20 Auckland Parks You Can’t Miss
Auckland regional Parks to add to your day trip bucket list!
Get outside and start discovering some of Auckland’s best outdoor spaces! Scattered among the whole Auckland region are 25 Auckland regional parks covering more than 38,000 hectares of bush, mountains, beach and pastoral lands. If you’re looking for some epic hikes, expansive views, breathtaking beaches or awesome places to camp, you need to hit the Auckland parks. We’ll list the top 20 parks in Auckland right here!
Across all the regional parks in Auckland, there are around 40 campsites, 100km of coastline, 500km of walking tracks, and 1,120 historic places to discover including Maori pa sites and early European buildings. Not to mention the abundance of wildlife you could see with around 250 different types of animal species and around 8,000 different plant species.
1. Hunua Ranges
One of the largest regional parks in Auckland, the Hunua Ranges Regional Park is only an hour’s drive south of Auckland. Explore bush clad ranges with waterfalls, streams and beautiful views. There are multiple views to explore this wild area of Auckland, from the 15-minute Hunua Falls Lookout Track to the 4-hour Ernies Track. Find out more about the Hunua Ranges walks in Auckland Suburbs – Guide for Backpackers.
Location: South Auckland. There are multiple access points to the Hunua Ranges, such as the Hunua Falls – Falls Road, Wairoa – 1km down Moumoukai Road, and Mangatawhiri – at the end of Moumoukai Road.
2. Shakespear Park
In North Auckland, Shakespear Regional Park has a mix of sheltered bays, pasture land, pockets of native bush and views looking out to the Hauraki Gulf. There are multiple walks to try, as well as camping facilities. Visiting the park is one of the 10 Outstanding Things to Do in Orewa.
Location: North Auckland. From State Highway 1, take the Silverdale exit to Whangaparaoa Road and follow the road to the end.
3. Long Bay
A favourite camping spot with the locals, you can’t miss this stunning coastal regional park in Auckland! Long Bay is 1km long beach with great swimming, walks and more! Plus, the water off the shores is a marine reserve, making for some excellent marine wildlife spotting if you’re snorkelling or out on a boat. Check out 5 Auckland Road Trips You Can’t Miss for a list of things to do at Long Bay.
Location: Auckland North Shore. From State Highway 1, turn off Oteha Valley Road and follow to the traffic lights. From there, turn into Carlisle Road and follow the “AA” signs to Long Bay.
4. Waitakere Ranges
Another large regional park in Auckland covering 17,000 hectares of unspoilt wilderness, the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park covers sensational native forest and rugged coast. The black sand beaches are popular destinations, such as Karekare, Piha and Te Henga/Bethells Beach. There’s so much to do in the area, that we had to write an entire guide for the Waitakere Ranges. Check it out at Waitakere Ranges – Guide for Backpackers.
Location: Waitakere, West Auckland. There are multiple access points to the Waitakere Ranges, with the most popular accesses being via Huia Road, Scenic Drive, Piha Road and Bethells Road.
5. Muriwai Beach
Just north of the Waitakere Ranges is the magnificent Muriwai Regional Park with its windswept coastland and black sand beach. A must-do is to see the gannet colony atop the cliffs of Muriwai Beach, best seen between August and March. Surfing, walks, golf and much more can be enjoyed at this Auckland park, so take a look at 6 Magical Things to Do in Muriwai for more inspiration.
Location: West Auckland. Take State Highway 16 to Waimauku. At Waimauku, follow Muriwai Road all the way to the end.
6. Auckland Botanic Gardens
For a change of scenery, head to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Walk among 8,000 different species of plants and in a multitude of garden settings. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax, go for a stroll and unwind.
Location: South Auckland. From State Highway 1 take the Manurewa exit then turn left onto Hill Road.
7. Whakanewha Regional Park
The only Auckland regional park on Waiheke Island, Whakanewha Regional Park is a stunning place to visit with its long sweeping half-moon beach, bush clad valleys and forested headland. Look out for wildlife in the forest and on the shores, or stay at the Poukaraka Flats Campground. Check out more things to do on Waiheke Island here.
Location: Waiheke Island. Take a Waiheke Island ferry from the Downtown Ferry Building. From Matiatia Bay, either take the Rocky Bay bus to Gordons Road or drive/cycle there.
8. Ambury Regional Park
The Ambury Regional Park is a great place to take kids or to go if you love animals! Ambury Park is a working farm with plenty of farm animals to see. The shore is also a significant habitat for birds. Other than that, take the Lost Gardens Walk to see the remnants of a Maori settlement and stones used in their gardens.
Location: South Auckland near the Auckland Airport. Take the airport motorway and follow signs for the Ambury Regional Park from Mangere Bridge and Coronation Road.
9. Wenderholm Regional Park
Wenderholm was the first of Auckland’s regional parks. The park at the mouth of the Puhoi River has a great beach for swimming, picnic areas and campsite. Look out for birds and check out the museum at Couldrey House.
