What better way to take advantage of your fancy new set of wheels than to explore the bounty of Auckland region’s awesome stuff?
Auckland has quite a few nice regional parks with lots of neat hiking tracks and awesome views. Most of them are pretty easy to get to within an hour or so drive, making them great for day trips.
This post turned out mostly pictures and not too much history or description because, honestly, these are just pretty places that I don’t know all that much about. Hope you enjoy them.
The first of the three parks I’ve visited recently was probably my favorite. Tawharanui is a little peninsula on NZ’s east coast north of Auckland, almost all the way up to Northland (the region that goes all the way to the northern tip of the country). It has a refuge for birds, cool beaches, big rocks to climb on, and pretty shells to find.
After a hour’s drive north on Route 1 (and a detour along a more scenic coastal road), you drive out onto the peninsula and lose elevation until you get to the park entrance.
Once you get into the park, you immediately get to see the awesome beaches and nice views of the Hauraki Gulf to the south.
We just looked around Tawharanui beach for a short while before heading farther into the park. The weather was a bit all over the place, so it was overcast and a bit misty at many points during the day.
The road through the park passes through a bird sanctuary with some cool blue and black long-necked birds, finally ending closer to the north side of the peninsula. While the beach on the south side was a bit rockier, the north side was a more traditional long strip of light colored sand.
Not sure if it has a name, but there was a large rock that we climbed up on towards the western end of the beach that gave pretty good views of the rest of the area.
After fully exploring the western end of the beach, we found a trail leading east along the beach towards the end of the peninsula. Along the way were some cool sea caves and ridges to climb.
We continued over the ridge to the second part of the beach, where we spent quite a while looking for awesome shells, and we found plenty! As you can see, by this point the weather had gotten quite nice (for the moment), great for sitting around and enjoying the scenery.
We actually spent so long hanging around this part of the beach that the tide started to go out! Things looked quite a bit different during our walk back to the car.
Since we didn’t have time to hike all the way out to the end of the track, I definitely need to come back here again to see the rest of the park!
The second park I visited was in Mahurangi West, in the same direction as Tawharanui, just not quite as far north. This was a little less impressive, more of a nice place to have a picnic (as some people were) than a place to go hiking. There were just a couple short walks that we took to explore.
We did the two main hikes in the park which both led to views overlooking the water and took a little walk along the beach.
I said 3 regional parks, didn’t I, so where are the pictures from the last trip to Karekare/Mercer Bay? Gone into the aether, unfortunately…
My hard drive died last week, and though I was able to replace it successfully and restore my most recent backup, I hadn’t yet backed up my most recent photos, which sadly means they’re all gone.
More sadly is that I was next going to do another sciency post on my latest round of fieldwork in Taranaki and my first round of labwork in Wellington. Sadly, those are long gone as well, so it’ll have to wait for the next time. Luckily, that shouldn’t be too long, as I’m going to Wellington next week for labwork and a conference and back to Taranaki for some fieldwork just a couple weeks later.