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Photo credit The Rock Adventure Cruise


Walking the Bay of Islands is an exquisite and peaceful way to soak up the atmosphere of the area. There are walks to suit all fitness levels. Here are just a few to get you started.

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 

Whangamumu Track - Whaling Station

Open all year, free all year

Come for a walk along a path that whalers used to take in the early 20th century to one of New Zealand’s last remaining shore-based whaling stations. This track is a comfortable walk starting at the Tangatapu wetlands through regenerating coastal forest up and over a ridge to the sandy beach at the head of the Whangamumu Harbour. Interpretation signs explain the historic features of the area.

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.

Cape Brett Walkway

Cape Brett track begins at Oke Bay in Rawhiti and ends below the lighthouse at the seaward end of the Cape Brett peninsula. The Department of Conservation administers the overnight house should you choose to stay The distance of the track is approximately 16.5 kilometers. At a comfortable pace this track takes 8 hours to complete. It crosses Te Rawhiti 3B2 Trust and DOC land and traverses reasonably undulating and at times steep terrain up to a maximum height of 345 meters. There is 90% bush cover, which is mainly secondary growth. The track is well marked and maintained. If you wish to stay at the overnight house you need to contact For bookings for water taxis and track fees click our book here button and enquire.


Open all year, free all year

This area is of particular significance to Ngatiwai, who are the tangata whenua. Puhimoanariki, the first ancestor of Ngapuhi, named this place “Whangaruru” while sailing up the coast. It took Puhi a long time to find a good sheltered place to settle, so when he did he named it “Whangaruru” Whanga (to wait), ruru (to shelter), or alternatively the sheltered harbour.

Russell Forest

Open all year, free all year

The track is marked and goes straight up the hill through fern and open bush and meets up with the forestry road that runs to Papakauri. As you walk along the Ngaiotonga Saddle you will reach the Te Ranga Trig which provides an amazing view of the Bay of Islands and the Whangaruru Harbour.