Traverse scenic coastal beaches, mangrove forests and dense bush along the Bay of Islands Coastal Walkway, a full-day circular walking track that connects Paihia, Opua, Okiato and Russell, using the Opua to Okiato vehicle ferry and the Russell to Paihia passenger ferry. Along the way, you’ll see historic points of interest like the site of New Zealand’s first capital, as well as vineyards, oyster farms and native flora and fauna.
The loop can be started from any point, and can be completed in a full day, or else broken up into sections. A reasonable level of fitness is required to complete the full walk as the Okiato to Russell track contains some steep sections and stairs.
Starting from Paihia’s picturesque town centre and heading towards Opua, you’ll pass by Sullivans Beach and Te Haumi (during low tide the path can be followed along the beach), as well as a boardwalk through the mangrove forests. Take in the views across the channel to the Russell peninsula before arriving in Opua and catching the vehicle ferry. On the other side, from Okiato to Russell, you’ll find a mixture of flat stretches and steps up through native bush. Overlooking Orongo Bay you’ll see the historic manganese mine. The walkway also passes by oyster farms and vineyards – perfect for a stop to recharge and enjoy the local produce. The walkway finishes at the Russell waterfront where you can catch the passenger ferry back to Paihia.
LENGTH: Approximately 14km total
TIME: 5.5 to 6 hours total
Paihia to Opua: 2 hours. Includes moderate climbs.
Opua to Okiato via vehicle ferry
Okiato to Russell: 3.5 hours. Steep in places.
Russell to Paihia via passenger ferry