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Paihia to Opua to Russell Coastal Loop

  4.2 ( 6 ) Favorite


13.1 mile 21.1 kilometer loop
99% Runnable


Ascent: 568' 173 m
Descent: -570' -174 m
High: 204' 62 m
Low: 0' 0 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 10% (5°)


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Trail shared by Kristen Arendt


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A loop run with two ferry rides around the Bay of Islands.

Kristen Arendt

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

This trail goes through protected Kiwi areas. Be sure to check the tides as some of the trail is on the beach and may be inaccessible at high tide.


A nice day run connecting the Paihia to Opua Walkway and the Okiato to Russell Walkway via two short ferry rides.

Need to Know

For more information on the run, visit the Bay of Islands Walkway Trust's website.

Ferry timetables and fare information can be found here.

Runner Notes

Perhaps not the best run if you are looking for a non-stop effort; however, if you don't mind a mid-run break to catch the ferry from Opua to Okiato, this could make a pleasant loop.


This run makes a great loop for a full day of sightseeing in the main visitor areas of the Bay of Islands. With two short ferry rides to connect the Paihia to Opua Walkway and the Okiato to Russell Walkway, this loop add a little bit of a twist to the normal day run.

Starting from Paihia, head south on the the Paihia to Opua Walkway, A well-maintained track that follows along the water. From Paihia, it heads along the beach and then passes a helicopter pad before crossing a bridge at the Te Haumi Stream. Once over this bridge, the trail enters the bush on the left. After the bridge, keep an eye open for the Te Araroa Pathway sign.

From here, the trail is well-marked and rolling. This section of the walkway has pleasant views over Veronica Channel toward Russell. After a few more small ups and downs, and a nice boardwalk section, the track ends at Opua.

Stop by the general store for snacks or refreshments before taking the ferry from Opua to Okiato on the Russell Peninsula. The ferry schedule can be found here.

Once the ferry docks in Okiato, continue on the Okiato to Russell Walkway. This varied and scenic walkway winds from Okiato to Russell through native bush and along wetland flats.

From the ferry terminal at Okiato, this scenic walkway follows a well-marked and well-maintained track all the way to Orongo Bay and then on to the town of Russell. The track passes through a variety of terrain ranging from dense native bush, to wetland flats, to a pleasant boardwalk that winds along the edge of the water.

Once you reach the town of Russell, simply catch one of the passenger ferries to return to Paihia.

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May 8, 2019
Chilli Man
Awesome loop whilst doing the tourist thing. No problems with tides or finding the trail, although the trail has changed slightly near the Russell tip 15mi — 3h 30m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 6 votes


in Paihia


  4.2 from 6 votes
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New Zealand coastline
Dec 6, 2017 near Paihia, NZ
Feb 6, 2018 near Paihia, NZ
Feb 6, 2018 near Paihia, NZ
Bay of Islands: This was taken at the Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand.
Feb 6, 2018 near Paihia, NZ
Feb 6, 2018 near Paihia, NZ
Black Sand
Feb 6, 2018 near Paihia, NZ


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