Warkworth – short detour from State Highway one

Warkworth travel, road trip, what to do and see — guide

Where is Warkworth?

Warkworth, wrapped around the Mahurangi River is an urban buzz meets regional New Zealand town with a bustling main street, ducks along its river banks and a gateway to vineyards, artisan crafts, Goat Island marine reserve and regional parks…

C1D2KW Steamboats moored on Mahurangi River, Warkworth, Auckland Region, North Island, New Zealand. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
Parry Kauri just starting out
Parry Kauri Totora
What is so special about Warkworth as there are lots of cute towns with country cafes?

Parry Kauri forest reserve is a special nook I am not sure if I want to write about.  The reserve is a quiet place with ancient Kauri and Totara trees within view of the car park.  You could be very lazy, not get out of the car and simply look at the magnificent kauri (approximately 800 years old) from your vehicle.

As New Zealand kauri is under threat from a very nasty disease called kauri dieback (usually fatal) the kiwi icon has its own guardians instructing people how to avoid transmitting the disease to trees not yet affected.  Parry Kauri reserve has a guardian, with a comfortable chair, sitting by the tree making sure visitors respect the trees.

Get out of the car … 

And I am not advising visitors to turn up, park their cars and gawp at the trees.  Get out and take a short relatively flat loop walk around the reserve. You will be surrounded by New Zealand forest magic,  just a short detour from state highway one.

Parry Kauri inhabitant
Parry Kauri
Parry Kauri forest floor

Do not  miss out on perhaps one of the best short walks in New Zealand.  Just to encourage you to visit check out the photos of the reserve.

Currently the reserve is off the beaten track destination.   It is surprising as it is relatively close to Auckland and the tour buses could definitely fit into the car park.

Let’s hope mass tourism operators  are not reading this post.

Warkworth museum signpost
Warkworth museum shop display
Warkworth museum outdoor building display

For a bonus there is the Warkworth museum right next to the reserve.  It is run by volunteers, hence the request for donations to support the museum.  It provides an excellent introduction to the area’s settlement.

Human occupation approximately 800 years with the river as a highway up until the twentieth century.

Warkworth abandoned cement works are worth a visit. 

I think abandoned industrial buildings provide a tangible link with the past.  The cement works definitely fit this bill with their sheer size. And the small lake glimmering with depth just adds to the atmosphere of worker ghosts and stories past. The importance of the river as a transport hub is clearly illustrated with the location of the cement works.  After your visit to the reserve the cement works is approximately 15 minutes drive from Parry Reserve.

Goat Island and Kawau Island are in the vicinity as well as Sandspit beach.

Sandspit beach is an estuary beach fed by the Matakana River.  It is an area known for its sea birds. The small beach settlement cafe and visitor centre provide a place to gather for cruises to Kawau Island or onto the Hauraki Gulf. … remember to check out the post on Hauraki Gulf Islands

Makakana, well known for its weekend markets and proximity to vineyard cafes and sculpture parks.  It is now attracting visitors to visit the local toilets. While the toilets are not a patch on Kawakawa’s toilets, fashioned by Hundertwasser they are worth popping into.  Perhaps even an Insta photo moment.

Enjoy the journey, it’s worth it.

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