Things To Do

Okains Bay is where time has stopped and is full of places of historic interest to visit and explore. Being part of Banks Peninsula, there are plenty of other interesting places to explore or activities to try within an hours drive:


Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Musuem

Probably one of the most famous places to visit within the bay is the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum. Started as the private collection of a local, Murray Thacker it offers a wide range of items including over 3000 Maori items as well as Colonial items from days gone by. A Blacksmith's smithy, Colonial Cottage and a Printing Shop are also highlights of this amazing Museum. One of the highlights of the Museum is the Whakaata (meeting house) while across the road from the Museum is the Waka shed which features two large waka (war canoes) Many smaller waka are also on display. Just down the road are the Library and the original Schoolhouse looking just as it was when opened in 1872.

See the museum website for more information.

Okains Bay Store

Okains Bay Store

In the middle of the village is the Okains Bay Store, the longest continually operating store in New Zealand. Opened in 1873, it still serves the needs of the local community. Drop in for an ice cream, souvenir or those forgotten items. It also supplies petrol and diesel from outside an original 1800s Cocksfoot grass cleaning shed.

Little Okains Walk

Little Okains Walk

Just twenty minutes walk from the Camping Ground is Little Okains Bay, a very important part of the history of Ngai Tahu and Maori settlement of Banks Peninsula. Enjoy stunning sights and the sound of bellbirds and other native birds as you wend your way over to this idyllic spot where you are more than likely to have the beach to yourself! Explore the nearby caves or play on the beach. Ideal for a family game of cricket, etc


Banks Peninsula has beautiful parks and reserves, offering many recreational opportunities. Explore this giant ancient volcanic remnant with its deeply indented bays, wild beaches, striking mountains and intriguing geological and human history.

More information is available on the Christchurch City Council website.

Doc walks

Banks Peninsula Walks

Banks Peninsula was once a rich mosaic of plant and bird species, which human interference all but destroyed. The few pockets which survive as public reserves give some idea of the diversity that once typified Banks Peninsula. Many of these reserves are easily accessible, being close to the Summit Road. All are worth visiting as most have short walks and great picnic spots.

Full information on Department of Conservation walks is available on their website. 


Millenium Bridge

Millenium Bridge

There are plenty of great opportunities for walking around the village. Walk up the main road, taking in the historic precinct and old buildings that are just as they were in the late 1800s and then cross the Millennium Bridge to return on the opposite side of the river, taking in all the native wildlife as you go.

Big Hill - photo ops

Big Hill - photo ops

You can get some great shots of Okains Bay and the whole valley up the Big Hill Road which is just off the main road before the entrance to the Camping Ground. Please note, the road is quite steep and narrow at the start and is not really suitable for campervans. It is an vigorous walk which will reward you with some wonderful views.


St Luke's Church, Little Akaloa

St Lukes Anglican Church at Little Akaloa was built in 1906 to replace the 1874 church which was destroyed by fire after early use as a school.
Chief benefactor John Menzies, a lay reader, not only donated much of the money for the new church, he did much of the construction and decorative work. Menzies' designs, using Maori motifs, are a feature of the church. This church is often used for weddings and cannot be recommended highly enough for a visit while you are in the area.
Take the Little Akaloa/Chorlton Road just up to the right from the camping ground. The drive througth to LIttle Akaloa offers great scenery and lots to see as well as being a great alternative route if you are heading back to Christchurch. About 30 minutes travel time to Little Akaloa.


Barry's Bay Cheese Factory

Banks Peninsula was one of the first areas in New Zealand to commercially produce and export cheese and by the late 1890’s, there were at least 9 cheese factories producing butter, cheddar and other cheeses including Okains Bay. Today Barry's Bay Cheese is the only one that remains. Along with the cheeses, they offer a wide range of wines, local preserves, honeys, oils, antipasto items and gifts to compliment their cheeses. The Cheese and Wine Shop is open 7 days 9a.m to 5p.m. During cheese making season between the months of October to May you can view cheese making every second day through the gallery window in the shop. Well worth a visit while staying on the Peninsula.
More info here


Eastern Bays Scenic Mail Run

The best way to see the area and find out a little of the history and fauna and flora of this area is to take the Eastern Bays Scenic Mail Run. Experience the magnificent natural beauty and isolation of the Eastern bays, valleys and coastline. Travel 120km, weaving in and out of 10 bays from sea level to the crater rim delivering mail to farms and settlements. The Mail run operates 6 days a week (Mon- Sat) and takes four and a half hours travelling amongst some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever see! The tour includes a beachfront homemade morning tea, a visit to an historic Church and a short walk on beautiful Le Bons Bay beach. Plenty of photo opportunities and comfort stops. 9am departure from Akaroa. Tours operate all year round. Check out more information here.


Akaroa Village

Enjoy this little taste of France in this historic French town. Plenty of shops to explore, cafes, galleries, a great museums, boating trips of all kinds, swim with the dolphins, an original lighthouse from the Akaroa Harbour heads right on the foreshore - Akaroa has it all. Plan to spend at least half a day in Akaroa.
Looking for somewhere for a meal in Akaroa? - check out some of the dining here

Black Cat Cruises

Black Cat Cruises

Cruise around an extinct volcanic crater and experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife on daily harbour cruises with Black Cat Cruises. See the rare NZ native dolphin - the Hector's Dolphin, as well as penguins and other sea birds. You'll catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world and there are many different bird species in the harbour, including five different cormorant (shag) species and the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. You'll see giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past. If you are very lucky, you may see Hector's dolphins with their calves which can be seen between October and March The tour also stops at Lucas Bay to look at a salmon farm where thousands of salmon from fingerlings to adult fish are farmed in a series of cages.
Cruises depart every day, weather permitting.
More info here


Jet Boating in the harbour

If you are looking for something more adventurous, try an unforgettable jet boating experience on the 20 seat, Twin V8, 600 Horsepower "PHAT TIME" . This 7.5 metre Cobra jet is the latest design, combining power and speed with built in comfort and exceptional safety features operating from October to April. Check it out here

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Akaroa Information Centre

Looking for other things to do? The Akaroa Information Centre in the old Post Office in Akaroa may be able to help you with further ideas of things to do while in Okains Bay. Contact them here


Sail on the Fox II

Sail with the dolphins in the crater of an extinct volcano on New Zealand’s oldest gaffed rigged ketch Fox II and enjoy the wildlife of Akaroa Harbour up close. Relax and soak up the sun, sea and hills or take part as one of the crew. See Hectors dolphins, yellow-eyed and blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals, albatross and other sea birds. Be surrounded by giant volcanic sea cliffs, caves and rock formations along the journey. A guaranteed highlight of your trip that you will remember for the rest of your life.
• See ALL the wildlife of Akaroa Harbour • Crew or just relax • Learn about local history • Tour the harbour the eco-friendly way • Enjoy real Pacific Ocean sailing (not just Akaroa Harbour)
Find out more here



Contact Us


Okains Bay Campground
1357 Okains Bay Rd, Okains Bay, 7583
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand


Christchurch City Council © trading as Okains Bay Camping Ground
Proudly New Zealand Owned