Tiny island with idyllic beach and famous 500m long reef. Great for water sports, sunbathing and picnics. Boats from Sandspit, Warkworth. 90 mins from Auckland CBD.
Saddle Island is also known as Te Haupa, and was named after a local Maori chief who used to go shark fishing in the island's waters. The harbour has amazing, green waters, and the big beach on the island's northwest side is a perennial favourite with picnickers, sunbathers, swimmers and artists.
There's some great fishing to be had, too, up by the reef. Here, you can dig for mussels, go bird spotting, or enjoy some water skiing or jet-skiing. Shearwaters nest regularly here, so try not to disturb them!
There are no shops or facilities on the island, but nearby Kawau Island offers lunch at the Mansion House. Hire your own boat for the day and do some island hopping at your own pace. Or fish for your dinner, and enjoy a barbecue in the evening so you can eat the spoils. You'd also better make sure your camera is fully charged - there's so much wildlife and stunning coastal photo opportunities, you might even be tempted to get the paintbrush out. You can get boats from Sandspit near Warkworth, or some of the existing boat tours include Saddle Island in their itinerary, so check out their timetables.
How To Get There:
Saddle Island is best accessed by charter boat, out of either Auckland; Sandspit, Warkworth; or other harbour villages around the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.