Home Bay

Home Bay

Home Bay Campsite is a DOC camping ground on Mototapu Island. The camp ground is like an enormous lawn, easy to pitch a tent on and with plenty of room for plenty of campers. Specifically numbered and designated sites don’t exist allowing a lot of camping flexibility. During our stay we found there was easily enough room for us to pitch up on the edge of ‘the lawn’ such that we could zip open our tent and run out for a daily morning swim. It is the only spot which you can camp up between Motutapu and Rangitoto islands. From Home Bay there are a large number of different walks to bays and gun emplacements that you are able to reach from just a small walk away. There is plenty of variety as well as being a family friendly spot for all ages to come and enjoy.

Tent Sites

38 Non Powered Sites




Toilets, Basin, Shelter



Looking out over the camp site as the sun sets out in the west

36°46′06″S 174°55′43″E

In Detail

Whether you are extremely adventurous or would rather lie back and be reading a book setting up on the island of Motutapu is definitely not a bad place to do just that. At the time of writing this there is still no public transport service that will take passengers to Motutapu Island. Instead as described below you must take a charter boat or rather walk across from the island of Rangitoto to Motutapu Island. You must ensure that you either bring a camp stove (gas) cooker with you to boil the water as there may be a presence of giardia in the water or water purification filter or tablets. Before you arrive ensure that you make a booking online through the Department of Conservation’s online booking service.

Looking out over Home Bay from a paddock around from the

Getting to Home Bay

There are a number of different ways that you can reach Home Bay. At this present time of writing the post the direct ferry to Home Bay operated by Fullers wasn’t in operation. Instead we took the Rangitoto Ferry and walked across to Home Bay. Other ways to reach the island are by a charter boat that can drop you off at the bay. Usually this is good if you are part of a larger group making it a more cost effective option. If you have your own boat it’s possible to moor in the bay and come ashore to camp after pre-booking on the DOC website. Another option is to take a charter boat (where you and your group are the sole occupants on the boat) across to Motutapu and dock at Home Bay. Talking to the campers beside us they had travelled this way.

Looking down the road along the Rangitoto to Motutapu track that we took

Rangitoto – Mototapu Track

As mentioned earlier, our approach was to hike the track between Rangitoto to Mototapu on the shortest route possible with all our camping gear. There was only two of us together on this trip which meant the easiest way to get to Home Bay was to carry our gear across from Rangitoto. This meant a lot of flat walking along the gravel road route between the islands of Rangitoto and Motutapu. A separate post has been written on the walk between Rangitoto and Motutapu if you’re interested.

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Home Bay Weather

The weather in the Hauraki Gulf can be quite variable hour to hour. One moment you can be basking in the sun and within less than an hour it can be bucketing down with rain. It’s all balances out at the end. Just remember that wherever you go try to remember to take a raincoat with you, especially if the weather is looking changeable. In the summer it is easily warm enough to jump in the water and take a dip. Water temperatures are also relatively warm between November and March/April.

Camping at Home Bay

Camping at Home Bay is such an enjoyable experience. Beach side accommodation with a beautiful view out over the Hauraki Gulf and over to Waiheke Island. There are no strict guidelines laid out as to where you must pitch your tent. On the online booking form provided by DOC that you must complete before you arrive. Within the online booking form there are a number of locations which you can choose to book your camping spot at. Ensure that if you are interested in being beach side that you book under Salty Sea Dogs or Nest & Fledgelings.

Our tent anding gear drying the morning that we left for the ferry back to Auckland central

Camp Ground Rules

The camp ground is covered in grass which makes for an extremely comfortable base to sleep on. Fires nor fireworks are not permitted at any time on the island. For cooking purposes you may use a gas cooking stove. To keep Motutapu island in pristine condition you must pack in, pack out. Leave no trace of rubbish carrying it all out with you whilst you are on the island. Whilst you are on the island you will need to bring some type of lighting, whether it be a head torch or a hand held torch, or even just your phone torch and a power bank. There are no power supplies or lights at this facility.

