MotuekaOnline logo

Dummy Bay and Stephens Bay, Kaiteriteri

The beaches of Kaiteriteri (and its Little neighbour) are well known to all New Zealanders, but for Motueka residents wanting a lie on the beach or safe swim away from the crowds, a string of small, easily accessible bays just south of Kaiteriteri is the answer.

Stephens Bay has a road leading directly from the Kaiteriteri Road past some holiday houses to the sand and a safe and easy place to launch a kayak, or just to swim and soak up the sun. At the northern end is a small "secret" lagoon area which may be explored depending on tide levels.

For something just a bit different, it's worth the short trek to the next beach northward, Dummy Bay. The quickest access is from car parking along Cook Crescent (a cul de sac on the left side of Stephens Bay Road), up past the end of Cook Cres to a steep descent via about 60 well-made steps down to the beachhead. (See photo.)

Dummy Bay from the top of the steps leading from Cook Crescent

The alternative way, from Rowling Road in Little Kaiteriteri, uses a longer view-laden track from the end of the beach up over the bluff and down to Dummy Bay.

The choice of activity at the bay depends partly on the tide. At high tide, there is plenty of safe swimming down the centre of the beach, and this remains true at low tide as well. The expanse of sand - with its unusual seams of black sand in places - offers plenty of space for solitude.

People with half an interest in geology find plenty to examine and contemplate, with layers of different types of rock and various angles clearly visible. Wave erosion has left many fascinating and grand shapes, especially in the little "smuggler's cove" inlets just to the north of the main Dummy Bay and reachable at lower tide levels.

When these coves can be reached, it's definitely worth exploring them, but young children should be accompanied by adults. Here are a few photos of some rock formations and small caves.

Regardless of the tide, there is plenty of rock-hopping to be done on both sides of the bay.


If you have a favourite thing you like to do - a walking place, attraction, quiet spot - so the rest of us can check it out and enjoy it too, please tell us about it here.