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Top 18 Auckland Regional Parks to Visit

Top 18 Auckland Regional Parks to Visit

You can explore the natural beauty of Auckland with a visit to its diverse range of regional parks. From stunning coastal vistas to lush native forests, Auckland regional parks offer something for every nature lover.

In these spots, you’ll discover tranquil walking trails, picturesque picnic spots, and opportunities for wildlife spotting. So, join us on a journey through the must-visit regional parks that showcase the stunning scenery of this vibrant region.

1. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

Location: 300 Scenic Drive, Nihotupu, Auckland 0604


Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee: Starts from $105

The Waitakere Ranges is one of Auckland’s largest regional parks, spanning over 16,000 hectares of untamed bush, serene coastline, and natural wonders. Its sheer size underscores the diversity of its landscapes, offering a vast canvas for exploration.

Within its blend of sensational native forests and rugged coastal beauty, it beckons visitors with its distinctive charm and popularity as scenic destinations. Here lie the iconic black sand beaches – Karekare, Piha, and Te Henga/Bethells Beach.

If you’re embarking on the North Island tour from Auckland, it leads you to the Arataki Visitor Center, a gateway to the heart of Waitakere. This is where ancient Maori carvings provide captivating photo opportunities amidst the rainforest backdrop.

The tour further immerses enthusiasts in the natural wonders. You’ll probably experience a leisurely stroll along the black sand beach and guided insights into the rainforest’s towering trees, diverse birdlife, and the captivating flora and fauna.

Pro tip:

You can admire the towering Kauri trees but be mindful of the Kauri dieback disease. As much as possible, stick to designated paths, clean your footwear before and after your visit, and help protect these giants for future generations.

2. Tiritiri Matangi Island

Location: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Army Bay, Whangaparaoa

Entry Fee: Starts from $60

Timing: Ferry departs at 9 AM

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a protected sanctuary, dedicated to preserving New Zealand’s endangered and rare bird species. The 75-minute ferry ride across Hauraki Gulf from pier 4 leads to this preserve, offering a round trip with a five-hour exploration window.

A leisurely stroll on the island provides not only scenic trails and coastal views but also an optional hike that takes just over an hour to complete. Here, visitors can gain insight into 12 endangered bird species and three species of reptiles.

The in-depth island tours contribute to a rich understanding of wildlife, from the calls of various bird species to immersive nature watching experiences. The return ferry to Auckland wraps up your day, leaving you with memories of this avian paradise.

Pro tip:

Bring binoculars, even if you’re not an avid birdwatcher. The island is a haven for bird enthusiasts, and having binoculars enhances your ability to spot and appreciate the diverse avian residents.

3. Shakespear Regional Park

– Media: Kristina Arthur

Location: 1501 Whangaparaoa Road, Army Bay, Auckland 0930


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Entry Fee: Under $10

Shakespear Regional Park’s diverse landscape features sheltered bays, pastoral land, native bush pockets, and captivating views of the Hauraki Gulf. It has lengthy walking tracks and camping facilities for those seeking a closer connection with nature.

Ideal for a laid-back day out, the park is perfect for barbecues or picnics, with a pet-friendly beach that covers a significant portion. The beach area provides ample shade, wide views, and crystal-clear waters, making it a tranquil retreat.

Additionally, the park boasts a Historical Woolshed and a forest trail, adding layers to the visitor experience. With vehicle access from 6 am to 7 pm (winter) or 9 pm (summer), the park accommodates various activities, from walking to snorkeling.

Renowned as a venue for large group events, the park accommodates gatherings of up to 500 people. The YMCA Lodge within the park, featuring 84 beds, caters to school groups and offers a memorable overnight experience for Auckland’s young adventurers.

Pro tip:

If you’re into snorkeling, check the tide times. The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, especially during high tide, creating an ideal underwater exploration opportunity.

4. Tawharanui Regional Park

– Media: Karen Balidio

Location: 1181 Takatu Road, Tāwharanui Peninsula 0986


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Entry Fee: Starts at $50

Tawharanui Regional Park is the northernmost gem in Auckland’s list of regional parks. It beckons with its stunning sandy beaches framed by rolling farmland and regenerating wetlands.

What sets this park apart is its predator-free status, creating a haven for an abundance of birds. Conveniently close to Warkworth and Matakana, it’s just over an hour’s drive from Auckland, making it an accessible escape.

Here, you can embark on a variety of trails that reveal the park’s natural wonders, from coastal views to pastoral landscapes and vibrant beach scenes. The easy 4km walk through the diverse ecology showcases the richness of Tawharanui in a short distance.

