Bird and wildlife watching
Oystercatchers, black-fronted terns and gulls are common at Long Bay. The endangered NZ dotterel nests on sand spits near the Okura Walkway.
If you're lucky, you might spot pods of orca or dolphins which are seen a few times each year.
Boats are allowed within the marine reserve. Take care not to damage marine life by dragging anchors. Maritime Safety Rules apply: the maximum speed for all watercraft is 5 knots within 50m from any swimmer and within 200m from the shore.
There is no boat ramp at Long Bay. The nearest boat ramp is down Rock Isle Road, Torbay, about 5 minutes drive south of the marine reserve. There is also a boat ramp at the end of Okura River Road, on the Okura River.
Child/family friendly activities
The Long Bay Regional Park runs adjacent to part of the marine reserve and provides easy access to the water. The park is a great place to bring the kids for the day.
Take the kids rock hopping to neighbouring Granny’s or Pohutakawa bays. Explore the rock pools: look out for colourful anemones, starfish, crabs and small fish. Be aware of coastal erosion from the cliffs.
Diving and snorkelling
The reefs at either end of Long Bay are the best place to snorkel. Look out for large snapper, rays and many reef fish species amongst the seaweed and rocky ledges.
Kayaking and canoeing
You can launch your kayak at Long Bay and paddle north to explore Karepiro Bay and the Okura estuary and river. If you paddle south, you can stop off at one of North Shore’s many great beaches such as Browns Bay or Mairangi Bay.
Skim boarding is popular at Long Bay as the beach provides ideal conditions.
You can also kite surf at Long Bay but take care around swimmers. Note that Maritime Safety Rules apply to kite surfers.
Surfing and swimming
If there’s a big swell on the east coast there are occasionally waves in the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.
Long Bay Beach is the most popular and easily accessible place to swim. Granny’s and Pohutakwa bays are other good options. In the peak of summer lifeguards patrol Long Bay.
The upper reaches of the Okura estuary and river are mudflats and not as suitable for swimming.
Record your observations
Go to NatureWatch NZ and post observations of species you see here.