Your Experience

Experiencing Chatham Island

The Island is a place where visitors can relax and enjoy so many different activities.

Nature, history, culture, fishing and hunting, walks and hikes, photography, art and craft, isolated beaches, bird watching. There is so much, most visitors stay for a week or more.

In the centre of the island is Waitangi, the Island’s CBD, where visitors can enjoy the Chatham Islands Museum and purchase some of the best local arts and crafts at Chatham Cottage Gifts.   Further North you can find and experience the wonderful Henga Scenic Reserve and the spectacular Admiral Gardens with the garden, coastal and wetland reserve walks and art studio.

Southwest Region

Exploring the Southwest Coast, the Awatotara Bush Coastal Track takes you through native bush with birdlife such as Chatham Islands parea, tui, red-crowned parakeet, warblers and fantails out to the rugged coastline.

A visit to Taiko Camp, the Taiko Trust base, and Gap Sanctuary that protects endemic Chatham plant and bird species. It is also the base for the translocation of Chatham Islands mollymawk (albatross) from The Pyramid.

southeast regionHeading Southeast to Owenga, no visit to the Chathams is complete without a visit to Kopinga Marae. Here visitors can share in Moriori history and culture and their ancient covenant of peace.

At Owenga, Chatham Island Food Co offers guided tours that showcase their work; you can hear their story, and purchase the local seafood delicacies.

Studio 44˚S offers original unique Māori and Moriori art treasurers crafted from Island natural resources.

Owenga is also the base for fishing trips, tours and transport out to Pitt Island with Owenga Charters. A visit to the statue of Tommy Solomon (Tame Horomona Rehe) at Manukau is well worth the trip.

A drive Northwest to Waitangi West takes in the Basalt Columns  before going on to the picturesque bay and picnic stop at Port Hutt that features the wreck of the former WW2 mine sweeper turned fish freezer, the Thomas Currell. 

Further out, past the vista of three volcanic cones known as the Northern Volcanics, is the Maunganui Stone Cottage. This Heritage New Zealand Category 1 listed building was constructed in the 1870s of local materials.

Waitangi West Beach is the final stop and a chance to enjoy a walk along this remote beach and watch out for the endangered Chatham Islands Oystercatchers.

The Northern Chathams provides a variety of excellent walks, a range of scenic reserves and is a must-visit destination.

This region plays host to the largest farm on the islands, Wharekauri Station.

Attractions at Wharekauri include the Heritage New Zealand Category 1 listed Ponga Whare, and at the western end of Wharekauri beach, “Splatter” or “Taniwha Rock” is a most impressive example of the black basalt pillow lavas that erupted from the sea floor. The shape reflects vertical tubular lava cooling and slumping.

Oystercatcher and other seabirds and a range of vegetation can be viewed along this beach. Sand dune restoration and toetoe planting has also been undertaken to protect the habitat.

Northeastern regionVenturing Northeast to the remote fishing village of Kaingaroa provides visitors with a good array of scenic views as you pass through farmland, coastal and lakeside terrain and scenic reserves to get there.

At Kaingaroa there are memorials to the 1791 European visit and to the bicentenary of that visit, and a walk through coastal bush to the rocky headland and Kaingaroa Beach.

From Kaingaroa the Sunderland Flying Boat, remains of the German missionary settlement at Mission Bay and Point Munning fur seal colony are well worth seeing.

Pitt Island is well worth visiting and is on everyone’s bucket list when they come to the Chathams.  Take a day trip by boat or plane or enjoy a stay at Flowerpot Lodge. Pitt island region

The ancient volcanic tabletop of Mt Hakepa with the bronze sculptures is recognised as the first inhabited place in the world to welcome the new day.

Pitt Island is renowned for its own bird life, botany, geology, fishing, diving, pig and wild sheep hunting experiences.

Historic attractions include one of the oldest timber buildings on the Chathams, the Heritage New Zealand Category 2 building Glory Cottage located at Glory Bay.

Fishing and hunting are popular activities with visitors. The Chathams are surrounded by excellent fishing grounds. Blue cod, groper and hapuka are most abundant, however, a range of other species are also caught. Exclusive hunting of the famous Saxon Merino Pitt Island wild sheep, together with pigs hunts are available on the Island and help sustainably manage the species.

Doc Reserves and Walks – The Chatham Islands are home to a number of ecologically significant conservation reserves and habitats.

  • 30% of New Zealand’s threatened species are found here.
  • 18 bird species are unique to these Islands and a  number are on world birding lists. 

Visitors can view the unique flora and fauna in their wild habitats. One of the most prominent plants is the Chatham Islands forget-me-not that has long been adopted as a symbol of the Island. Read here for more >>>>>>>

For the best experience, booking as part of an organised tour is encouraged or take local guided day tours with Chatham Island Tours.