Located in the Auckland region
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.
Post observations of species you see here on iNaturalist.
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 50 m from any swimmer and within 200 m 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.
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.
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.
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.
Non-compliance with these conditions may result in prosecution.
Auckland Council manages the foreshore and parkland of the Long Bay Regional Park.
To protect wildlife dogs are prohibited in the following areas:
Auckland Council's policy on dogs (PDF, 1,145K) – see page 14, section 6
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).
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.
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.
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.
Field Trip | Levels 1-4: Guidance to planning a field trip to Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.
Estuaries are special places where rivers meet the sea. Each one is unique, ranging from small lagoons to extensive wetland harbour systems.
This marine reserve was chosen as a sentinel site because of the existing knowledge and ongoing monitoring at the site, plus the collaboration and interest from local stakeholders and tangata whenua.
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.