Walking in the Bay of Islands

Urupukapuka Island walk

This is possibly the coolest thing to do whist here in the Bay of Islands. Urupukapuka has had a major ecological overhaul, with many thousands of trees plated over the last ten years. There is a superb cafe on the Islands, and you can spend all day out there for twenty dollars, if you get the ferry from Russell Info Centre. We personally recommend this trip as a must do in the Bay. Call for ferry times and detailed knowledge of the Island.

Walks are free

Return ferry $50

Moturua Island Walk

This track is best accessed by water taxi, that Russell Information Centre can arrange for you free of charge. Moturua Island Scenic Reserve is situated in the central Bay of Islands. The four main bays, Otupoho, Waipao, Mangahawea and Waiwhapuku all offer safe anchorage for visitors.This stunning island has four lovely beaches and an easy walking track around the island. You can access the archaeological sites from the track.

Walks are free

Bay of Islands Walking Weekend

This is your chance to see the Bay with local guides who run a very well organised weekend. The walks are varied, from easy to hard and some even go to the Islands of Ipipiri. There are options for packed lunches, so all you have to do is call Russell Info and Colette and her team can sort everything out for you. Some walks are free, most are between $40 – $60 The Bay of Islands Walking Weekend has been running for many years and is fast becoming a major attraction in the Bay, due of course to the talented and helpful guides doing an excellent job of entertaining you on the walks.

Booking essential

Hikoi Tahi Walking Tours

Hikoi Tahi Walking Tours offer digital tours that share stories rarely heard before. Download the walk from the App stores whenever you want, before you leave home if you like. Then when you are ready, walk in your own time at your own pace, listening to local voices telling national stories, great if you arrive late or leave early morning. Developed in partnership with local Māori, some walks are free, others carry a small fee; a percentage of profits are shared with the hapū and community groups who share their stories with you. Available in English, French and German, it’s a perfect digital postcard of your Russell experience. If you don’t have a smart phone, then hire a tablet from the Russell Information Centre. Me hikoi tahi – let’s walk together.

Download App






Okiato to Russell Walkway 

Year round take in beautiful pristine forest, the oyster farms, walk the tracks through the mangroves; get the weather right and you can’t beat this walk. Take your togs, pack a lunch and be fit enough to walk a day through steep forest tracks. For the very keen a great day can be had doing the full circle from Russell to Russell via ferries. 

Free year round

Russell Forest

The track is marked and goes straight up the hill through fern and open bush and meets up with the forestry road that runs to Papakauri. As you walk along the Ngaiotonga Saddle you will reach the Te Ranga Trig which provides an amazing view of the Bay of Islands and the Whangaruru Harbour. 

Free year round

Cape Brett Walkway

Cape Brett track begins at Oke Bay in Rawhiti and ends below the lighthouse at the seaward end of the Cape Brett peninsula. The Department of Conservation administers the overnight house should you choose to stay The distance of the track is approximately 16.5 kilometers. At a comfortable pace this track takes 8 hours to complete. It crosses Te Rawhiti 3B2 Trust and DOC land and traverses reasonably undulating and at times steep terrain up to a maximum height of 345 meters. There is 90% bush cover, which is mainly secondary growth. The track is well marked and maintained. If you wish to stay at the overnight house you need to contact http://www.doc.govt.nz  For bookings for water taxis and track fees click our book here button and enquire.

Permit required

Flagstaff Hill walk

Call in for precise directions and the Heritage Trail Booklet, but it’s fairly simple, just look for the highest point in Russell. The Flagstaff Hill Loop Track takes you through regenerating kanuka/manuka scrub down into the Waipara/Watering Bay stream and wetland then back up to one of New Zealand’s most iconic historic sites – Te Maiki/Flagstaff Hill. On this walk you may very well come across the endangered North Island weka, which has been successfully reintroduced to the Russell Peninsula by the Russell Landcare Trust.

Free year round

You can see a full list of Bay of Islands walks administered by DOC here