Our Favourite Bay of Islands Beaches

Posted by Website Admin on December 20, 2015

The Bay of Islands is a very popular holiday destination during our summer months, with visitors from both New Zealand and overseas heading north to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful blue waters. There are many great activities and adventures to be experienced, but sometimes all you need is a beach towel, some sunscreen and a good book. Here’s a few of our favourite beaches on both sides of the Bay, all within an hour of The Duke.

On the east: Russell Beaches

Kororareka Bay, Russell

Kororareka Bay

The Duke of Marlborough hotel overlooks Kororareka Bay, a sheltered beach of roughly 750m with easy swimming and close proximity to Russell’s shops and cafes. A grassy strip separates the beach from The Strand and in December you may be lucky enough to see the Pohutakawa trees out in bloom. The sand itself is slightly stony and sloping down to the calm water. A steady stream of boats drift gently in and out of Russell’s wharf, which sits in the middle of the bay.

Long Beach (Oneroa Bay)

Whilst Kororareka is right on our doorstep, we love Long Beach – a 20 minute walk over the hill. A lovely long sandy bay great for families with safe swimming and kayaking. At the north end around the corner there’s also Donkey Bay which is a naturist beach.

Tapeka Point, Russell

Tapeka Beach

A little further away is Tapeka Point – about a half hour walk over Flagstaff Hill from Russell. The tide at Tapeka Beach doesn’t go far and the bay is protected from waves and swell, so there is great swimming at all times.

Elliot Bay

On the east coast and roughly 30 minutes’ drive from Russell, Elliot Bay has a great little surf beach popular with campers and those looking to hide away. It’s a little more rugged than our Russell beaches and has beautiful white sand. There’s not much in the way of local amenities so we’d recommend taking a picnic if you are planning on staying a while.

On the west: Paihia Beaches

We might be biased, but Russell’s beaches are superior in our eyes! Nevertheless, Paihia is worth a visit and only takes a 15 minute passenger ferry ride across the Bay. There are two beaches. Due to its location, the Paihia Town beach (lesser known as Taiputuputu Pahi) is busiest but the sand is not that wide and many people can be found sunbathing on the grass strip. A 15 minute walk north towards Waitangi takes you to the slightly larger Te Tii Bay. In summer there are kayaks and jet skis for hire off the shore.

Out in the Bay: Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Otehei Bay, Urapukapuka Island

For an alternative beach adventure, we recommend jumping on the Explore Ferry ($25 return) to Urupukapuka, the largest island in the Bay of Islands. Once there you will find several beaches, short walks with beautiful views, and a licenced café serving food and drink. Fullers GreatSights also pay a visit to this bay on their Day Cruises.

Photos courtesy of NorthlandNZ.com.

What our customers say

Mark and I would like to thank you, Bridget, Ida, Janna and all the Duke team for being so fabulous with the organisation of our wedding. Words cannot express how indebted we are to you all. This was not an easy wedding to organise, with having the Hindu ceremony at 1pm and then having to transform the hall for the reception at 5pm. However you all made it look so easy and everything was perfect. At the start of the reception, Bruce informed me that we were only 4 mins behind the schedule prepared months ago. To achieve this is testimony to the fabulous organisational skills of the rest of the Duke team. On the day, I knew I was in good hands and didn't have to worry about a thing. I have had so many great compliments about how fantastic the food was so would you please pass on my regards to the chef. The venison was delightful and simply melted in your mouth. From what I understand the canap├ęs were a real hit with the guests too. Also thank you for being so accommodating with the Sri Lankan food for the Hindu ceremony. I have to say a big thank you for all the hard work you have all put over the last 9 months. You were so fantastic with coming up with solutions to any problem I had and so efficient at getting things organised. You were always ready to talk and never too busy. And of course all of this hard work was always done with a smile. When we chose to have the wedding at the Duke 11 months ago, it was because we loved the fabulous meals we had there and loved the decor and feel of the place. But let me tell you, the Duke now holds a very special place in our hearts and it is because of the fabulous team of people who we have gotten to know so well and who made our wedding day so special. Mark and I will be up there to visit from time to time and we have already planned to spend our wedding anniversary at the Duke too. Thank-you so much. Shivani & Mark

- Shivani & Mark 19th March 2016,

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