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5 Heritage Regional Parks near Auckland, trip inspiration

New Zealand scenery is stunning. Visual gluttony, New Zealand landscape overload though can lead to scenic fatigue. To overcome the, dare we whisper boredom of lucisios glorious natural vistaas how about a bit of heritage to give places the human touch. Human occupation has undoubtedly altered environments in ways that are contentious or destructive. People have impacted the land with agricultural practices. Yet among farmers there is a sense of the land and its importance as a living organism. This belief is very evident with the gifting of land to the public by farmers. There are several Auckland Regional Parks that are gifts to all of us, locals and visitors alike. It is a layered story that resonates with all ages groups, from children to adults.

Scandrett Regional Park pocket perfect beach at low tide Auckland, New Zealand Scandrett Regional Park pocket perfect beach at low tide Auckland, New Zealand

SCANDRETT REGIONAL PARK

HERE’S A SLICE OF KIWI HISTORY TOGETHER WITH A SENSE OF SECLUSION:

Scandrett Regional Park is a wrapped heritage package with the bow tie being a stunning landscape. Visitors are entranced by the beautiful bay, the pioneering family story and the red timbered farm buildings nestled into the lush landscape. Do not forget to check out the rustic milking shed and listen to the audio commentary of the Scandrett family complete with the accompanying sound of cows.

Best time to visit

Year round, simply layer up and wonder about farming life in the nineteenth century in the remote area.

Where is the park

Scandrett Regional Park is located on Mahurangi East Peninsula, a mere 3km beyond Algies Bay and 20 minutes from the popular Snells Beach.

Walks and tracks

There are several well signposted walking tracks clearly marked from the carpark. The spotless, wheelchair accessible toilets are beautifully landscaped to blend into the environment.  Pohutukawa trees offer shade under picnic tables inviting visitors to explore the rocks.

Water sports

Between mid to high tide for water sports such as kayaking around the bay, fishing from the rocks or swimming in the sheltered water.

Scandrett Regional Park Auckland heritage farm buildings with perfect beach views, New Zealand Scandrett Regional Park, Auckland, heritage farm buildings with perfect beach views

Can you camp or stay overnight?

Yes, check travel pack information brochure for details

Would kids be interested?

  • Exploring the beach for driftwood
  • Being quiet and tiptoeing past the nesting NZ dotterel shore birds
  • Peeping into the windows of the historic farmhouse
  • Picnic food with their favourite treats
  • Exploring rock pools
  • Easy walking tracks
Scandrett Regional Park historic cow milking shed, New Zealand Scandrett Regional Park, historic cow milking shed
Scandrett historic homestead Scandrett Regional Park Auckland, New Zealand Scandrett historic homestead, Scandrett Regional Park Auckland

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK

Best time to visit

Spring to early autumn

Walks and tracks

There are stunning views of the coastline with the glimmering Auckland skyline reminding visitors of how close to a major city the park’s location is.

Can you camp or stay overnight? 

Yes, check travel pack section for brochure

Would kids be interested?

  • For kids passionate about native flora and fauna it is a great place to visit
  • Picnicing on a beach, under the shade of mature trees with the Auckland skyline in the background
Shakespear Regional Park, New Zealand @PhotoTale Shakespear Regional Park @PhotoTale

WENDERHOLM REGIONAL PARK

HERITAGE HOMESTEAD WITH EXOTIC MATURE TREE COLLECTION

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.

Couldrey House

Couldrey House is an historic homestead with Victorian/Edwardian era furnishings, paintings and family stories. The homestead reflects the life of significant politician and nineteenth businessman, Robert Graham. The entrance to Couldrey House passes mature trees from caucasian fir, bunya bunya pine, moreton bay fig, Holm oak, cork oak, magnolia, coral trees and others planted as long ago as the 1860s. Many of these were gifts to Robert Graham from Sir George Grey. Check travel pack information brochure for opening hours.

