Manukapua Island or Big Sand Island is made up entirely of sand dunes and is accessible on foot for a unique walking experience, even at high tide.
Best experienced in silence, a visit is an amazing experience. Driving in through a narrow, sandy track that crosses private land (please keep gates closed wherever you see the signs), an incredible vista opens up in front of you.
Walking across the sand flats to the island, you'll be on dry ground at low tide and wading at high tide, though the water doesn't get deep.
There's a mix of grasses, reeds and some bush and fascinating sand patterns everywhere you look.
Manukapua is a wildlife refuge that's home to thousands of birds, from the dangerously rare NZ Dotterel to migrant birds who visit in the summer, to escape the Siberian and Alaskan winters.
Whether they're resting up from their 11,000km flight or breeding to increase their numbers, the birds need space so please do nothing to harm or stress them.
Nesting areas are at either end of the island; check the sign as you drive in, so you know where to be extra careful.
Access is off Okahukura Road at the very end of the Tapora Peninsula (see map below) and is a one-way, narrow sand track so take care when driving.
There are no facilities, so go prepared and leave nothing behind but footprints. Enjoy.