Can you stay on Urupukapuka island for a night The Overnight Accommodations and Experiences

Can you stay on Urupukapuka island for a night? | The Overnight Accommodations and Experiences

Urupukapuka Island is one of the most beautiful destinations in New Zealand. So naturally, many want to explore what Urupukapuka Island offers. That’s where we come in!

From accommodations to activities, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your time on this stunning island. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure as we take you through a guide to overnight accommodations and experiences on Urupukapuka Island!

Can you stay on Urupukapuka Island for a night? 

Yes, you can stay on Urupukapuka Island for a night or more. Although there are no hotels on Urupukapuka Island, you can go camping, as most visitors do.

There are three campsites on Urupukapuka Island to stay at, but since the island is popular, it’s best to book your accommodation in advance.

What are the overnight accommodations (campsites) on Urupukapuka Island?

Urupukapuka Island has three campsites that serve as overnight accommodations for visitors: Urupukapuka Bay, Sunset Bay, and Cable Bay.

All three have beautiful ocean views and are fantastic for stargazing at night. Fortunately all of them also have basic facilities, including toilets and water, but you do need to bring your own camping gear and supplies.

Now, this part is really important. While these campsites are available year-round, we always book in advance and advise you to do the same, especially during peak season (December to February). 

How to Book a Campsite at Urupukapuka Island

You can book a campsite at Urupukapuka Island through the Department of Conservation (DOC) or in person at the Paihia or Russell Information Centers. But we recommend booking online to avoid the 10 NZD in-person booking fee. 

When booking, the process is straightforward: select the campsite you want to stay at, choose your dates, and provide your personal information. 

Payment is made when booking, so have your wallet handy, and once the campsite is paid, the confirmation will be sent to your email address.

What you Need to Book a Campsite at Urupukapuka Island

Before you go camping on Urupukapuka Island, you must obtain a camping permit from the Department of Conservation (DOC) website or in person at the Paihia or Russell Information Centers. 

The camping permit costs NZD 6 per person per night and is valid for up to one year for all DOC campsites in New Zealand. As for the actual camping fees, they’re in the table below.

Camping Fees
February 9 to December 25Adult (18+ years): 15 NZD per night

Child (5–17 years): 7.50 15 NZD per night

Infant (0–4 years): Free

December 26 to February 8Adult (18+ years): 18 NZD per night

Child (5–17 years): 9 NZD per night

Infant (0–4 years): Free

NoteYou can use a DOC campsite pass if you have one at all three campsites.

What are the rules for staying on Urupukapuka Island?

There are rules and regulations that visitors must follow when staying on Urupukapuka Island. 

  • You must follow the island’s conservation and cultural guidelines. This includes staying on designated tracks and paths and not disturbing wildlife or cultural sites. 
  • Locals expect you to respect the privacy of their residence and help keep the island clean. Do not leave trash around the island!
  • In terms of fire safety, open fires are prohibited on Urupukapuka Island, so we often use gas stoves for cooking when we go to the island ourselves. 
  • Smoking is not allowed in any of the campsites.
  • You have to follow all boating and water safety regulations, including wearing life jackets when boating or swimming.

Breaking any of these rules and regulations may result in fines or eviction from the island. So, it’s good to be responsible and respectful during your stay on Urupukapuka Island.

What can you do on Urupukapuka Island?

There are a lot of activities you can try when on Urupukapuka! Here are some of our favorites, if you need ideas.

1. Exploring the Island 

Sometimes the best thing to do on Urupukapuka Island is to wander around and explore the island. 

You should bring a hat, sunscreen, and drink, and dress comfortably for a day of walking. Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can capture the breathtaking scenery and any historical landmarks. 

2. Swimming and Snorkelling on Urupukapuka Island

Urupukapuka Island has lovely beaches for swimming, and snorkelling. We always go to Otehei Bay, one of the main beaches on the islands, when we’re in the mood for this. 

Usually, when we go, the water is generally calm and clear, making it ideal for swimming. But as there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach, we wouldn’t recommend swimming if you’re a beginner – the current can sometimes be a little intense. 

When it comes time for snorkelling, we recommend snorkelling at Otehei Bay and Cable Bay. Those are our top spots because of the diverse range of marine life, such as fish, rays, and sometimes even dolphins. 

While we usually bring our own snorkelling gear whenever we go, you can always rent a snorkel from the Otehei Bay Visitor Centre if you forget to bring yours. 