Couldrey House Garden, Wenderholm Regional Park, Auckland Couldrey House Garden, Wenderholm Regional Park

Would kids be interested?

  • Great place for family gathering and/or birthday party with BBQ, beaches and walks
  • A boat ramp is located on the Puhoi River estuary side of the park. It is not recommended to launch and retrieve boats for 3 hours each side of low tide. Kayaking is popular on the Puhoi River estuary.
  • Looking for life in the mangroves
  • Picnic goodies in the parents hamper
Wenderholm Regional Park, kayaking Puhoi River, New Zealand Wenderholm Regional Park, kayaking Puhoi River

LONG BAY REGIONAL PARK

While the beach is a perfect family safe day trip the fascinating sideshow is the heritage aspects of the pocket sized park. Long Bay Regional Park is an oasis of native reserves, coastal edges framed with mature pohutukawa trees and wetlands with a thriving wildlife. Together with the adjacent Okura Marine Reserve nature buffs have a variety of ecological habitats to explore on easy walking tracks. While the park’s open space and the beach are its major attractions, Long Bay is a beautiful setting with interesting natural features. The historic farm homestead has been restored and open to the public. Check opening hours before visiting to avoid disappointment. The Torbay Historical Society has restored the homestead. For military fans there is a World War II gun emplacement north of the beach. This was part of a defence network to protect the Waitemata harbour from Japanese. It is interesting looking at the views today and recreating the concerns that led to the gun emplacement.

Best time to visit

Year round

Walks and tracks

Are extensive, check travel pack information brochure for walking track details. The beach has mature pohutukawa trees offering shade as well as a glorious blaze of colour during spring.

Water Sports

A favourite swimming and kayaking destination.

Can you camp or stay overnight?

No camping however self-contained vehicles are permitted in designated areas. Check the travel pack information brochure for further requirements.

Will kids be interested?

  • Premier playground, wheelchair accessible
  • Birthday party central with BBQ facilities
  • Long beach is spectacular and a well known local favourite.
Long Bay Regional Park Auckland playground and carpark, New Zealand Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland, playground and carpark
Long Bay Regional Park Auckland, New Zealand Long Bay Regional Park, Auckland

CHELSEA HERITAGE PARK

LET’S GET A SUGAR RUSH, AT CHELSEA HERITAGE PARK

While not designated as a regional park it is a heritage gem. With an iconic factory still continuing to operate it is a great family destination for visitors and locals alike. The walking tracks encompass Waitemata Harbour views with Auckland skyline peeking over the background. Make sure you check out the impressive reimagined sculpture by Bill Hayes. The artwork is created from a ship grab, the mechanical jaws scooping up approximately 8.5 million tons of raw sugar.

Best time to visit?

Year round

Walks and tracks

Walks commence at the Colonial Road entrance to the park (car parking is available). Paths are concrete with grassed areas. The path to the coastal Chelsea Bay is steep.

Chelsea Heritage Park is part of the Uruamo headland, with a significant Maori and a colonial history. It has great ecological value as part of the wildlife link for migrating birds. The estate consists of created lakes, wetlands, streams and pockets native bush. There is access to Chelsea Bay.

Would kids be interested?

  • The Chelsea factory tour where sweet treats lurk
  • The machinery and processes that create the sugar in Mum’s cupboard, complete with a pink people mover are interesting. Make sure you are part of the Chelsea factory tour.  Lots of fun dressing up in safety gear which includes a pink hi-vis vest, hairnet, pink helmet and safety glasses.
  • Kids interested in the environment with a variety of habitats to explore.
Chelsea Heritage Park Auckland with modern factory as a centrepiece, New Zealand Chelsea Heritage Park, Auckland, with modern factory as a centrepiece
Chelsea Heritage Park Auckland skyline in distance, New Zealand Chelsea Heritage Park, Auckland, skyline in distance

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

The journey is worth it.

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