Find the time to breathe and reconnect in this paradise - pods of dolphins and orca are often seen off the coast and in the harbour, hear kiwi birds call at night, feel the sand between your toes, sit under the shade of an ancient tree….

Take the 'long way round' to the Bay of Islands and you will be rewarded by visiting a  beautiful and isolated coastal paradise including beaches Oakura, Helena Bay, and Mimiwhangata Coastal Park.

Local's Tips

ROCKPOOL! At Oakura, head to the southern end of the beach and climb (carefully!) around the rocks to a huge rock pool and 'be a mermaid'.

ART, GARDENS & CAFE Time your drive to coincide with lunch (or just stop anyway!) at Helena Bay Art Gallery and Café.

TAKE A PADDLE Launch your kayak from the beach at Teal Bay and explore paradise, including paddling south to Mimiwhangata Coastal Park.


Mimiwhangata Coastal Park is a Department of Conservation Reserve with an awesome landscape and shoreline, fringed by a 2000 hectare marine park.  The 850 hectare property is run as a working farm, with stock excluded from the sensitive sand dunes, wetlands and bush areas.  The Park includes a number of small craggy islands, hard, greywacke rock cliffs and mature pohutukawa and yellow flowering kowhai trees.

The Park is a permanent home to a number of threatened bird species, including one of the worlds rarest water fowl the Brown Teal or Pateke, and is regularly visited by others.   Amateur fishing and gathering is allowed – check out the fishing and shellfish gathering restrictions in the marine park.

The last few kilometres of access are a narrow winding gravel road that is not suitable for caravans or larger camper vans. Vehicles with trailers should be okay but please drive extremely carefully.

Campsites are available in secluded Waikahoa Bay with basic water and toilet facilities but you have to walk, and carry all your gear, the last few hundred metres. DOC also provides other accommodation options including a lodge, cottage and beach house. 

Please leave your dogs at home as they are a threat to nesting shorebirds, brown teal and kiwi.


Peninsula Loop Walk
This two hour return walk around the headland provides the best of everything; shady beaches, rocky shores, archaelogical sites, farmland, native vegetation and bird life. Signs guide you from the main car park.

Puriri Track
This track starts on the right hand side of the road as you head into Mimiwhangata Park. The track leads quite steeply  up the side of the valley and once you are near the top of the ridge, there are gorgeous views of the peninsula and out towards the Poor Knights Islands.  You can either make your way back the same  way or continue and go down to the coast and back to the car park via the beach.


Te Mimiha and Ngawai Bay (Teal Bay) are part of the larger Helena Bay.  There is plenty of parking for vehicles, the water is usually calm and flat (although occasionally the surf does get pretty spectacular) providing safe swimming for youngsters, and there are plenty of grassed areas to picnic on. Neither of these bays have stores or camping grounds.


Oakura, 45 minutes drive north of Whangarei city, is a popular holiday and weekend destination for many Whangarei locals. Oakura Bay is a beautiful east facing beach, almost a kilometre long and adjacent to the deep water entrance to the Whangaruru Harbour.  The beach has clean white sand and generous access from the road for half of its length. Oakura Bay is sheltered from ocean swells by several outlying islands and provides safe swimming for all ages – great for the kids! The greater area’s supply stores – general, fishing, fuel, food – are all located at Oakura.

For boaties, the boat launching ramp provides the gateway to paradise. Enjoy water skiing in the harbour, exploring beautiful unpopulated bays and coastal diving and fishing.  Venture out to the famous Poor Knights Islands or the entrance to the Bay of Islands at Cape Brett with Percy Island and its famous "Hole in the Rock".
Local fishing and diving charters available.


Whangaruru is a large harbour with several small communities on its shores. It lies in a relatively remote coastal district and pods of dolphins and orca may be seen off the coast and in the harbour. DOC manages regenerating forest and calls of the little brown kiwi can be heard at night. It is a great place to explore by kayak or boat and is a safe anchorage for passing yachts.

Parutahi Bay
The charming Parutahi Bay lies just inside the entrance of the Whangaruru Harbour. The Whangaruru Beachfront Camp at Parutahi Bay has been family owned for over 50 years while the family has been farming in the district for over 100.

Bland Bay
On the northern shores of the Whangaruru Harbour, there are two beaches of very different character.  A sheltered bay on the harbour side, with an exposed Pacific Ocean surf beach only 400 metres away across a flat isthmus.  A campground bridges this gap between the two beaches. 

Whangaruru North Road takes you onto the Whangaruru peninsula and the DOC campsite at Puriri Bay (Whangaruru North Head) which provides basic camping facilities in paradise.
The harbour and isthmus are the historic home of Ngatiwai and the area is dotted with pa sites. Although most are on private land, a pa on the Kirikiri headland has open access.