Location: North Auckland. Just north of Waiwera off State Highway 1.
10. Mahurangi Regional Park
Beautiful beaches and the highlight of this regional park that protects three peninsulas at the mouth of the Mahurangi Harbour. The Mahurangi Park is split into two sections: Mahurangi West and Mahurangi East. Mahurangi East and its attractions are only accessible by boat, whereas Mahurangi East has beaches, walks and campgrounds accessible by road.
Location: North Auckland. From State Highway 1 turn onto Mahurangi West Road, about 6km north of the Wenderholm Regional Park.
11. Scandrett Regional Park
Another regional park in the Mahurangi area is the Scandrett Regional Park. Walk among regenerating native forest and past rocky headlands in this park with a wealth of walks. Swim at attractive beaches and even see some historic farm buildings. Check out more things to do in the Warkworth area here.
Location: North Auckland (near Warkworth). From State Highway 1, follow the signs to Snells Beach and Algies Bay. Continue 3km past Algies Bay and turn onto Scandrett Road.
12. Tawharanui Regional Park
The northernmost Auckland regional park, Tawharanui is blessed with some of the most stunning sandy beaches in the Auckland region. It’s a picture-perfect spot with its rolling farmland and regenerating wetlands. What’s more, Tawharanui is predator-free, so you’re bound to see an abundance of birds!
Location: North Auckland. From State Highway 1 in Warkworth, follow the sings to Matakana. After Matakana, turn off toward Omaha and follow Takatu Road to the park.
13. Waharau Regional Park
Get off the beaten track and explore the Waharau Regional Park! Situated between the Firth of Thames and the Hunua Ranges, Waharau Park is a popular hiking spot, as well as camping getaways.
Location: South Auckland. From State Highway 2, turn off onto Mangatangi Road, then take Kaiaua Road to Kaiaua. From Kaiaua, take the East Coast Road to the park entrance.
14. Whakatiwai Regional Park
An alternative to the regional park mentioned above, Whakatiwai Park is just south of Waharau Regional Park. It’s famous for its gravel ridges which are unique to the Auckland region. The shores are perfect for bird-watching, especially migratory birds such as godwits, knots and turnstones.
Location: South Auckland. From State Highway 2, turn off onto Mangatangi Road, then take Kaiaua Road to Kaiaua. The regional park is about 3km north of Kaiaua.
15. Tapapakanga Regional Park
The final regional park near the Hunua Ranges is the Tapapakanga Regional Park. This is the best regional park in the Hunua Ranges area for swimming beaches and historical sites. On top of that, Tapapakanga is a farm park so farm animals are a big feature of the park.
Location: South Auckland. From Orere Point, turn onto the East Coast Road then down Deery Road to the park.
16. Tawhitokino Regional Park
This remote regional park is well worth getting off the beaten track for. There is no road access to the park, only a 40-minute walk from the nearest car park. Relax on pohutukawa-fringed beaches, walk through native bush and farmland with unobstructed views. Camp the night for a truly special place to wake up in the morning.
Location: South Auckland. From Clevedon, drive to Kawakawa Bay then go all the way to the end of Kawakawa Bay Coast Road.
17. Awhitu Regional Park
This small regional park on the shores of the Manukau Harbour is packed with activities from walks to mountain bike trails to great places to kayak if you have your own equipment. Check out the historic Brook Homestead or stay the night in the campsite.
Location: South Auckland. From Waiku, drive up the Awhitu Peninsula and through Matakawau. Turn right down Brook Road all the way to the Awhitu Park.
18. Duder Regional Park
Sticking out into the Hauraki Gulf, the Duder Regional Park will make you feel like you’re on your own island with ocean views from every angle. The walking track network gives you views of Rangitoto, Waiheke, Browns and Motuihe Islands.
Location: South Auckland. From Whitford, take the Whiteford-Maratai Road through Maraetai and onto the Maraetai Coast Road to Umupuia. Duder Regional Park is just south of Umupuia on North Road.
19. Omana Regional Park
Another regional park with amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf is the Omana Regional Park. This is a popular park for families with its wide open spaces, safe swimming beach, walks, barbecues, campsite and more to keep everyone entertained!
Location: South Auckland. From Whitford, take the Whiteford-Maratai Road. Before reaching Maraetai, Omana is on the left.
20. Hamlins Hill (Mutukaroa Regional Park)
Mutukaroa Park, more commonly known as Hamlins Hill, is a wide open green oasis and regional park closest to Auckland’s urban centre. The park offers walks over pastures with expansive views.
Location: South Auckland. From State Highway 1, take the South Eastern Highway exit and onto Great South Road. The park is just before Sylvia Park Road.
If you liked this article, then you might like…
Most Popular Videos
Where to go stargazing in nEw Zealand. Have you ever seen the [...]
Where to stay in Methven on a budget? Methven is a mecca [...]