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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.

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.

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