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News and information from Breakwater Motel, Bay of Islands

Why we love Urupukapuka Island

Posted by on May 03, 2021 at 03:28 PM in Activities

Aerial shot of Otehei BayWhether you are wanting to have an active day or perhaps just a relaxing one, are a solo traveler or a family, a visit to the island paradise of Urupukapuka is definitely a ‘Must Do’. 

Urupukapuka is the largest island in the Bay of Islands.  The scenery is spectacular and the birdsong deafening.   

Urupukapuka is historically important with a rich archeological landscape. A total of 66 archeological sites have already been identified on the 208ha island. Most date from hundreds of years of Maori settlement prior to European arrival. Sites relating to Maori include eight pa, village sites, gardens, and food storage and generally most are in good condition. The ‘Urupukapuka Island Archeological walk’ allows visitors to view and interpret some of the island’s more dramatic archeological sites.

You can take a boat tour which stops at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka, however you have a limited time on the island.  Ferries and water taxis directly to the island allow you to spend a whole day there and isn’t that why you visited the Bay of Islands to experience the islands?! 

Otehei Bay has calm crystal clear water for swimming. You can hire kayaks, paddle boards and snorkeling equipment from Bay of Islands Kayaking located on the beach.  Guided kayaking trips are a great way to explore the beauty of the coastline. 

Next to the sandy beach is a lush green grassed area with picnic tables under the trees to enjoy the tranquility.  Adjacent there is a café/bar which is open during summer.

There are many interconnected hikes of various grades on the island.  So you can choose whether you just want to do a short walk up to the beautiful viewpoint above Otehei Bay or spend a few hours visiting some of the other bays and tramping to the furthermost side of the island by Waewaetorea Channel.  Working up a sweat after climbing the stairs, is well worth it when you experience the impressive clifftop views.

DOC have signs displaying the tracks for you. Or click on the link below:

For you wild water swimmers, this area is just for you!  Walk for approximately 15 minutes from Otehei Bay over to Urupukapuka Bay. Wade into the ocean and swim alongside the rocky coast back to Otehei Bay.  Lots more areas to swim but you will have to include me so I can share the safe secret spots!

Alternatively you can be crazy like me and sign up for the Breca Swimrun event which is held annually in the Bay of Islands.  This way you experience the islands by swimming from one island to another then running/walking over the tracks on the island and back into the ocean to the next island!  Yes …you swim in your shoes! Yes… it is worth the pain to experience the absolute breathtaking scenery! 

Breca Swimrun

Urupukapuka has been pest mammal free island since 2009.  This has been achieved by Project Island Song – a group dedicated to restoring the ecological balance to the islands of the Eastern Bay of Islands.  Walk among the regenerating bush and trees and listen to the birdsong of the reintroduced tieke (saddleback), toutouwai (North Island robin), popokatea (whitehead) pateke (brown teal) and many other species.

So add Urupukapuka onto your itinerary now!



Exploring the West Coast – alternate route up to Paihia

Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 03:55 PM in Activities

My first sighting of Kai Iwi Lakes

Instead of travelling directly up State Highway 1, why not consider taking the picturesque route on State Highway 12. Turn left off State Highway 1 at the base of the Brynderwyn and meander your way up the West Coast.

En route is the town of Matakohe. Stop off and explore the Kauri Museum. 35kms north of Dargaville you will see the turnoff to the Kai Iwi Lakes which are 16kms off the highway and well worth a visit. They are three spectacular fresh water lakes.


Spectacular Kai Iwi Lakes


Travelling further north on State Highway 12 you will drive through the beautiful Waipoua Forest and home to Tane Mahuta the giant kauri tree. It is the largest kauri tree known to stand today. Its Maori name means ‘Lord of the Forest”. The tree is a remnant of the ancient subtropical rainforest. Tane Mahuta is the most famous tree in New Zealand.


Tane Mahuta


Stop at the view point at Omapere to admire the beauty of Hokianga Harbour. Or enjoy a meal at the nearby cafe where you can relax and soak up the views.

A further 50 minute drive across to the East Coast and you will arrive in the Bay of Islands.

Paihia Christmas Parade

Posted by on October 14, 2014 at 04:17 PM in Informational

The theme this year is: Paihia - Out of this World!! Sci Fi and Fantasy.

