In addition to Auckland’s central business district and cityscape, Auckland City is also known for its epic regional parks. From waterfalls to native forest to clifftop trails, they make the ultimate day trip, pit stop or weekend getaway destination. With over 20 regional parks in the greater Auckland area, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit!
But don’t worry! We’ve got you sorted with the top 5 must-visit Regional Parks in the Greater Auckland Area.
Shakespear Regional Park
Location: Whangaparāoa (45 minutes away from the CBD)
Located at the tip of the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, Shakespear Regional Park offers a wide-open space of lush greenery to enjoy. As you enter the park, you’ll spot an Auckland Council Golden Picture Frame overlooking the Hauraki Gulf making for a stunning photograph!
From here, the choice is yours. Either continue driving down to Te Haruhi Bay for a beachside picnic or swim, or get your shoes ready for a coastal walk.
For those keen to explore, the Heritage Trail and Tiritiri Track, provide spectacular views of the city skyline and the Hauraki Gulf. Also be prepared to say hello to a sheep or two, with sections of the walk climbing over farmland.
Once you head back down to the bay, there are several barbecues dotted around for public use, perfect for a sun-filled lunch! If you’re eager to stay for dinner too, and driving a self contained campervan, you can book a night at the Shakespeare SCC (Self-Containment Certificate) Campground, just minutes away from the water!
Tāwharanui Regional Park
Location: Tāwharanui Peninsula (1 hour 40 minutes from the CBD)
Around 2 hours above Shakespear Regional Park, is the Tāwharanui Peninsula, and trust us, it’s well worth the drive! Passing through the lovely Matakana on your way in, you’ll be feeling the chill vibes before you’ve even set foot in the park. After winding around the peninsula, the road ends near vibrant Anchor Bay, known for its glistening white sand, rock pools, and viewpoints.
You can wander up the hills and explore the Open Sanctuary or pop on some snorkels and dive into the Marine Reserve. With conservation at the heart of the park, ensure that you follow the no-taking and no-fishing rule.
For those wanting to extend their stay, the Tāwharanui campsite is calling your name! Positioned minutes away from the beach, it’ll be ideal for a quick morning dash to catch the sun come up. Don’t forget to book ahead of time.
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park
Waiatarua (1 hour 10 minutes from the CBD)
Made up of over 160 square kilometres of coastline and native forest, the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is an adventure-seekers dream. Although many tracks are closed to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback, there’s still plenty of exploring available to do (just make sure to check the track status on the Auckland Council website).
To capture another golden frame moment, make sure to stop off at the Arataki Visitor Centre as you enter the park. The Centre also marks the start of various walking and biking trails such as the Beveridge and Slip track. Both of which provide great views of the Lower Nihotupu Dam and Manukau Harbour.
As you drive further into the park, other popular spots include Karekare Falls, Mercer Bay Loop, Te Henga Walkway, and, of course, the iconic Lion Rock. While there is certainly no shortage of views, supermarkets/cafes are limited, so make sure that you’re fuelled and prepared with snacks. That said, there are still a handful of foodie opportunities spread throughout the park, such as the Piha Café and the Huia Store – ideal for a pre/post walk pick-me-up.
Duder Regional Park
Location: Clevedon (45 minutes from the CBD)
From cycling to walking to orienteering, Duder Regional Park is a recipe for a good time. Perched on the Whakakaiwhara Peninsula, the park’s views of Wairoa Bay and Hauraki Gulf will certainly not disappoint.
If you’re short on time, the Farm Loop is a magnificent 45-minute stroll. But, ideally, plan for at least an hour stop, giving you enough time to venture to the tip of the peninsula via the Whakakaiwhara Pa track. With water on either side, it’s almost a ‘pinch-me’ moment as you look out at the path ahead.
And for those who are up for a navigation challenge, there are 40 orienteering markers spread throughout the park. Simply, grab a map from the notice board or download one online.
Hunua Ranges Regional Park
Location: Hunua (1 hour 40 minutes from the CBD)
As the largest area of native forest in Auckland, Hunua Ranges Regional Park presents a serene nature escape. Within the park, the 20-minute Hunua Falls Lookout often steals the show. Falling 30 metres down from Wairoa River, it’s undoubtedly a picture-perfect shot. To capture this natural attraction from above, the upper Lookout Walk will take you 30 minutes up to the top.
For a longer adventure, the 3-hour Cossey-Massey or 1.5-hour Suspension Bridge Walk will get the heart pumping and jaw-dropping. The Hunua Ranges area is also great for bikes! Offering a mixture of farmland and valley tracks, you can whizz around enjoying that fresh O2.
Remember to Respect the Parks
- To ensure that Auckland’s Regional Parks remain in tip-top shape, it’s important that we all do our part to respect the area.
- To protect the kauri trees from kauri dieback, remember to clean your equipment and footwear. There should be cleaning stations available at the beginning and end of most trails.
- All parks are rubbish free. So, please take all your recycling and rubbish with you when you leave.
- For your safety, no outdoor fires are permitted in any public space in the wider Auckland area.
- To protect the wildlife, there are no pets allowed in the Regional Park (unless they’re a registered aid dog).
- And, lastly, there is no smoking within the parks.
For more information, visit the Auckland Council website.
Ready to Explore?
Get ready to tick off these spectacular Regional Parks, with an Escape Camper! Contact us online or call Escape Rentals on 0800 21 61 71 to get planning your Auckland adventures!