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Useful things to know before making your visit

Your visit under the Covid-19 Protection Framework

Okains Bay Museum is a museum for the community and for all Aotearoa New Zealand. Protecting our taonga and our collections is equally as important as keeping our community of visitors, volunteers and staff safe.

When visiting, please wear a mask or face covering over your nose and mouth, and maintain a physical distance of 1-metre from others not in your group. The NZ COVID Tracing QR code will be available for you to use should you wish.

Opening Hours:

Current opening hours are on our home page.

Group visits to the museum may be possible outside of regular opening hours. Please email us with the proposed date, time and group numbers and we will let you know the costs and confirm availability.


Okains Bay Museum does not receive any continuous government funding and relies on obtaining money from grants, donations and tickets in order to operate. Current ticket prices are on our home page.


There is a small store at Okains Bay offering a range of supplies and snacks and a small range of snacks is also available from the museum’s ticket office.

Currently, the bay does not have potable water so we do not recommend drinking tap water. Fresh drinking water is brought into the museum and is available free from the museum tearoom located at the front of the Colonial Hall.


Women’s, men’s and accessible toilets are located in the Colonial Hall.

Public toilets are also located at the beach, to the left of the parking area.

Getting around the Museum

Okains Bay Museum collections are housed in 18 heritage and collection-specific buildings located over half a hectare of land of the former Okains Bay Cheese factory.

You should dress as if you were visiting an outdoor museum. Paths are uneven and gravelled or grassed, so wear covered comfortable shoes and watch for trip hazards.

Umbrellas are available from the ticket office. Umbrellas must not be taken into the collection spaces, please leave them outside the entrances.

The internal spaces are not temperature controlled so if visiting in winter, dress warmly.


Paths are uneven gravelled or grassed, and not easy to traverse for those using unassisted mobility equipment.

There is a ramp into the Colonial Hall, however, many of the other buildings can only be accessed using steps.

We want to make the museum accessible to everyone and acknowledge that many of the spaces, due to their heritage nature, pose accessibility issues.

If you have any particular accessibility needs, please email us prior to your visit and we will work with you to maximise your visit and experience at the museum.

Okains Bay

Okains Bay is a rural sea and riverside location with a small community of permanent and part-time residents. The population grows over the summer months with campers and beachgoers.


Okains Bay has beautiful beach and riverside walks.

One of our favourite walks is a loop from the reserve near the intersection of River, School House and Okains Bay Roads. You can cross the river at the Millenium bridge or continue to the bridge on Chorlton Rd. If you take this walk at sunrise or sunset, the views are breathtaking, so take your camera.

The beach offers views of the remains of the wharves, the river entrance and caves. There is also a walk along the headland that begins from behind the beach car park.

Other places to visit:
    • The historic Okains Bay Store (opposite the school) was purchased by the Museum’s founder Murray Thacker and then gifted to the Okains Enhancement Society in 2021. It includes a small display of the history of the store.
    • The Grain Store is located next to the historic store. Don’t be misled by the sign saying it is a garage, this is a hangover from when the building was used as part of a film set.
    • Okains Bay School features collections and histories of schooling in the bay dating back to its establishment in the late 1800s. Ask at the museum if you would like to see inside.
    • Okains Bay Library. Ask at the museum if you would like to see inside.
Beyond Okains Bay:
    • If you have time, take the Chorlton Road home via Little Akaloa. There are spectacular views that extend to the Kaikoura ranges on clear days.  At Little Akaloa, visit the beautiful St Lukes Church, built by John Menzies and featuring Māori designs.
    • Otepatotu Scenic Reserve off Summit road is a short steep walk through magical bush to be rewarded at the top with stunning views of Banks Peninsula.
    • Hinewai Reserve is an ecological restoration project on Banks Peninsula, privately owned and managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust, but freely open to the public on foot.