Hideaway on New Zealand's North Island

Hidden in a corner of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, this little-known hideaway came in handy during a late spring gale.

Orokawa Bay.
After days of wind and rain, a rainbow was a welcome sight in Orokawa Bay.Nadine Slavinski

Ah, Orokawa Bay. This anchorage might not be the best-known corner of New Zealand’s lovely Bay of Islands, but it sure came in handy during a late spring gale. We’d spent six memorable months cruising New Zealand, and it was time to head north for the winter. But when the weather didn’t cooperate, we delayed our departure while waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a favorable weather window to Fiji. That window proved elusive, however, and instead of heading north for the tropics, we found ourselves hunkering down as low after low pelted North Island.

And there was no better place to hunker than Orokawa, with its wide, commodious bay and thick mud bottom that guaranteed our trusty Rocna anchor a firm grip no matter what the elements threw at us. In fact, we’d never felt more independent or secure than we did in Orokawa, thanks to a bimini rain-catchment system that funneled gallons of fresh water in minutes and a wind generator that whirred with all the power three happy sailors could use. Despite a few howling, bumpy nights at anchor, our memories of Orokawa are all sunny and bright — as bright as the brilliant rainbow and emerald-green landscape we awoke to once the storm had blown through.