Long Bay/Okura Marine Reserve

Image: Sara Kulins | MERC | ©


Just 20 km north of Auckland lies the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve. The reserve protects a variety of coastal habitats: sandy beaches, rocky reefs, estuarine mudflats and mangroves.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Protect our marine reserves
    • No fishing of any kind.
    • Don't take or kill marine life.
    • Don't remove or disturb any marine life or materials.
    • Don't feed fish - it disturbs their natural behaviour.
    • Take care when anchoring to avoid damaging the sea floor.

Find things to do and places to stay Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve

About this place

Nature and conservation

The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve protects a stretch of coastline on the east coast just north of Auckland city.


The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve was established in 1995 largely due to a community driven effort led by the East Coast Bays Coastal Protection Society.

The Society saw the need to have the area protected in its natural state as a typical slice of the Hauraki Gulf. Its importance as an educational resource was also recognised with the Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) based at Long Bay.

Monitoring at the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.

Diverse habitats

The shores and waters of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve are typical of those of the relatively sheltered inner Hauraki Gulf. There is a diversity of coastal habitats that includes the sandy beaches of Long Bay and Karepiro Bay, the rocky reefs off the two headlands at either end of Long Bay, and the sandflats and mudflats of the Okura River and estuary.

While Toroa Point at the southern end of Long Bay is 'moderately exposed', the Okura River estuary, in contrast, becomes increasingly sheltered as it extends inland for some four kilometres, and its muddy waters host mangrove forests and saltmarsh.

Getting there

The reserve is about 20 km from the centre of Auckland, and easily accessible by both public or private transport.

There is road access to several points on the Okura Estuary, the Okura Walkway and Stillwater. Excellent public access and car parking facilities are found at Long Bay Regional Park.

Know before you go

  • Fishing of any kind is an offence.
  • The taking or disturbing of any marine life, including shellfish and seaweeds, is also an offence.
  • It is an offence to take any part of the sea floor, including rocks and shells, from the reserve, or to erect any structure.
  • Do not feed the fish. This disturbs their natural behaviour and is an offence.
  • It is an offence for boats or jet skis to exceed five knots within 200 m of the mainland or a dive flag, or within 30 m of a boat or person in the water.
  • Take your rubbish away with you - observe the Department's 'Pack in-pack out' policy. Rubbish disposal at the reserve is very difficult.
  • If you come across any field or research equipment within the reserve, do not disturb it.

Non-compliance with these conditions may result in prosecution.


Auckland Council manages the foreshore and parkland of the Long Bay Regional Park.

Long Bay Beach adjacent to Long Bay Regional Park
  • Dogs are prohibited on the Northern Beach areas, north of Vaughan Stream, during summer bird breeding season (1 October to 31 March). 
  • Dogs are permitted throughout the year (with restrictions) on the Southern Beach Areas, south of Vaughan Stream. 
  • Full details of dog access rules at Long Bay Regional Park
Other beaches and marine reserve foreshore

To protect wildlife dogs are prohibited in the following areas:

  • Okura Bush Walkway (including Stillwater section)
  • Okura Bush Scenic Reserve or adjacent foreshore
  • Weiti Estuary Chenier Spits
  • Crown foreshore of the Weiti River
  • Karepiro Bay
  • Okura Beach Marginal strip

Auckland Council's policy on dogs (PDF, 1,145K) – see page 14, section 6

More about dog access in Auckland

Help us stop offenders

If you see people taking fish or other marine life within the marine reserve, report this to the DOC conservation emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Total fire ban on Hauraki Gulf islands

There is a total fire ban on islands in the Hauraki Gulf. There are sometimes exceptions for Waiheke, Great Barrier, Kawau and Rakino which Auckland Council look after.

Rules for outdoor fires on Auckland Council Hauraki Gulf islands.


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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