Date of event: 5 December 2014

Time: 5.30pm

State Bay of Islands Ocean Swim

Posted by on October 13, 2014 at 02:21 PM in Informational

Date of event: 22 November 2014

3.3km swim across from Russell to Paihia

300m swim alongside the beach in Paihia

300m swim for children 6 – 10 years

Snapper Fishing in the Bay of Islands

Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 01:37 PM in Activities

Fishing in the picturesque Bay of Islands is a dream for any fisherman. So Ken is doing just his dream, that is when he manages to snatch a day off. This burly snapper 11.5kg (25.5 lbs) in the photo won him the competition!

The Bay offers various species to catch throughout the year. Ken is more than willing to share his growing knowledge of the sport when you stay with us. There are experienced charter fishing vessels we can recommend and book you on.

Did you know The Bay of Islands Swordfish Club is the oldest game fishing club in the year and it’s only a 2 minute walk from our motel.

Alma G – The Living Legend

Posted by on July 24, 2013 at 01:36 PM in General News

This historic vessel is moored out in front our motel and seeing it everyday, like so many other things in our lives, it has been taken for granted.

Recent guests Don and Sue showed great interest in the vessel, took photos which reminded us of its presence.

“Don is a fan of period Launches and we had always admiringly looked out towards Motumaire Island off the Motel at the boat moored there. Thought it very stylish, but had never seen it close up. He was delighted when we walked down to the wharf in the morning when we last stayed with you to find it docked there. Looks every bit as gracious as imagined and so interesting to also find out that the Alma G has such a long history with the Bay of Islands and association with Zane Grey. Nice to have it in your view each day.☺”

On a subsequent visit, we managed to organise a tour of the vessel by Darryl Honey, owner of Alma G. Thanks Darryl!! Don and Sue were delighted.

For more information see

Time off for my first fish on Outrageous

Posted by on July 14, 2013 at 04:06 PM in General News

At just 3 degrees it was certainly a ‘crisp’ start to a glorious day. Well ‘rugged up’ with beanie, jacket and scarf we drove down to Opua Marina. Outrageous – our 35ft Bertram – had to have a quick hosedown so that Ken could see through the clears (in laymans terms they are the plastic windows!).

Skipper Ken hosing down the clears on a Foggy morning at Opua Marina

Fog covered the entire bay so we had a very gentle ride out until it started lifting – very grateful to the radar and gps to navigate us. The ocean was flat with a gentle swell and ‘thumbs up’ to the famous ‘Paihia bombers’ for warding off seasickness.

Skipper Ken navigating Outrageous through the fog

Between Skipper Ken and the fishfinder we located the first spot to throw in a line. Out came the defrosted bait and I watched as Ken kindly cut it up and attached it to the hooks. OK so I have to confess that I was not keen on baiting up as I didn’t want fisherman hands, but I did manage to put the bait on once, only to have it fall into the water when I put the line in. At least I tried! Five minutes later the rod bent – YESS!! But the snapper was too small so back it went.

Friendly visitor eyeing out the bait

We tried different spots in the Bay but there weren’t many hungry fellas out there. Lots of bites later, I eventually hooked a snapper! Not only is Ken a good skipper he is also a very talented chef – so gourmet fish and chips was had for dinner.

Glorious Winter Day!

Welcome to Breakwater Motel’s Blog!

Posted by on July 08, 2013 at 04:05 PM in General News

First time blogger so here goes….

Sharing What’s Happening in our ‘bit of Paradise’ – the magnificent Bay of Islands.

Beach, Swim, Fish, Sail, Native Bush, RELAX….YES YES YES!!!!

Traffic, Traffic lights (or ‘Robots’ as they are known as where I come from!), Stress, RUSH….NO NO NO!!!!

The Bay of Islands Walking Weekend is coming up in October – 4, 5 and 6.  Have you thought about getting out of the city to stretch your legs and at the same time (bonus!) revel in the natural beauty of the Bay.

On Sunday I dusted off my walking shoes and together with my backpack filled with camera, bottled water and raincoat (not required!), I ventured out and did the Full Circle Walk from Paihia to Russell – with a car ferry ride in between of course.

Sunny day, no wind, perfect to walk along the coastline, follow the boardwalks over the mangrove swamps and investigate the bays.  Meandering in the native forest, listening to the birds, then blue sky and breathtaking “million dollar” views over the inner bay.  An undulating and well maintained track which had some challenging hills.  Almost four hours later I reached Russell…phew!!  And then the Skipper of the ferry asked me why do you look so hot and bothered!  Note to self – carry more water in future.

Highly recommended outing – only a few sore muscles and very dirty shoes, yes the track was slippery in places but somehow I only managed to trip over one log!

Track approaching Opua

Board walk over the mangrove swamp at Matauwhi Bay

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