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

We were so impressed by the Duke from their fast communication to the final details. Both Bridget and Ida helped us plan most of the wedding from overseas (London) and were efficient, conscientious and most of all made the planning enjoyable! I would highly recommend their team to anyone. Ida, the wedding planner has loads of experience and was able to provide advice on vendors, timing, the ceremony and all the minute details. She was always well organised and nothing was too much trouble. This allowed us to have a really personalised experience which is very rare in reception venues! We called her day and night (including Sundays!) and she was always friendly and helpful. Furthermore on the day Jana ran the reception like clockwork and it was nice to know we could relax in good hands. She genuinely listened to our requests and treated the wedding like it was her own. As a designer I can be a stickler for details but the team went out of their way to accommodate the items &details I wanted to include-including the chefs! The Duke of Marlborough is the perfect location for an Auckland destination wedding. Our friends were happy to drive up and have all raved about how beautiful Russell is and stunning the Duke was. The rooms are beautiful and the ornate ballroom is divine when filled with flowers!! It took my breath away to see it all done up on our wedding day. We look forward to a continued friendship with the team (especially Ida the amazing planner) and will be returning very soon to your little piece of paradise! A HUGE THANK YOU to your team!

- Lauren and Shon February 2016,

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