The Tāwharanui Peninsula juts into the Pacific Ocean, just north of Kawau Island. On the northern tip, which comprises the regional park, predators such as stoats and rats are kept at bay by a Jurassic Park-like fence. Take a night tour of the park with a red torchlight to spot nocturnal wildlife, including ruru, wētā and even wild kiwi.
Chuck on your togs and head to any of the four sandy beaches around the peninsula. If the swell looks good, come ready to boogie board or surf. At Anchor Bay, you’ll find secret swimming holes in the rocks and a temporary blowhole created by the tide. Bring your snorkel gear to explore the ecosystem below the tide.
This slice of paradise has been enjoyed for more than 800 years, with evidence of five pā (fortified settlements) and sacred places around the peninsula. Oral stories passed down through generations confirm Tāwharanui was a their home for many centuries. At the time of first European contact, the peninsula was occupied by both Ngāti Raupō and Ngāti Manuhiri tribes.
In the late 19th century, the region was developed as a farm, which was bought more than a century later by the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA). In 2006, Tāwharanui Regional Park became New Zealand’s first “open sanctuary”, a special place where recreation, conservation and farming intersect.
Explore Tāwharanui Regional Park by walking track, which vary from one to four hours in length. Trek along the beach, through bush and past farmland to Tokatū Point Lookout – it's an epic spot for spotting nearby islands.
Keen to kick back for a few days? Get some shut-eye in the quiet, starry surrounds at either Tāwharanui Bach or the local campground – or get your glamp on near Matakana.
Location Te wāhi
Tāwharanui PeninsulaPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Tāwharanui Regional Park is an 80-minute drive from the city, and 15-20 minutes from Matakana.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
There are no shops or cafés on Tāwharanui Peninsula, so call by Warkworth or Matakana for beach-day provisions ahead of time.