Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Where is Otehei Bay?

Nestled between two headlands on the sheltered southern side of Urupukapuka Island, Otehei Bay offers golden sands, calm water for swimming and picturesque views around the region.

Otehei Bay is the gateway to Urupukapuka Island, the largest island in the Bay. Neighbouring beaches include Otiao (Indico Bay), Oneura (Paradise Bay), Cable Bay and Urupukapuka Bay.

Otehei Bay History

The whole of Urupukapuka Island has particular significance to local Māori iwi (tribes). From the mid-nineteenth century, European settlers began clearing land around Urupukapuka to graze livestock and Otehei Bay was their main entry point.

One of the families farming on the island was the Baker family. Businessman and farmer Charles Alma Baker was also a fishing enthusiast, and invited the famous American novelist and game-fishing enthusiast Zane Grey to visit the Bay of Islands.

Grey first arrived in 1926 and set up a fishing camp at Otehei Bay. He was so impressed with the sport fishing on offer in the Bay of Islands and around New Zealand that he wrote a book, Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado, New Zealand. The subsequent publicity established the Bay of Islands as New Zealand’s sword-fishing capital.

Grey returned the next year and a permanent game-fishing resort was built at Otehei Bay in his name. Over the years many rich and famous visitors stayed at the Zane Grey Sporting Club. Today some of the buildings can still be seen when you visit Otehei Bay.

Things to do at Otehei Bay

The most popular activity when visiting Otehei Bay is simply enjoying the view! If you take a short, easy stroll up the hill to your right from the wharf, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas over the whole Bay of Islands.

Otehei Bay’s golden sands and calm waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. You could spend all your time there, or explore further with the island’s many walking tracks.

A café at Otehei Bay is open at certain times of year and offers casual and restaurant-style meals and refreshments.

Urupukapuka Island has been a Recreation Reserve in 1979 and is now proudly pest-free. Make sure you check your bags and gear before and after you leave Otehei Bay to make sure you’re not carrying any stowaway insects or animals.

Getting to Otehei Bay

Otehei Bay is just a short boat trip from Paihia or Russell. It has a large wharf for commercial and private boat access. Our Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise stop at Otehei Bay daily, as does the Cream Trip Super Cruise.

Ferrys are also available - for the most up-to-date timetable visit oteheibay.co.nz.