French Bay Beach (Otitori Bay) 7pm to 7am daily is a small beach located a few minutes away from Titirangi Village. It’s mostly a beach used by locals for walks and leisurely boating activities like kayaking or yachting. The French Bay Yacht Club is located on one side of the beach and is the main activity hub of the beach.
The shore lacks fine sand that’s seen on other West Coast beaches like Piha Beach, Bethells Beach, or Anawhata Beach, and has a course texture with plenty of empty oyster shells. Shoes are highly recommended to be worn by anyone venturing onto the beach.
Swimming on this beach is subject to daily testing by the Auckland City Council but it’s mainly accepted that this isn’t a swimming beach, despite it being calm during high tide. During low tide, it’s more of a mud flat, with the water retreating far into the Manukau harbour.
Facilities at French Bay
Apart from the aforementioned Yacht Club (Open Only During the Season), there is a large diary across the road and plenty of parking at the end of Valley Lane. There are also public bus stops nearby for those wishing to use public transport.
What You Need To Know
This is a public place and so dogs must be on their leash at all times to keep them and the public safe.
According to the Auckland City Council Alcohol ban maps, Alcohol is not allowed to be consumed or in view during the hours of 7pm to 7am daily. Since Liquor bans are ever-changing, please visit their website for any updates or inspect the information boards outside of Otitori Bay (French Bay).
As in all Auckland city parks and reserves, smoking is not permitted.
There are provided bins near the carpark which are there for your rubbish. Please use them to keep the area clean for all of us. Household rubbish is not allowed.
Any and all public areas within the Auckland Region have a strict fire ban. It’s illegal to light open fires at French Bay and it’s surrounding areas.
Since there are animals and humans walking near-by, it’s therefore not allowed to fly drones around French Bay. Additionally, any non-commercial drone activity will require a permit from Regional Parks.
French Bay Origins
The French Bay name comes from the French explorers who first landed in New Zealand with abandoned plans for colonisation in the late 1700’s. As homage to this history, Titirangi hosts a French Market that sells a host of French fair from cheeses, pastries, crepes, savouries, coffee, patés and baguettes.
The first known Frenchman to have visited New Zealand was Captain Jean- François Marie de Surville in 1769. He was a merchant captain with the French East Inda Company and in 1769-70, he commanded a voyage to discover parts of the Pacific Ocean. He entered New Zealand waters 12 December 1769 at 11:15 am. He would travel across waters that were only passed 2 days prior by Capitan James Cook in his Endeavour. After leaving New Zealand waters, he sailed eastwards towards South America. The crew quickly suffered from scurvy due to the long voyages and lack of fresh food, Surville saught shelter at the settlement of Chilca in Peru. Unfortunately, during the journey from ship to land, his rowboat was capsized by heavy seas and Captain Jean- François Marie de Surville drowned on 8 April 1770 (aged 53)
A commemorative plaque can be found at Doubtless Bay, marking the anchorage of Saint Jean-Baptiste in New Zealand.