Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
If you’re looking for an idyllic escape, look no further than Opito Bay in the Coromandel Peninsula. This stunning beach is one of the most beautiful in New Zealand, and it’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting there, what to expect and how to get across to Crayfish Bay – which is definitely worth a visit!
The water at Opito Bay is a beautiful blue, and it’s perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding.
This long sandy beach is pretty remote, if you love to explore places off the beaten track then you’ll definitely love this spot! It isn’t too well known and hopefully it stays that way for a bit. It really is a hidden gem.
What to do in Optio Bay
1. Swim in the clear blue water
Of course going for a swim makes the top of the list for things to do in Opito Bay. The water is so incredibly clear and there’s no quick drop off so you can paddle around for a while before it gets too deep.
If you’re not a confident swimmer, this bay is perfect for you because generally, it’s very calm with no strong currents. The position of the beach often means it’s sheltered from the wind. It really is the perfect spot to spend a hot summer’s day.
2. Enjoy some stand-up paddleboarding
Paddleboarding is a great way to explore the bay and take in the incredible scenery of rocky headlands and islands in the distance.
The waves are calm and not too aggressive which means Opito Bay is a great spot for paddleboarding.
You’ll have to bring a paddleboard with you though as unfortunately there isn’t any places nearby where you are able to rent one.
3. Go for a leisurely kayak
If you want to explore a bit more of the coastline, then heading out for a kayak is a great option. You can paddle around the bay and even make your way over to Crayfish Bay which is located just around the headland.
Same story as the paddleboard though, you’ll need to be organised and bring one with you or be staying at a holiday home that has some you can use.
Alternatively you could book a tour with Coromandel Sea Kayaks who offer Volcanic Coast Day Trip in Opito Bay. Owned and operated by experienced locals, you’re sure to have a fantastic time.
Over the course of 4 hours, you’ll get the opportunity to paddle into other secluded bays as well, ones that have no road or track access!
4. Collect Tua Tuas at low tide
Tua Tuas are a type of mussel that can be found at Opito Bay. They’re really easy to collect as they sit on the sand in the shallows at low tide.
You’ll need a bucket and a spade to collect them, and you can either steam or fry them up for dinner – they’re certainly a Kiwi favourite.
5. Climb the steps to the pa site
If you walk to the end of Opito Bay, there is a track of 196 steps that zigzags up to the pa site. It’s a historical site with incredible views of Mercury Bay.
The terrain can be a little uneven so take care walking in the long grass.
Once you’ve reached the top you can make your way back down to the beach. If you want to cool off with a swim at another bay, head across to Crayfish Bay from here.
The total journey will take you about 3 hours. Make sure to bring plenty of water so you can stay hydrated and of course some snacks!
5. Walk from Opito Bay to Crayfish Bay
Popping across from Opitio Bay to Crayfish Bay is a must! It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in New Zealand – I’m talking Greek Island vibes! The rockface is pretty unique.
If you feel like getting your adrenaline pumping, there’s a rock jump. I’m not too daring so I gave that a miss, but my partner did it and thought it was pretty cool.
There are metal bars that act like steps to help you climb back up the rock face if you don’t want to swim back to shore.
You can also do a bit of exploring around the rocks, it’s a pretty awesome view! At low tide rock pools form at the edges of the bay which are always good to explore too.
So how do you get from Opito Bay to Crayfish Bay?
Head down to the southern end of the beach where you’ll find a sign just off the beach in what looks like someone’s farm.
Jump over the fence and make your way along the dirt track and by track I mean, where you can see the grass has worn from people walking over it.
Continue walking until you reach another fence. You guessed it, jump over that too. And there you have it! You’ve made it to Crayfish Bay. The journey should only take you about 10 mins.
Stop by Otama Beach on your way back to Kuaotunu
Otama Beach is located just before Opito Bay, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a swim or a picnic lunch on your way back from Crayfish Bay.
It’s a high contender for one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand!
If you thought Opito Bay was stunning wait till you see Otama Bay!
The waves are a little bigger at Otama Bay but it is still a stunning spot for a swim.
The long sandy beach means there’s plenty of space and you can find some shade under the pohutukawa trees if you need a break from the hot sun.
If you head down to the southern end of the beach, you’ll find the Otama Beach Swing. Its location even comes up on google maps so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it.
Getting to Opito Bay
The most popular way to get to Opito Bay is to drive, and it’s probably the only way tbh – certainly no buses out in this part of New Zealand!
First, you’ll need to travel to Kuaotunu village and then take Black Jack Road for about 20 minutes till you reach Opito. It’s a windy gravel road with some awesome views as you drive around the coast.
Once you arrive in Opito, find a park and make your way down to the beach. You can’t miss it.
If you park right down the end of Opito Bay Road there are some toilet facilities you can use.
Is the road to Opito Bay sealed?
