Mataitai and Waitawa Bays

Waitawa

In which Miles finds Waitawa to be a very well developed and maintained multi-use regional park.

I’ve had problems again with the gallery, you can view most of the images below, to view the full gallery of 35 pictures on imgur, click here.

I had another close look at the Auckland Regional Parks page on the web, and found a regional park on the southeast coast of Auckland that I had not yet visited.

Waitawa Bay
Mataitai Bay

A carpark is located right at Mataitai Bay, and you can start all of the walks from there.

Waitawa Bay
Mataitai Bay

There is a very nice bathroom building here also, with fountains for drinking, and even fountains specifically for filling water bottles.  I saw a good number of people come here to take in the view and just park and take a break.

Waitawa Bay
Mataitai Bay

I chose the longest walk, the Puweto Loop.  All of the paths climb away from the beach and diverge around the top of the nearest hill.  I spent a lot of time looking back at the changing views of the bays.

Wairoa and Waitawa Bays
Mataitai Bay and Waitawa Bay

Karamuramu Island has been mined almost away for red aggregate for driveways and pavers.

Karamuramu Island
Karamuramu Island

The picnic area shown below offers a good overview of the bays and Tamaki Strait, with info boards identifying the various islands and land masses and providing other info.

Mataitai and Waitawa Bays
Mataitai and Waitawa Bays

Not far from the view above the path descends into some bush.

Waitawa Bush
Waitawa Bush

After emerging from the bush the views tend to feature the other end of Waitawa Bay, and Kawakawa Bay beyond.  Some of this descent was steep and muddy, but I didn’t have much trouble staying on my feet.  Most of the pathways were very stable.

Waitawa Bay, and Kawakawa Bay
Waitawa Bay, and Kawakawa Bay

A campground is situated right next to a Waitawa Bay beach.  It serves as a stop on Te Ara Moana, ‘the sea-going pathway’, a self-guided five day sea kayak tour along approximately 51km of Auckland’s south eastern coastline connecting five of Auckland’s Regional Parks.

Waitawa Bay Campground
Waitawa Bay Campground
Beach near Waitawa Bay Campground
Beach near Waitawa Bay Campground

I then ascended to a hill covered with pastures.  I made a diversion to Pawhetua Pa, once a Maori fortified village.

Pawhetua Pa
Pawhetua Pa

Invaders would need to cross the low ground below to access the pa.

Strategic trench on Pawhetua Pa
Strategic trench on Pawhetua Pa

Like many I have seen, the sides of the peninsula are steep enough to defend, but still provide access to the coastline for access to seafood.  Crops were grown on the expansive hills of the peninsula.  The pa also offered residents great views.

Pawhetua Pa
Pawhetua Pa

There is at least one more pa in Waitawa Regional Park.

Returning across the pastures I got a bit lost, but I had photographed a map, and was able to find my way to an info board that allowed me to get back on track.

The pic below shows a section of the path that is banked and curved and graveled for interesting mountain bike riding.  Most of the trails also accommodate horse riders.

Waitawa mountain bike track
Waitawa mountain bike track

I saw a few of these fixtures and assumed that they were for feeding livestock, without much thought.  Signs with numbers finally made me realize that I was seeing the “holes” of a disc golf course.

"Hole" of a disc golf course
“Hole” of a disc golf course

The trail takes in more pastures and more bush and more great views before returning to the picnic area overlooking Wairoa, Mataitai, and Waitawa Bays for a descent back to the car park.

Waitawa-Auckland-DSC_2664

Waitawa-Auckland-DSC_2679
Black fern trees

Waitawa-Auckland-DSC_2672

Waitawa-Auckland-DSC_2688

You can view most of the images below, to view the full gallery of 35 pictures on imgur, click here.