Top: Looking out towards Waiheke Island as the boats are moored in the bay
Middle: The sun setting behind the Hunua Ranges while the cloud begins to roll in during the evening
Looking across the camp ground from our tent site to the camp grounds facilities

Towards the northern end of the bay is where a network of walks to a number of different bays begin. There are a few more trees around this part of the bay along with a rope swing and a historic house that is open at certain times which you can visit. There is an L shaped bridge along the way that leads from a stream that feeds into the sea. It is also a great way to reach the wharf if you’re after a quick dive spot to cool off during the day.

Top: Looking through the trees on the northern shores of Home Bay
Alvin getting some footage of the are looking out from the bridge around Home Bay

Home Bay Facilities

Home bay has all the basic essentials that you need to enjoy your stay on a beach side camp-site. There are a number of information boards dotted around the camp ground that will help advise you of walks that you may be interested in checking out whilst you are on the island. A water concrete basin is situated on the southern end of the Home Bay camp ground for washing purposes. The water here is advised to be treated before drinking as giardia may be present. There are a number of signs around the camp ground that alert campers of this possible danger.

Top: The Home Bay information board with information of history in the area along with information of walks in the area
Bottom: The basin that everyone uses at the camp ground for washing dishes and

Toilets & Bathroom

There is a toilet and bathroom block located at the southern end of the camp site with flushing toilets and running water. The building also provides covered shelter in cases it ever ends up pouring down with rain and you need somewhere to shelter. Information on the camp ground can also be found in the same building although a few of the details did look to be outdated. Long drops are also located in the camp ground sections west of the road running by Home Bay for convenience.

Top: The DOC information board HQ under the eves of the building where the toilets are located
Following the toilets around the women’s are around the side and men’s at the back of the building (they do flush)

Adventures from Home Bay

From Home Bay there are a number of incredible places to visit and explore. You may just want to take the time to sit back, snooze and take the time to read while you enjoy your stay. Otherwise, there are plenty of shorter walks and locations that can be linked together and ticked off while you are on the island. Our first exploration began with a trip around the rocks, a climb through the bushes to a look out point, a stingray sighting and dives off the wharf.

Top: The Firth of Thames in the distance from a lookout point alongside a fenced off paddock on the fringes of Home Bay
Looking out over the Coromandel Peninsula through the scrub at the top of a small knoll

Sandy Bay

If you’re after a beach with nice sand dunes to walk barefoot in, Sandy Bay is the bay for you. It’s located on the western coast of Motutapu Island with plenty of room. Pohutakawa trees line the outer fringes of the beach with plenty of good spots to duck off into the shade when the sun shines too brightly. It is yet another great beach/bay to go for a swim at during your stay on the island. From Home Bay follow the road or the rotary centennial walkway up to Northern Junction. Take the link track from here until you reach a further junction marked to take you down to Sandy Bay.

Looking over Sandy Bay just before the rain set in

Waikarapupu Bay

Waikarapupu Bay is a secluded bay on the north-eastern fringes of Motutapu Island. A meander down through a paddock along a marked path takes you to this slice of paradise with rocky outcrops and crystal clear water for a well deserved swim. From Home Bay take the road or Rotary Centennial Walkway track north towards Northern Junction. From Northern Junction take the Wetland Track when possible north, eventually you will reach a turn-off to Waikarapupu Bay through grassy fields.

Looking down through the grass to Waikarapupu Bay where we swam and ate lunch on our day of exploration

Billy Goat Point

Billy Goat Point is an unmarked gun-emplacment over a fence that take you down to an abandoned WWII gun emplacement. It is also the northern most point on the island of Motutapu. From Billy Goat Point you are only a stone throw away from Rakino Island. From Home Bay take the road to Northern Junction. Follow the track north taking the Wetland track when possible towards the northern most point of the island.

Looking out the water from the Gun Emplacement and barracks at Billy Goat Point

Motutapu Gun Emplacements

At the top of the Northern Junction on the island of Motutapu, there are a number of gun emplacements and WWII barracks that you are able to enter and explore. They are well worth a visit, you’re almost guaranteed to pass by them if you visit any of the other bays towards the northern stretches of Motutapu Island. By taking the road or rotary centennial walkway north of Home Bay.

Looking out over the Hauraki Gulf from a small window in the WWII barracks near the northern junction