Rabbit Island (Moturoa) 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 with shade sails and BBQs available.
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.
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 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 are toilet and change facilities available.
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.