For an extended stay, you may consider booking a campsite and pitching a tent amid the tranquility of the park. As you leave, make a pit stop in Matakana, a charming town known for its Farmers Market on Saturdays – a local delight.

Pro tip:

For a chance to spot kiwi after sunset, take the Ecology Trail with a red torch. Red light is less disruptive to kiwi, offering a unique opportunity to witness these nocturnal birds.

5. Butterfly Creek

Address: 10 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport, Auckland 2022


Contact Details: +64 9 275 8880, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Wednesday-Friday: 9:30 AM–4 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Children
    • Under 3 – Free
    • 3rd+ child – $14
    • 3-15 years old – $16
  • Adults
    • Seniors & Students – $25
    • Adult (16+ years old) – $32

Butterfly Creek offers a unique blend of insects, critters, and animals, making it a distinctive destination for nature enthusiasts. Home to Australian crocodiles, alligators, a Tropical Aquaria, and a petting zoo, the park has a diverse range of attractions.

Notably, the addition of Dinosaur Kingdom in 2014 further enhances the park’s allure. This provides an immersive experience for those fascinated by prehistoric creatures.

Pro tip:

If you plan to visit frequently, consider a membership. It often pays for itself after a few visits and may include additional perks like discounts on food and souvenirs.

6. Cornwall Park

Address: Green Lane West, Epsom, Auckland 1051


Contact Details: +64 9 630 8485, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7 AM–8 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Cornwall Park is a family-friendly destination offering a leisurely day out. You can begin your visit at the Cornwall cafe, where a coffee kick starts your exploration around the base of volcanic cones, with the option to ascend to the top for panoramic views.

The pastoral scenes of grazing sheep, cows, and other livestock add a rustic charm to the park’s landscape, creating a tranquil atmosphere. For families, the park features a sizable playground, adding to the recreational options.

To enhance the outing, BBQ facilities are available, providing an opportunity for a relaxed meal in the midst of nature. Cornwall Park is a versatile and inviting space, welcoming visitors to embrace its scenic beauty and diverse offerings.

Pro tip:

You can engage with the sheep in a friendly manner. They’re accustomed to visitors, and a patient and gentle approach might just earn you a memorable sheep selfie.

7. Duder Regional Park

Location: 933R North Road, Clevedon 2582

– Media: E M S


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7 AM–6 PM

Jutting into the Hauraki Gulf, Duder Regional Park offers an island-like experience with sweeping ocean views from every vantage point. Its extensive walking track network provides glimpses of Rangitoto, Waiheke, Browns, and Motuihe Islands.

For a serene escape, you can venture to Whakakaiwhara Point along the farm loop track. Here, you can relish a leisurely picnic against a backdrop of unparalleled views.

The park’s true charm lies in its panoramic vistas. This makes every direction a scenic delight for those seeking a tranquil and visually stunning getaway.

Pro tip:

If you’re into geocaching, there are hidden treasures in the park. You can check the geocaching app beforehand and embark on a treasure hunt during your visit.

8. Ambury Regional Park

– Media: 𝒩𝒶𝓉𝒶𝓁𝒾𝑒 𝒲𝑜𝑜

Location: 43 Ambury Road, Māngere Bridge, Auckland 2022


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Ambury Regional Park, situated near Mangere on the edge of the Manukau Harbour, is a haven for both nature enthusiasts and families seeking a farm experience. Serving as a working farm, it offers a delightful encounter with an array of farm animals.

The park’s shore serves as a significant habitat for diverse bird species, attracting birdwatchers eager to observe the vibrant avian life. For those intrigued by history, the Lost Gardens Walk unveils remnants of a Maori settlement and ancient stones.

With the sight of baby farm animals, it’s a charming spot for children and family outings. Beyond the farm encounters, the park caters to outdoor enthusiasts with walking and bike tracks, providing opportunities for both leisurely strolls and easy bike rides.

With camping grounds available, Ambury Regional Park also transforms into a convenient holiday escape. It offers a tranquil retreat right in the heart of South Auckland.

Pro tip:

If visiting with children, plan for the morning when the farm activities are in full swing. It’s the best time for kids to interact with the baby farm animals and learn about farm life.

9. Long Bay Regional Park

– Media: Terri Pilares-Magno

Location: Beach Road, Long Bay, Auckland 0792


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Nestled on the North Shore, Long Bay Regional Park is a coastal haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of activities to suit varied interests. Its stunning coastal landscape features expansive white sand beaches, clear waters, and rolling hills.

Beyond the picturesque scenery, the park caters to diverse activities, including walking trails, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, windsurfing, and boating. For families, there are playgrounds, as well as picnic and BBQ spots.

