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Opua is the Gateway to New Zealand and the main Port of Entry for off shore cruisers and a popular summer destination for many New Zealanders. Opua is located just five minutes by road from Paihia, the heart of Bay of Islands. It is 20 minutes from Kerikeri and Bay of Islands Airport and is a short water crossing from romantic Russell. It is home to an historic wharf and a bustling marina with boatyard and other marine service outlets. Catering for the maritime industry, the community has shops, hairdresser as well as a primary school.

Opua is approximately 2.5 hours drive from downtown Auckland or a direct 4 hour coach journey, the last stop before Paihia, however you will need to walk down the hill for 10 minutes. 
The ship is based in Opua and departs from Opua Wharf en route to Russell shortly after 0830. Passengers are very welcome to board at Opua and join the crew for the 30 minute journey up the Waikare River but they will be working. There is around a 30  minute wait in Russell while crew provision.  Alternatively drive to Paihia, where you catch the ferry across to Russell so allow time to park as well as travel. All day parking is available in the Pay & Display carpark on Williams Road
There are limited restaurant options in Opua for evening meals and transport is recommended to Paihia or over to Russell. There is a beautiful coastal walkway from Opua to Paihia around the cliffs and through mangroves. It takes approximately 90 minutes to reach Paihia and a moderate level of fitness is recommended.

Places to stay include:

Cherry Bay Lodge, where the bush meets the Bay
Opua Motel
, friendly and convenient
Pine Lodge affordable accommodation