Not to be confused with the town north of Auckland, this isle is a Bay of Plenty haven.

1. Bordering the Tauranga Harbour, Matakana Island is long and flat -- 20km in length but rarely more than 3km wide.

2. The island has a full-time population of just 255 people, according to the 2013 Census, making it the third-least-populated area in the Western Bay of Plenty.

3. While its proximity might make it tempting, it is illegal -- and dangerous -- to swim across the shipping channel from Mt Maunganui to Matakana Is.


4. Conservation is a major part of island life. There are six nationally-threatened fauna species known to live on the island. The surf side of Matakana is a nesting site for a large number of seabirds, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel. More than 100 indigenous plant species can also be found on the island.