The Hauraki Gulf is located in the North Island of New Zealand. It lies between the Auckland Region, the Coromandel Peninsula, and the Hauraki Plains. Hauraki is Maori for North Wind.
The gulf is part of the Pacific Ocean, which it joins to the north and east. It is largely sheltered from Pacific weather by the Great Barrier Island and Little Barrier Island to the north, and by the 50 mile long Coromandel Peninsula to the east. The Hauraki Gulf is well protected against all but northern winds.
Three large channels join the gulf to the Pacific: The Colville Channel lies between the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island, Cradock Channel lies between the two Barrier islands, and Jellicoe Channel lies between Little Barrier and the North Auckland Peninsula. To the north of Auckland several peninsulas jut into the gulf, notably the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Tiritiri Matangi Island is near the end of this peninsula. Further north, Kawau Island nestles under the Tawharanui Peninsula.
Many beaches lie on the shores of the gulf, many of them well-known for swimming and surfing.
In the west of the gulf lie a string of islands guarding the mouth of the Waitemata Harbour, one of Auckland's two harbours. These include Ponui Island, Waiheke Island, Tiritiri Matangi and the distinctive dome of Rangitoto Island which is a dormant volcano, it is connected to the Motutapu Island by a causeway. The islands are separated from the mainland by the Tamaki Strait and Rangitoto Channel.
Other islands in the gulf include Browns Island, Motuihe Island, Pakihi Island, Pakatoa Island, Rakino Island, and Rotoroa Island in the inner gulf, around Waiheke and Rangitoto; Motukawao Islands and Whanganui Island in the lee of the Coromandel Peninsula; and Channel Island in the outer gulf.
At the southern end of the Hauraki Gulf is the wide, relatively shallow Firth of Thames. Beyond this lie the Hauraki Plains, drained by the Waihou River and the Piako River. The Hunua Ranges and hills of the Coromandel Peninsula rise on either side of the Firth.
Weather for the Yacht Charter Area of Auckland