Auckland has a large number of Regional Parks set aside for the public to enjoy. There are more than 25 of these gems. Most are beyond the urban fringe. Many are farm parks. Many are prime beach locations. They have been reserved by foresight, good luck and generous gifts. They used to be managed by the Auckland Regional Council but they’ve now come under the wing of the enlarged Auckland City. We think they are Auckland’s jewels in the crown. After hanging out at one of them – Ambury Farm Park – in the middle of the city, and with time to spare, we decided to head to the north side of Auckland and explore some of the northern parks.
First stop was the Shakespear Regional Park, on the tip of the Whangaparoa Peninsula. By the way, that is not a spelling mistake. The park is not named after the world’s best writer William Shakespeare but is named after the family who originally farmed there, the Shakespears who spelled their name differently. We’d spent an afternoon there a few years ago but were keen to stay longer. So we zoomed up the motorway and off at Silverdale and right along the Whangaparoa Peninsula to the far end where it sticks well out into the Hauraki Gulf.
The Defense Department has the northern side of the tip, and the Shakespear Park the middle and southern side. Most of the park is inside a predator-free fence which cuts across a narrow part of the peninsula. It’s now an open wildlife sanctuary, in its early stages. It’s a privilege to be allowed to camp within a sanctuary and the birds seem very happy with the arrangements as well. There are sheep and cattle grazing the place, and lambing was in full swing. There is a camping area at Te Haruhi Bay set aside which provided firm footing for the motorhome even in July. The camping area is off-limits to day visitors cars, and the whole parked is locked off at night. So it’s sort of like hiding in the zoo and having the place to yourselves when everyone else goes home.
There are several walks for up to 2 hours around the park so we had no excuses for not getting some exercise. I was up early the first few mornings to try to catch the sun rising. And the second day was sunny and warm enough, so Wyn fired up the washing machine. And later in the afternoon got me out of my chair long enough for a walk up the hills.
Our third day was more overcast. Which made for a lovely sunrise. Later in the day we explored the walks over nearer the Defense Department land. There is still signs of the tank traps created during the Second World War to stop tanks attacking the gun positions on the end of the peninsula. No tanks ever did attack the guns so the traps must have worked 🙂 The track we followed lead through a magical area of big old trees before emerging into the open paddocks above.
Gallery of photos – Shakespear Regional Park Auckland July 2013
Click on thumbnails to see full size. (And then you can click through them)