The island furthest out in the gulf northern most is Kawau Island which ferries visit for the day from down town. This island was once the home of the first Governor General. Here he built a wonderful home, Mansion House, and established an exotic garden of plants and trees from around the world – some magnificent specimens form the backdrop to the lawns of the extensive garden. The house and garden are open to the public. There are almost no roads on this island but visitors can hop around the bays by water taxi or walk the many walking trails. If time is short it is worth just a ferry ride there and back to one of the islands to enjoy the gulf.
A high point on the Hauraki Gulf Yacht Racing calendar is the famed 'Night race to Kawau", Tessa Duder's novel by the same name is well loved by New Zealand children.