Those seeking a convenient dining experience can head to Long Bay Village, conveniently located a mere 5-minute drive away. The village presents an array of restaurants and bars, ensuring a hassle-free and diverse culinary experience.

Ensuring a comfortable visit, Long Bay Regional Park is well-maintained and equipped with facilities such as toilets, showers. Moreover, there are designated parking areas for campervans, vehicle units, and caravans.

Pro tip:

You can pack a portable shade for a beach picnic. While the coastal breeze is refreshing, having your shaded spot enhances the comfort of your seaside lunch.

10. Atiu Creek Regional Park

– Media: Romain

Location: 414 Run Road, Tapora 0977


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–7 PM

Atiu Creek Regional Park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and a working farm covering 843 hectares. Overlooking the vast expanse of the Kaipara Harbour, it boasts panoramic views, native bush, and well-defined walking areas for visitors to explore.

With limited vehicle access to the main carpark, it’s an ideal starting point for picnics, drives, and all main walks. The tracks, shared with mountain bikers and horses in designated areas, lead to notable spots like the historical woolshed and Heretoka Pa.

For the more energetic, there are circuit walks ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours return. There are additional side walks to coastal spots for those keen on a day of exploration.

Rich in biodiversity, the park is a haven for birdwatchers. It hosts species like Morepork, Kereru, fantails, tui, white-faced herons, kingfishers, and the rare brown teal (pateke).

Pro tip:

If you’re into horse trekking, obtain a horse riding pass from Auckland Council. It’s a must for horse enthusiasts to enjoy the park’s scenic trails.

11. Hunua Ranges Regional Park

– Media: Trip Ideas NZ

Location: 203 Falls Road, Hunua 2583


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Nestled just an hour’s drive south of Auckland, the expansive Hunua Ranges Regional Park is one of the largest in the region. Here, you’ll embrace the tranquility of the bush-clad ranges, featuring waterfalls, babbling streams, and panoramic views.

Diverse tracks cater to various preferences, from the brief yet rewarding 15-minute Hunua Falls Lookout Track to the 4-hour Ernies Track. The availability of a lodge, several campsites, and a cozy hut ensures a comfortable stay amidst nature’s embrace.

Moreover, the trails seamlessly connect with the adjacent Waharau Regional Park. This presents an opportunity for a comprehensive and adventurous exploration of the Auckland wilderness.

Pro tip:

Familiarize yourself with the park’s trail map to discover hidden gems and lesser-known tracks. Sometimes, the less-trodden paths lead to the most enchanting spots.

12. Omana Regional Park

– Media: Dale Montilde

Location: 2 Omana Beach Road, Maraetai 2571


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Situated along the shores of the Hauraki Gulf, Omana Regional Park serves as a haven for families looking to unwind. It has an expansive greenery, safe swimming beach, and an array of activities that cater to all ages.

The park boasts unobstructed views of the glistening waters, extending a visual invitation to the nearby Waiheke Island. There are also several walking tracks that wind through the park, with the longest loop covering 2.5 kilometers in under an hour.

The proximity of this park to the water’s edge enhances the camping experience. While it retains its suburban connection, the convenience of this picturesque location ensures a quick escape from the urban hustle without venturing too far.

Pro tip:

You can bring along some basic water sports gear as the calm waters at Omana are perfect for kayaking or paddleboarding. It’s a great way to explore the coastline from a different perspective.

13. Mutukaroa / Hamlins Hill Regional Park

– Media: YOLO SOLO

Location: 1014 Great South Road, Penrose, Auckland 1060


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Mutukaroa Park, colloquially known as Hamlins Hill, is a verdant haven remarkably close to Auckland’s bustling urban hub. A serene expanse, the park unfolds with pastures offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surroundings.

Mutukaroa holds profound cultural significance for mana whenua, embodying a rare testament to a pre-European Māori settlement. As you traverse the park, open pastures reveal remnants of ancient habitation through pits, terraces, and middens.

This inner-city gem attracts walkers to savor a unique experience, allowing them to relish 360-degree views of the city. As you wander through the bush, you’ll momentarily forget that the urban sprawl just 20 meters away on the main Eastern Arterial route.

Pro tip:

You can dive into the educational aspects of the park, perhaps by joining a guided tour or using informational boards. This way, you’ll learn more about its rich history and ecological significance.

14. Muriwai Regional Park

– Media: Vimal Patel

Location: Muriwai 0881, New Zealand


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Muriwai Regional Park is situated just 45 minutes west of Auckland city. It’s a windswept coastline stretching 60 km north, revealing the beauty of Muriwai’s renowned black sand surf beaches.

