Opua is where the car ferry can be caught to drive over to Russell. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Bay of Islands’, Opua is a beautiful seaside home, well known as a sailing haven, and the first spot tired sailors make land after a gruelling crossing of the South Pacific. And there can be nowhere more comfortable, peaceful and beautiful to recuperate. Sitting on the southern edge of the beautiful Bay of Islands, where the Waikeri and Kawakawa Rivers merge, Opua is the best place in Northland for exploring the water. However, if crossing the South Pacific is a little strenuous for your annual break, Opua should not be overlooked as a spot to dip your toes, lie back in the sun and let life float past on the sea breeze.
Opua Marina, New Zealand’s first port of call
Anyone visiting Opua will spend time down at the marina. Opua Marina is a beautiful place to sit and forget about life, the marina is also the hub for departing cruises, day trips and sailing excursions through the 144 islands that litter the Bay of Islands. Regardless of your sailing experience, Opua offers the opportunity to get out into the Bay of Islands and really explore. There are boats for hire, (with captains), as well as organised excursions in sail schooners, taking advantage of the world famous fishing of the Bay of Islands. The islands of the Bay are a holiday adventurers dream. Most are completely uninhabited, and almost all are littered with hidden beaches, where you can cast anchor, throw down a towel and spend the day basking in the sunshine, with the sand between your toes, and not another soul around. Few places can offer you your own choice of private beach every day for the duration of your holiday…the Bay of Islands is one!
Opua – Hidden Gem of the Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is not just famous for its coastline; it also known for the beautiful inland scenery. Opua is an idyllic spot from which to walk, exploring the rain forests of the Harrison Scenic Reserve, or the coastal curiosities found along the Coastal Walking Path, which runs from Opua around the bay to Paihia and beyond. The walk to Paihia, which takes around 2 hours, is beautiful when the sun is shining, with a couple of idyllic spots from which to swim in the glistening sea. The 6km walk is a real treat, and, once in Paihia, there are plenty of ways to get home again if you don’t wish to repeat the trip on foot! Paihia is the Bay of Islands activity centre. Of you are staying in the peace and beauty of Opua, the short trip to Paihia provides plentiful opportunities for game fishing, swimming with dolphins or any number of weird and wonderful water sports – if you wish.
After a day exploring the coast or delving deep into the rain forest, Opua is the perfect place to let the evening slip away. The town centres around the marina, where there is a fantastic seafront restaurant, where you can sip local wines and indulge in the freshest seafood, watching the light changing across the endless scenery of the Bay of Islands. A more picturesque evening could not be imagined than those of Opua.