Whakatiwai, Firth of Thames, and Coromandel Peninsula

Whakatiwai

Whakatiwai is a regional park in Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, on the southeastern coast of the Auckland Region.

You can view the full gallery of 20 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

There’s a sign for Whakatiwai next to a small carpark, right next to East Coast Road, that looks like it was allocated from the front yard of a local farmhouse.  It’s right across the road from the coast, so I had to go and have a closer look.

Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames

You can’t do enough research before heading out in New Zealand.  The Auckland Council website sometimes has no track information for a given park, so you have to look elsewhere for info on walking in that park.  The site lists two tracks for Whakatiwai though – Whakatiwai Ridge Track and Whakatiwai Track.  But the sign near the Whakatiwai carpark showed two entirely different tracks.

Not the tracks I was looking for
Not the tracks I was looking for

I tried to search online for more information, but the cell signal came and went, and I could get no further information.  I decided to just walk the track to Whaharau, a nearby regional park, see what it had to offer, as far as I could in the time available.

At first I was walking through what appear to still be used as pastures, complete with deep wet hoof prints and very muddy.  They the track transitions to a muddy road that gradually contains more gravel and becomes more firm and dry.  After passing a couple of farmhouses there are some attractive hillside pastures.  Somewhere near this point I was getting a proper 3G signal, and was able to drop a pin in Google Maps in case I needed it to find my way back.

Muddy road and pastures
Muddy road and pastures

The most attractive views of the walk look over the pasture lands of Whakatiwai and over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula.

Whakatiwai, Firth of Thames, and Coromandel Peninsula
Whakatiwai, Firth of Thames, and Coromandel Peninsula

After traversing several pastures the road enters a fairly dense bush, and begins to climb steeply.

Whakatiwai bush
Whakatiwai bush

The dense bush doesn’t offer many views.  There are no viewing platforms or even benches along this track.

A view through the trees
A view through the trees

The road continues to climb until it reaches a fork, with Waharau to the right and Mangatangi straight ahead.  I continued a bit further because it appeared that the road might reach a peak, but that wasn’t the case.  At a turn-around I tried walking along a path into the bush, in hopes that the bush might open up for a more expansive view.  There were blue ribbons tied to trees giving me confidence about not getting lost, but the path became really not a path, and after walking too far without seeing the next blue ribbon, I turned back.

Other than a few narrow openings in the trees, I didn’t get any great views until I emerged again from the bush.

Whakatiwai-Auckland-DSC_3742

By this time everything looked a bit different in the evening light.

Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai

This wasn’t a bad walk, but I’ll have to do some research online to see if there is more to Whakatiwai Regional Park, perhaps another entrance that gives access to the other tracks listed on the Auckland Council site.

You can view the full gallery of 20 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.