Matakana is a long island, effectively forming the seaward side of Tauranga Harbour, running 24km from the main shipping channel at Mount Maunganui to Bowentown, a second harbour entrance mainly used by small boats. The surf at Matakana is legendary, helped years back by a US magazine’s centrefold that identified it only as ‘Pun’s farm’.
Its powerful waves and isolation mean it’s recommended for experienced surfers only. The island is also known for its breeding colony of New Zealand dotterel —one of the Bay of Plenty’s most endangered birds. Much of the island is private land (farmed or forested), so the island gets relatively few visitors. To get to Matakana, catch a ferry from Omokoroa or take a boat from Tauranga. For more information, visit www.doc.govt.nz