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Photo credit Northland Inc


If you are travelling by boat, the chances are that Opua will be your first port of call in New Zealand.

The gateway to the Bay of Islands, Opua is a peaceful seaside settlement. Located where the Kawakawa River and Waikeri River meet with the Bay stretching out Northward to the sea, the community of Opua is small and centred around its international recreational Port, Marina and the Wharf. Opua is mainly a marine commercial town, and well worth a visit to get a feel of what it’s like to live and work in the area. There are local boaties and seasonal cruisers galore. Here you will find all the marine engineers, chandleries and sailmakers you could wish for.

Just cruising through the marina, looking at the boats and drinking in the maritime atmosphere is a great way to pass a couple of hours. The Marina Café overlooks the boats moored here and offers great food and wine to enjoy while watching the world pass by.

The coastal walk between Opua and Paihia is an enjoyable and not-too-strenuous way to find some wonderful views and also to help put the geography of the inner bay into context.

From Opua you can enjoy the cycleway along the railway lines heading towards Kawakawa. A gentle cycle suitable for all ages this is a hidden gem that the locals love to use for cycling and walking on a sunny day.

If you wish to take the car ferry to Russell then you will need to get yourself to Opua. It’s just a short ten minute ride across the water to Okiato New Zealand’s first capital and then a quick drive into the township of Russell along picturesque roads.