You’ll find plenty of corals and shells when snorkelling in the bays around Urupukapuka Island. Many of the shells we’ve seen while snorkelling are dazzling, but you can only look and not take them home as souvenirs because of the island’s conservation efforts. 

To help preserve the corals and the reefs around Urupukapuka Island, we even made sure to wear sunscreen that was reef-safe while we were swimming and snorkelling. We strongly recommend doing the same!

3. Wildlife-spotting on Urupukapuka Island

Here is a guide to some of the wildlife you can experience on the island:


The sheep population on Urupukapuka Island varies depending on the time of year. During the summer months, the population can be as high as 2,000 sheep, while during the winter months, the population is much lower.

The sheep are also good for the ecosystem. The grazing helps to maintain the island’s vegetation and prevent the growth of invasive plant species.

We’ve often seen sheep grazing on the hillsides during our own visits. But we always take care to respect the sheep and their grazing areas, for obvious reasons.


Urupukapuka Island is home to over 50 species of birds, including the North Island saddleback, North Island robin, brown teal, and the endangered New Zealand dotterel. 

In short, the island is a bird watcher’s paradise. You can spot these feathered friends on the many walking tracks around the island if you’re in the mood to birdwatch. 

Urupukapuka Island is also one of the few places in New Zealand where you can see kiwis in their natural habitat. These flightless birds are nocturnal, so we found that the best time to spot them is on a night walk. 

So, if you go out at night, listen for their distinctive calls and keep your eyes peeled for these elusive creatures.

Marine Life

Of course, the waters surrounding Urupukapuka Island are home to a lot of marine life. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins, a humpback, or a Bryde’s whale. 

We’ve seen New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks around the island too. You can even swim with them if you’re feeling adventurous, though you probably don’t want to get too close to them intentionally.

4. Boat Touring on Urupukapuka Island 

A boat tour is one of the best ways to explore Urupukapuka island. Some companies we’ve used before and can recommend for this are below: 

Fullers GreatSights

Address: Maritime Building 69 Marsden Road, Paihia 2020, New Zealand

Phone: +64 800 653 339

One of the many boat tours Fullers GreatSights offers in the Bay of Islands is one that stops at Urupukapuka Island. Stopping in Otehei Bay for lunch and walking around the island is a highlight of the excursion.

Explore Group Bay of Islands

Address: 69 Marsden Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand

Phone: +64 800 397 567

Dolphins, whales, and seals can all be seen in their natural environment during Explore Group’s three-hour boat trip to the Bay of Islands. The boat also stops at Urupukapuka Island, where you may enjoy a picnic lunch at Otehei Bay after strolling the island’s walking pathways. 

Salt Air

Salt Air

Address: Marsden Road, Paihia 0247, New Zealand

Phone: +64 9 402 8338

Salt Air gives helicopter and boat tours of the Bay of Islands so that you can take in the breathtaking scenery from above and get a feel for the islands. 

Urupukapuka Island is a planned stop on the tour where you can have lunch and explore the island’s walking pathways. 

Dolphin Discoveries

Address: NZ, Post Building Marsden Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand

Phone: +64 9 402 8234

For anyone interested in seeing dolphins, whales, and seals in their natural environment, Dolphin Discoveries provides a four-hour boat trip to the Bay of Islands. 

Urupukapuka Island is another stop on the boat tour. There, you may take advantage of the island’s walking pathways and have lunch in Otehei Bay.

5. Kayaking on Urupukapuka Island

We always take a kayaking trip around the island when we visit Urupukapuka. Some companies we’ve used for kayaking at Urupukapuka are below: 

Bay of Islands Kayaking 

Address: Otehei Bay, Paihia 0200, New Zealand

Phone: +64 21 272 3353

With Bay of Islands Kayaking‘s guided kayak tours, we’ve explored the island’s coastline and gotten up close and personal with its native flora and fauna. We recommend their tours for beginner kayakers. 

Coastal Kayakers 

Address: Te Karuwha Parade, Paihia 0200, New Zealand

Phone: +64 800 334 661

Take a guided kayak tour of Urupukapuka Island with Coastal Kayakers to discover the island’s secluded coves and beaches. The tour stops at Otehei Bay, where you can have lunch and wander around the island’s trails. 

Truly Urupukapuka Island is an incredible place to visit and stay overnight on. While there are no hotels or motels on the island, you can go camping and glamping.  

There are also plenty of things to do on the island during your overnight stay. 

Whether going snorkelling in Urupukapuka Bay, kayaking, or observing the wildlife, staying busy the entire day is easy. Before you know it, you’ll have spent the night on Urupukapuka Island!