From Snells Beach we didn’t move far. Tawharanui Regional Park is not far away – to the north east. We’d previously visited in the car, but wanted a longer stay. It is a lovely place; some say the jewel in the crown. The last few kilometers of the road in are interesting, but it looks like there has been some widening in the last couple of years. Wyn went ahead in the car and could give me warning of approaching vehicles via walkie-talkie. Which works well – no surprises. We had the choice of the entire camping area; one of the joys of being well out of season. Once we’d got ourselves set up, we headed for the beach – about 100m away through the dunes. We met one of our shy neighbours – a New Zealand dotterel. These birds are endangered, on account of there only being about 1700 left. There are a few living safely at Tawharanui – protected by a predator-free fence. And we watched the sun setting.
Next morning I was up early to check on the sun rising again and then have a walk along the beach with Wyn.
Later we went for a drive to Leigh and the Goat Island Marine Reserve. This marine reserve was the first in the country and it provides wonderful opportunities for fish watching, especially by snorkeling. We’d been there before and seen numerous fish from the rocks. But this time there were none to be seen. Maybe they’d gone out for the day?
A tree loaded with nesting shags provided some interesting viewing. The “chicks” looked as big as the poor parents trying to feed them.
On the way back to Tawharanui we made a detour to Omaha Beach. It was interesting to have a look around. It has a lovely long beach and lots of houses – the northern end looks longer established, and the southern end looks new. Road access is via a causeway over the Whangateau Harbour.
The sun had set by the time we got back to Tawharanui, and we were in a hurry to get our washing in before it got damp. There was just time for a quick snap as we passed the lagoon-that-isn’t-really-a-lagoon on the way in (it was actually created by the mining of gravel some years ago.
Gallery of photos – Tawharanui Regional Park – Auckland – August 2013
Click on thumbnails to see full size. (And then you can click through them)