Bay Of Islands

Geographically stunning and rich with NZ history the Bay of Islands is world famous as a boaties’ paradise

With 144 islands plus the vast array of bays shrouded by the mainland you can spend, and many have, a lifetime exploring this magical part of world and there are many extensive publications dedicated to its finer details.

Here we offer some insight into a few of the more popular places to visit.


Deep Water Cove – Maunganui Bay

Deep water cove sits inside Maunganui Bay, one of the first bays for sheltering (from most
directions) as you enter the Bay of Islands from Cape Brett. The anchorage sits tucked amid hills covered with native bush, with deep green water and a rocky beach.  Deep Water Cove is a haven for marine life, and a popular dive spot. In 2007 the HMZS Canterbury Wreck was scuttled in the middle of the cove as a dive wreck. She is now covered in growth and marine life and is a great dive for the advanced and; suitably qualified diver. Deep anchorage right in against the shoreline, if you’re anchoring here for the day or night you can hike the walking tracks from here to Cape Brett, and a boat taxi service to bring you back.
NOTE: Since 2010 fishing has been prohibited within the area encapsulated from the northern most point of Maunganui Bay (Kariparipa Pt) through to the northwestern tip of Opourua Bay


Urapukapuka island

Urupukapuka Island is probably the most popular island for boaties in the area. It is the largest island in the Bay of Islands and the scenery is stunning with lush green hills, dramatic cliffs, idyllic bays, and sandy beaches. There are a multitude of sheltered anchorages on the south eastern side of the island especially Paradise (worthy of its name) and Otaio Bays offering good holding and plenty of depth close in as well as access to the islands walking tracks and some great little rocky islands and coves to explore either on or in the water. Paradise Bay is the quintessential Kiwi beautiful beach with sift white sand, mature pohutukawas arching out overhead and clear green water. Around the corner to the south of Paradise bay is Otehei Bay which is always bustling over summer thanks to the Otehei Café/Restaurant idyllically situated right by the water with a fabulous front lawn area on which to enjoy some food and drink whilst the kids swim out front or practice their Manus off the wharf. Anchoring space is limited and although there is good depth to the western
side of the bay at all tides the approaches Otehei become very shallow at low tide no matter which direction you go so make sure to accurately check your charts before entering and if you miss your tide window staying put for night may be the better option, especially on larger boats.


Waewaetorea Island

This little-known island is a true paradise, with crystal-clear waters and pristine sandy beaches. Its a great place to escape the crowds and soak up some sun. The best anchorage is on the south side of the island, in the sheltered haven of Stockyard Bay, and it is recommended you only do so when conditions are calm. While it would be tempting to never stray further than the island’s glorious beaches, you should definitely make the effort to don your hiking boots and explore the wilderness while you’re there. Aside from the breathtaking panoramic views, there are also many archaeological secrets lying tucked away in the landscape.


Motuarohia Island (Roberton Island)

Best known for its twin lagoons and white sandy beach this is one of the most visited islands in the area. Motuarohia provides an excellent anchorage in a Northerly breeze. Bordered by the beach on one side and protected rocky inlets on the other, the lagoons offer a safe
and adventure filled swimming spot which is great for kids. A snorkel trail has been laid down on the lagoon bed providing another fun filled way to explore this magical spot.
The island is now owned by the department of conservation and part of a conservation project called Project Island Song. The aim of this project is to reintroduce native species to the islands and reduce the number of pests. No one is able to stay overnight on Motuarohia apart from caretakers that live on the island. All visitors must depart the island by sunset each day.


Moturua Island (Second Island)

One of the larger islands that make up the eastern Bay of Islands archipelago Moturua is privately owned and not part of the Bay of Islands Maritime Park. There are several bays offering sheltered anchorage and some beautiful little beaches. Well forested and providing habitat for many native and rare bird species there is also an easy loop track walk with stunning views which is accessible
from many of the anchorage spots.

– Awaawaroa (Pipi) Bay a lovely, picturesque green water anchorage with good holding,
especially sheltered in westerly and northerly conditions. Very nice little sandy beach (which
all but disappears on spring tides) but no access to the walk track. Popular spot for a raft up.
– Wai-iti and Waipao Bays Twin bays on the south western side of Moturua offering good
shelter from northerly winds. Choice of two beaches with direct access to the loop track

– Waiwhapuku (Army) Bay Absolutely stunning place offering good shelter from south west
conditions. Access from the beach onto walking tracks. During World War Two mine cables
were laid across the Bay of Islands and this bay was the mine control base with housing and
other camp facilities. The houses were removed after the war but evidence remains,
including deep shafts and a defence observation post that was built on the nearby pa site.