Walking the Bay of Islands, Northland

Walking the Bay of Islands is an exquisite and peaceful way to soak up the atmosphere of the area. Check out some recommendations below.

Paihia to Opua Coastal Walk
A relatively gentle coastal walk that is well-trodden and very pretty. The full walk is just under 6km, taking you from the centre of Paihia along the main beach, round the coastline (can be tricky at high tide! You may need to revert to the road for this part) and then, once you cross the river at the far end of the te Haumi flats, on your left you will find access to a winding path around the headland and on to Opua. Arrange the Tuktuk to pick you up the other end.

Okiato to Russell Walkway
The track has flat coastal stretches at the Okiato and Orongo Bay ends. In between it traverses mixed bush where there are hundreds of steps to be encountered requiring a reasonable level of fitness. To download a map and find out more about the full circle walk, visit the Bay of Islands Walkway Trustwebsite.

Paihia Viewpoint: School Road Track
A short steep track accessed from School Road, taking you through shady native bush with dappled light reflecting off the stream. It’s well maintained and long enough (1.5km return) to give you a bit of a workout, but with rewarding views of Opua Forest and the Bay of Islands. No dogs allowed on this one.

Haruru Falls Track
A 6km track taking you from Waitangi along the river and concluding with at the waterfall. This is a well-maintained walk and a good option for families, although be careful after heavy rains as parts of the track get slippery. A boardwalk section takes you through the mangroves forests. Again, a Tuktuk or taxi ride home is the preferred conclusion to this walk.

Oromahoe Kauri Stand
This little known short walk is a gem! The newly built DOC track takes you down into the bush to a viewing platform that opens views to a stunning Kauri stand. Drive about 5km along Oromahoe road, and keep your eyes out for the DOC sign on the left – you can park in a layby opposite. Sssh! This is one of the best-kept local secrets.

Toretore/Te Wahapu
Toretore is a small island accessible only at lower tides from Te Wahapu Rd, on your lefthand  side just as you descend the hill to Russell township. It’s only a short walk – 500m or so – along the island and to the peninsula, but it’s quite narrow and thrilling, plus provides stunning views. Be aware of tides on this one.

Matauri Bay Rainbow Warrior Memorial
Not strictly part of the Bay of Islands, but definitely a reason to stay another day. This is a magnificent walk at the far end of the Matauri Bay beach (on the Twin Discovery Trail about 40 minutes north of Paihia). The steep climb is rewarded on arrival at the Chris Booth memorial to the Greenpeace vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, which was scuttled nearby in the Cavalli Islands and is now a world-famous dive site.

For a full selection of walks, including details of the numerous island walks, refer to the Department of Conservation website which outlines them in detail. Alternatively come and see us at the Paihia Booking Office and we'll give you a map of our local walks.

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