• Tawharanui Regional Park
• Scandrett Regional Park
• Mahurangi Regional Park
• Wenderholm Regional Park
• Te Arai Regional Park
• Pakiri Regional Park
Tawharanui Regional Park
From Leigh – 23 km (30 minutes)
Set on a remote peninsula, Tawharanui Regional Park boasts some of the Auckland region’s most beautiful white sandy beaches, rolling pastures, shingled bays, native forests and regenerating wetlands. A predator fence across the peninsula keeps most pests out allowing the introduction of some of New Zealand’s most endangered birds such as kiwi, saddleback and takahe. An automatic gate gives access to the park. Dogs are not permitted in the park. There are no shops here so take a picnic and remove your rubbish.
The road ends at a parking area which is a short walk from the main ocean beach which is good for swimming, surfing, kayaking, walking and exploring the rock pools. When the swells are minimal there is good snorkelling around the reefs. There are a number of walking trails and some are also accessible for mountain bikes. The Ecology Trail is a great family walk that includes the beach, farmland and regenerating bush – allow 1.5 to 2 hours with the chance of seeing the takahe, saddleback and other native birds.
Fishing is permitted from the shore on the southern side of the peninsula. Most of the northern side is a marine reserve where all marine life is protected. For more information go to the Tawharanui page of the Auckland Council website. TOSSI (Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc) is a group of volunteer who do numerous projects at Tawharanui. You can help with planting days, open days, nursery work and much more. Also follow TOSSI on Facebook.
Scandrett Regional Park
From Leigh – 29 km (35 minutes)
This park can be reached by taking the road to Snells Beach and driving on past Algies Bay to Scandrett Road. Scandretts sits on the edge of Kawau Bay and is a good place to picnic and is safe for swimming but best at high tide. Walks include tracks to Mullet Point and Martins Bay (which is good for swimming at all tides) or to a lookout with good views over Kawau Bay. It has regenerating coastal forest and historic farm buildings. For more information go to Scandrett page of the Auckland Council website
Mahurangi Regional Park
From Leigh – 41 km (42 minutes)
This park is divided into three areas;
- Mahurangi West is accessible via Mahurangi West Rd, 11 kilometres south of Warkworth. This is the largest part of the park with beaches that have good swimming, kayaking and shore fishing. There are a number of great walks.
- Scott Homestead – at the end of Mahurangi East Road you can turn off to Scotts Landing which was once the site of a shipbuilding yard established by the Scott Family.
- Mahurangi East which is only accessible by boat.
For more information go to Mahurangi page of the Auckland Council website
Wenderholm Regional Park
From Leigh – 42 km (39 minutes)
Wenderholm sits between the Puhoi and Waiwera Rivers and was the first Auckland Regional Park. Above the beach the hill is covered with native bush with walking tracks plus there are many other walking tracks.. During September/October the kowhai trees have beautiful yellow flowers which are fed on by tui. There are BBQs, mature trees, grassed picnic areas and a boat ramp. The historic Couldrey Homestead and gardens are worth a look too. For more information go to Wenderholm page of the Auckland Council website.
Te Arai Regional Park
From Leigh – 56 km (58 minutes)
The regional park land occupies the most prominent headland on this part of the eastern coast offering panoramic views to Pākiri Beach in the south and Mangawhai Heads sand spit to the north, and the rural hinterland and the Tomarata Lakes to the west. There are several walking tracks.
The carpark is next to the beautiful, long, Te Arai Beach where you can usually spot surfers. A small quarry has a track each side giving good views of the coastline. A good place to feel totally secluded. For more information go to Te Arai page of the Auckland Council website.
Pakiri Regional Park
From Leigh – 13 km (20 minutes)
A stunning piece of coastal land at Pakiri was purchased in late 2005. The 52 hectare piece of land includes 900 metres of sandy coastal foreshore and stands of inspiring mature coastal pohutukawa trees. This Regional Park is still being developed. Until it is complete, you can still enjoy the beautiful Pakiri Beach which is accessible from the end of the Pakiri River Road next to the Pakiri Beach Holiday Park. For more information go to Pakiri page of the Auckland Council website.