverse culture that can be seen in the island’s numerous archaeological sites. The most well-known of these is Pātaka-Māui, which was discovered in 1872 during Captain James Cook’s exploration of the Southern Ocean. There are also several marae on South Molle Island, including Ngāti Whakauehu Marae and Ngāpuhi Kēiouwanua o Rē.

Visitor Statistics The best time to visit South Molle Island is late January – early May, particularly at the beginning of February for ferry departures and in March just after school holidays have finished. Ferry services run from Great Barrier Island Visitor Centre (at Albert Park). It takes approx 2 hours via Land-Sea ferries or 20 minutes by car depending on the weather conditions.



South Molle Island is a Provincial Park and as such is administered by the Department of Conservation. The island’s climate and remoteness makes it a sanctuary for many endangered species as well as domestic animals that are injured or sick.  There is no access by road from Auckland city.

Access to the Island is made via small boat from North Harbour, Great Barrier Island (Keebra Quay on departure) and Waiheke Islands (Sandringham Ferry Terminal – Departs all day). The other main ferry stop close to the Causeway is at Port Jackson, where the mid-afternoon ferry sails right through the ‘Key’s Island’.

Government services

Government services

This stop is particularly popular with visitors travelling between Northland and the South Island. It makes a good point of arrival or departure when taking the Land-Sea Ferry from Northland and offering visitor’s facilities such as an overnight car parking area, toilets, camp sites, boat ramp/launch point (plenty of space for small boats), picnic tables. The Green Bay Campsite provides en suite facilities with toilet rooms.


South Molle Tourism

South Molle Island Provincial Park is a great place to explore with hikes in the Kaimanawa Ranges, kayaking and fishing.

Visitor numbers vary depending on the time of year but generally average about 100 per day. Facilities include: camp sites, toilets (huts have shower) gas barbeque site, boat launch and picnic area.  During the summer season there are bbqs going every night at what was formerly called Bay’s House near the car park. At the time of writing, Bay’s House is still open but will be closing mid-February due to safety considerations.


South Molle Transport

Paraparaumu Beach Car Park is next to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. The car park has a resident bird watching group who will be happy to give you information about local birds and their appearances, as well as great access for turtles and Otago fishers. There’s also toilets at a very good price of $2 per night plus use of parking area (free).

At Stuart Cove Road entrance there are no facilities but Camp ing permits are available.

Petrol stations, bbqs and a barbeque is here as well as showers (only washing facilities), dog beach, free parking and picnic area.


South Molle Cuisine

There is a wide variety of cafes, restaurants and takeaways located throughout the area.

In Dunedin there are plenty of good places to eat such as The Southern Cross (a pub), China Harbour, Café Venezia and Olives on Stuart Cove Road. For a special night out with friends or family there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from in either the city or the suburbs. Sample some of the local cuisine and you can create your own delicious dinner!


As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the sky turns a beautiful indigo. The sliver of moon peeks out from behind the fluffy clouds, and the night begins to take shape. Soon, a gentle breeze starts to pick up, carrying with it the smell of saltwater and seaweed.

As the waves crash against the shoreline, it’s no wonder why so many people love spending their evenings on South Molle Island. The tranquil atmosphere, the enchanting views, and the sense of adventure make it a perfect place to unwind. Curious to know more? Read on to learn all about this hidden gem!


1.What Is South Molle Island?

Ans: South Molle Island is a secluded paradise located in the Papakura District, Auckland.

2.What Are The Most Popular Things To See?

Ans: The Sand Trap area: it’s home to beautiful black sand swirled into rippled terraces, creating a fantastic backdrop for photos and selfies.

– The beach: South Molle Island is home to one of the country’s most beautiful beaches, with crystal-clear waters and soft white sand.

– The forest: explore the shady groves of trees near the campgrounds or take a hike up Papaka-Māui, one of New Zealand’s most important archaeological sites.

3.What Are Some Recommended Routes?

Ans: The Beach area: take a stroll along the coast and through this green, forested region.

– The Campgrounds: enjoy a slice of tranquility at North Molle Island, where you can escape the world on rustic camping pods and listen to birds chirping outside your tent door.

4.Where Can I Stay? What Will It Cost Me To Sleep At South Molle Island?

Ans: The Beach area: these cottages are located on the northern tip of the island, making them a convenient option for day trippers and people looking to explore this beach along with camping in North Molle as well.

5.How Do I Get There? Is It Easy For Tourists To Reach South Molle Island? What about wildlife and other marine life in this area?

Ans: When we’re talking about how easy is it as a tourist to reach South Molle Island from Auckland’s city centre, well that depends on what you’re after.

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