Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Beaches and Swimming

Ocean Beach and Smugglers Bay are the most popular beaches on the Reserve for swimming and recreation. There are also some good spots for fishing.

Ocean Beach

Whangarei’s popular surf beach with its beautiful white sand and views of Bream Head. There are Life guards on duty over summer months. Explore the rocks, play in the surf, run down the dunes, or just have a quiet stroll. Public toilets at the car park. The adventurous and fit can walk to Ocean Beach via the spectacular 5 to 7 hour walk of the Bream Head/Te Whara Track or the 4 hour Te Whara Loop Walk or alternatively arrive by car with surf boards and picnic!

Smugglers Bay

Park at Urquhart Bay car park and access the beach via a 20 minute walk over farmland. This is a beautiful secluded cove with clear water and white sand. Great for a picnic, sandcastles, making huts with driftwood, swimming and snorkeling and has some large pohutukawa for shade.


Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach – great for surfing, photo courtesy of Discover Whangarei Heads

Smugglers Bay

Smugglers Bay, photo courtesy of Discover Whangarei Heads


The rocks at Dead Horse Bay (Ocean Beach) and Busby Head are good for surf casting.  There is a well maintained boat ramp at Urquhart Bay to launch your boat. The coastline around the Reserve is very popular with recreational fisher folk.  Netting for bait fish from Urquhart Bay is popular and the wharf at the southern end of Urquhart Bay is good for line fishing as well.