No the road to Opito Bay is not fully sealed, it’s a gravel road with some paved spots in-between. It’s fine for most vehicles and a pretty easy road to drive even if it is a bit windy.
Opito Bay Coromandel Map
Auckland to Opito Bay
It takes about 3 hours and 15 mins to drive from Auckland but trust me, it’s so worth it. Try knock off work early so you can beat the horrendous southern motorway traffic, and if you’re a tourist be sure you don’t travel on Auckland motorways during peak hour traffic – you have been warned!
Alternatively, book a weekend away and spend a couple of days soaking up this gorgeous spot, either in a holiday home or at the campground in Kuaotunu.
Tip: If you’re planning to spend a weekend here, be sure to book a holiday home in advance so you don’t miss out. Especially if you’re visiting during the summer months!
Food options in Optio Bay
Due to how remote Optio is, you aren’t going to find any food options there, but if you’re looking for somewhere to eat before making the journey to the bay, Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu is the place to go.
This charming restaurant has a warm and inviting atmosphere, and the food is simply outstanding. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with live music on the weekends in summer creating an awesome atmosphere.
Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast or a delicious dinner, you’re sure to find something to your liking on the menu. The staff are friendly and attentive, and they go out of their way to make sure you have a pleasant dining experience. In addition, the prices are pretty reasonable.
If you need your morning coffee fix before hitting the beach, the adjacent cafe will be your saving grace. If like me, coffee isn’t your thing I’d HIGHLY recommend trying one of the freshly made smoothies.
There is also some delicious cabinet food you can grab to take away with you. Perfect for if you think you’ll need some snacks while relaxing on the beach.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be at the beach long enough to need snacks…trust me, you will cause once you get to Opito Bay you seriously won’t want to leave!
Opito Bay Accommodation
Since it’s a bit far to go for just a day trip, you’ll definitely want to book some accommodation somewhere. You’ve basically got two options, the Kuaotunu Campground or hiring a holiday home.
Unfortunately Opito Bay doesn’t have its own campground so the closest option is Kuaotunu. It’s a lovely little campground situated across the road from Kuaotunnu beach.
The service is pretty patchy and at times non-existent but that just allows the perfect opportunity to switch off and properly relax.
The best campsites are the ones next to the stream. Be sure to wake up for sunrise because it truly is magical the way the rays shine through the trees and reflect off the water.
The facilities in the campground itself are pretty basic but it’s got everything you need. You’ll need coins for the shower so it’s handy to have some of those on hand. If you don’t, you can always swap a note at reception for some.
If camping’s not really your thing and you’re after something a bit more luxurious, there are some beautiful holiday homes dotted around the area that you can rent.
Both Kuaotunu and Opito beaches are absolutely beautiful so it doesn’t matter where you stay, but if you manage to find a place in Opito Bay, that would be my pick.
Whichever option you choose, make sure to book in advance as accommodation options fill up quickly during the summer months.
Best holiday homes in Opito
A stunning modern 4 bedroom home located right in Opito Bay. With a fully equipped kitchen, you’ll have the freedom to cook whatever meals you please.
Relax on a large sunny deck while taking in the beautiful ocean view. With room for 8 adults and 3 children, you can bring the whole family along.
This top-rated property is located just 200 metres from the sands of Opito Bay and offers beautiful sea views. A large outdoor patio provides the perfect spot to relax in the afternoon with your favourite book.
Double The Beach
A cosy 3 bedroom home with a gorgeous beachy feel is everything you need while holidaying Opito Bay. Enjoy the expansive elevated views from the deck. The outdoor furniture is just what you need for sunny afternoons.
Best holiday homes in Kuaotunu
A relaxing and calm escape, located just 5 minutes from Kuaotunu village. Enjoy sea views while you lounge on a private balcony in the native bush.
Hosts on the Coast Ataahua
Boasting stunning views of the ocean and a fully equipped kitchen, this holiday home is perfect for your next getaway.
These two and three bedroom villas are in a fantastic location with gorgeous views of the ocean. The free wifi means you can stay connected.
Ocean Cliff Court
This detached holiday home in Kuaotunu is located just a 4-minute walk from the beach. A well-positioned terrace allows you to soak up the afternoon sun.
Conclusion: Optio Bay New Zealand
If you’re looking for an amazing beach to visit this summer, make sure to add Opito Bay to your list. With its crystal-clear water and stunning location, it’s definitely a must-see destination.
You certainly won’t regret making the journey out here, it’s worth every minute. I’m honestly not joking when I say this spot is one of my favourites in New Zealand, it is THAT gorgeous.
Don’t forget to book your trip today – spots fill up quickly during summer!
For another must-do walk in the Coromandel Peninsula, be sure to check out New Chums Beach as well.
If you need more inspo for things to do in New Zealand, you can find other posts here.