At the southern tip lies Otakamiro Point, home to one of the mainland’s few gannet (takapu) breeding colonies. Accessible from Maukatia Car Park, two platforms provide an excellent vantage point for observing these fascinating seabirds.

Beyond its coastal wonders, the park offers various trails winding through native bush. These will treat visitors to breathtaking views from lookouts overlooking both the beach and the seasonal gannet colony.

Ensuring a delightful day out, Muriwai Regional Park provides amenities such as picnic areas and the welcoming Sand Dunz Cafe. Additional offerings include barbeques, tennis courts, a playground, and a small skate park.

Pro tip:

If you’re a photography enthusiast, capture the raw beauty of the coastline, especially during golden hour. The combination of the black sands, dramatic cliffs, and crashing waves provides an ideal canvas.

15. Glenfern Sanctuary

Location: Glenfern Road, Great Barrier Island / Aotea 0963


Contact Details: +64 9 429 0091, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–6 PM

Glenfern Sanctuary is an 83-hectare regional park. It serves as the primary entry point to the expansive 240-hectare Kotuku Peninsula, meticulously safeguarded within a predator-proof fence.

This sanctuary provides a haven for various threatened and endangered species, flourishing within its lush habitat. It’s a vital refuge for indigenous bird species, including the elusive brown teal and the black petrel.

The Glenfern walk, a well-formed track navigating through the ancient Kauri trees and across charming swing bridges, presents an immersive experience in this natural haven. You can also opt for a guided walk for a deeper understanding of the ecosystem.

Pro tip:

You can plan your visit during the seasonal events or workshops organized by the sanctuary. These offer unique opportunities to engage with conservation efforts and learn more about local flora and fauna.

16. Mahurangi Regional Park

– Media: Gina Russell

Location: 192 Ngarewa Drive, Mahurangi West 0983


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Mahurangi Regional Park unfolds its charm along both shores of the Mahurangi Harbour. It presents visitors with the serene Mahurangi East and Mahurangi West.

Within this park, the main attractions are Scotts Landing and the historic homestead. However, the untouched beaches of Mahurangi West promise a tranquil escape where you may find yourself the sole explorers.

This regional park is divided into Mahurangi West, Mahurangi East – Scott Point, and Mahurangi East – Sadler Point. Meanwhile, it showcases sheltered bays, native bush, open pasture, and echoes of history.

This is also a cherished haven for boating enthusiasts throughout the year. Here, you can embark on a journey through Mahurangi West’s quiet beaches, where the rhythmic lull of the waves creates a perfect backdrop for a day of solitude.

Pro tip:

You can take the Mahurangi East – Scott Point trail for a historical journey. The remnants of the past unfold as you explore the old structures, providing a unique perspective on the region’s heritage.

17. Pākiri Regional Park

– Media: Leigh by the Sea

Location: eastern coast of the Auckland region, north of the city center


Pākiri Regional Park is a gem within the expansive landscape of Rodney in the Auckland Region. Operated by Auckland Council, this regional park offers a tranquil escape with a unique blend of natural wonders.

From its vantage point, Pākiri Regional Park provides sweeping views of Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island. You can venture down the hillside to explore the coastal pōhutukawa forest that graces the fringes of the picturesque Pākiri Beach.

Accessing the park requires a cautious drive along M Greenwood Road, a narrow and winding route with a 40km/h speed limit. As you approach, limited parking awaits on the grassed road verge, emphasizing the park’s secluded charm.

Pro tip:

Wear comfortable footwear, especially if you plan to explore the coastal areas. The terrain can vary, and you’ll want to enjoy every step.

18. Scandrett Regional Park

– Media: Bernard & Alisa New Zealand

Location: 114 Scandrett Road, Mahurangi East 0982


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Scandrett Regional Park unfolds its charm with a delightful beach, historic farm structures, rugged headlands, and scenic walking trails. Embracing Mullet Point and the rocky headlands extending into Kawau Bay, the park offers a picturesque escape.

Overlooking Kawau Bay, the small car park serves as the gateway to various walking trails. Adjacent to it stand historic farm buildings and a compact information hut, a treasure trove of maps and leaflets detailing the area’s wonders.

The timeless Scandrett homestead, dating back to 1855, and accompanying farm buildings echo an era when access to these lands was solely by sea. The Scandrett family’s legacy continued until 1998, when Auckland Council assumed custodianship.

For an immersive experience, you can embark on one of the park’s walking trails. It reveals the beauty of the landscape and the historical richness that Scandrett Regional Park graciously preserves.

Pro tip:

Auckland’s weather can change quickly. You can pack a light jacket, especially if you’re planning to spend an extended period exploring.