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Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands, home to Otehei Bay Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands, home to Otehei Bay

Island hopping in the Bay of Islands

How to island hop in the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a remarkable island archipelago of over 144 islands, boasting a rich terrestrial and marine ecosystem. This corner of the world is certainly unique, and no trip to the Bay should go complete without exploring some of the islands dotted around the region.

Otehei Bay

Otehei Bay – Situated on Urupukapuka Island, Otehei Bay is the gateway to the largest island in the Bay of Islands.  Arrive in on one of the ferry’s arriving every couple of hours from Paihia and Russell over summer. The ferry journey is a scenic 45minute trip, where you can sit back and watch the scenery pass by, and maybe, if you’re lucky, spot a pod of dolphins as well as other wildlife unique to the area. Upon arriving you’ll be greeted by a beautiful little bay called Otehei. This is where you can either choose to sit back and relax, go for a swim, and order some food and drink from the onsite fully licensed café and bar, or set off on foot to explore the island and all its twists and turns. Or do both! Being the largest Island in the archipelago, you could literally spend a whole day here, and perhaps if that’s what you’d like to do, you could book a campsite at the Urupukapuka Bay Campsite which would make a perfect base if you wanted to span your island exploration over a few days. For an island walking map – click here.


Roberton / Motuarohia Island – This little unspoilt island gem is most commonly known for the two lagoons situated in the middle of it at Twin Lagoons Bay. Perfect for snorkelling, you can explore a whole other world beneath the calm clear waters.  From Twin Lagoons Bay, you can also set foot on a walking track that takes you to the top of a historical Pa site offering unique panoramic views of the Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands


Moturua Island – be one with nature on this tranquil and secluded island. Pause for a moment, look and listen. You’ll be treated to the sound track of native birdsong and the backdrop of diverse vegetation and stunning clear water bays. Moturua Island has four main bays, Otupoho, Waipao, Mangahawea and Waiwhapuku, all which can be accessed by a 4.6km loop track which runs around the Island. Being a wildlife sanctuary you’ll also be surrounded by native birdlife. The Tui, Northland Brown Kiwi, North Island Robin and Dottertel, to name a few, all call this Island home.  It’s a bird watchers paradise!


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