Atiu Creek Regional Park

In which Miles visits one of Auckland’s northern-most Regional Parks.

To view the full gallery of 13 pictures in imgur, click here.

No other Regional Park that I have visited offers views from the carpark as stunning as Atiu Creek Regional Park.

To the north, the visitor looks across the northern border of Auckland into southern Northland, over Hargreaves Basin and Kaipara Harbor.

View over Hargreaves Basin
View over Hargreaves Basin

To the south, the visitor enjoys a view over Kaipara Harbor.

View over the Kaipara Harbor
View over Kaipara Harbor

This rooster was there as soon as I got out of the car. I had lunch at a lone picnic table, taking in salad and peanuts and the 360° view.  Big Chicken stayed close, made warbling begging noises, and accepted one bit of carrot, but left the next. He didn’t approach visitors who arrived after while I ate. When I returned at the end of my walk, he greeted me again. I offered him peanuts, and it seemed he would eat as many of those as I would offer. I had to lure him away from the car so that I could see him as I backed out.

Rooster greeter
Rooster greeter

I walked Oruawharo River Trail, which loops most of the park.

View over Kaipara Harbor and Hargreaves Basin from Oruawharo River Trail
View over Kaipara Harbor and Hargreaves Basin from Oruawharo River Trail

I found several locked gates along Oruawharo River Trail, sending a very mixed message. The info boards near the carpark mentioned no trail closures. There were no styles, so climbing over was the only way forward.  Usually gates can be opened and closed using the kind of hook seen dangling below, and the rule is to leave the gate as you find it.  Styles are also very common.  It is quite unusual to need to climb so many gates.

Locked gate on Oruawharo River Trail
Locked gate on Oruawharo River Trail

Rua was a favorite sheep dog.  I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the importance of dogs to New Zealand sheep farmers, and probably sheep farmers world-wide.  Rue is buried in a paddock named after him.

Rua's grave
Rua’s grave

An interesting Pou whenua overlooks Hargreave Basin.

View of pa and Hargreaves Basin from Oruawharo River Trail
View of pou and Hargreaves Basin from Oruawharo River Trail
Pou at Hargreaves Basin
Pou at Hargreaves Basin
Pou at Hargreaves Basin
Pou at Hargreaves Basin

After descending to Hargreaves Basin, it was time to begin the big climb back up to the carpark.  The trail takes its time though, and along the way it proved that there is greater diversity to the Atiu Creek Regional Park landscape than it had revealed so far.

Solomons Bay is a small bay filled with mangroves.

Solomons Bay
Solomons Bay

This forest area offered a change of scenery and a nice break from the sun.

A different landscape at Atiu Creek Regional Park
A different landscape at Atiu Creek Regional Park

The drive to the Courtyard house, still a  private residence, lined with trees of a very different variety.

Drive to the Courtyard House, still a private residence
Drive to the Courtyard House, still a private residence

It was nice to see the Big Chicken again on arriving back at the carpark.  He gave more of a friendly vibe than any of the many birds I’ve encountered at Auckland’s Regional Parks, but maybe it was because he is the only one I’ve fed.

Atiu Creek Regional Park was a very nice experience, and I’ll certainly go there again one day.

To view the full gallery of 13 pictures in imgur, click here.