Moturoa Rabbit Island, Richmond

Moturoa Rabbit Island is the largest of a group of sandy islands lying in the Waimea Estuary at the head of Tasman Bay, 15 minutes drive from Richmond. Along its seaward side there is more than eight kilometres of safe sandy beach. This is the largest picnic area in the district.

Much of the island is covered in pine plantations owned by the Tasman District Council. The Council has set aside a large area of land adjacent to the beach as a public reserve.

Gate Closures

Gates currently close at 5.30pm.

In the winter gates close at 5.00 pm.

Track Closures and Logging in Progress

Visitors to the island are asked to keep to the marked trails. Logging is in progress and trucks are in constant use. Please use caution, particularly at intersections.

Harvesting is in progress on Rough Island during April and May 2018.

Dogs Prohibited

Please note that dogs are prohibited on Moturoa Rabbit Island.

Picture of Rabbit Island, Richmond


The beach and public reserves are open for use during daylight hours only throughout the year and may be closed during times of high fire risk. The gates close at 5.00 pm during winter.

  • Picnic
  • Barbeque
  • Toilets (including fully accessible)
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Beach Access
  • Boat Ramp
  • Mountain bike tracks

View map of recreational facilities on Rabbit Island

Mountain Biking

Conifer Park Mountain Bike Tracks lie to the west of the Rabbit Island picnic areas. Conifer Park has two kilometres of single track suitable for riders of all abilities. At weekends tracks are open around the perimeter of the western half of the island.


The main beach at Rabbit Island is a safe swimming location, popular with locals and tourists. The back beach has a boat ramp adjacent to a water skiing area. Both beaches are monitored as part of the Swimming Water Quality monitoring programme.


There is a perimeter road just above the beach around most of the island, popular with local walking groups. The public are not permitted to enter the forestry plantations.


The tidal waters also provide sustenance for many different sea birds. These include the white heron, royal spoonbill, shags and oyster catchers.


The area around the Rabbit Island bridge is a popular spot for white-baiters, while surf-casting can be productive from the front beach.


A reserve management plan was adopted in 2016. The reserve is managed by Tasman District Council. Revenue from the forestry operation enables the Council to provide and maintan the public facilities. No other commercial activity of any kind is permitted on the island.