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National Parks

Tawharanui Regional Park

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Tawharanui Regional Park is white sandy beaches overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. Farmland pastoral scenery, shingle beaches where low tide exposes pippi (shellfish) beds, native coastal bush and forest and regenerating wetlands.

Tawharanui Regional Park, New Zealand @ilmapo85
Tawharanui Regional Park @ilmapo85

The road to Tawharanui passes Warkworth and Matakana and continues winding through rolling farms. The end is in sight when you reach the gravel narrow road. The Tawharanui Regional Park embraces the end of a peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean just north of Kawau Island.

The long, sandy beach on the northern side is considered to be one of the best swimming and surfing venues in the Auckland region.

Tawharanui Regional Park highlight

  • A night trek to observe North Island brown kiwi with Habitat Tours. You can even join the tour from Auckland with a return later that evening.


Tawharanui Open Sanctury Society (Charitable Trust)

“To create an open sanctuary where visitors can freely experience a representative range of natural communities that would have originally been present on the Tawharanui peninsula”.

awharanui Regional Park @Stuff Tawharanui Regional Park @Stuff
Red billed gulls, Tawharanui Open Sanctury Red billed gulls, Tawharanui Open Sanctury

Imagine a coastal landscape where wetlands and forests are regenerating, treasured species like kiwi, pāteke, bellbird, whitehead and robin thrive, sheep and cattle graze and everyone is welcome.

Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary is a unique blend of conservation, recreation and sustainable farming within Tāwharanui Regional Park.

The open sanctuary includes mature and regenerating native bush, wonderful beaches, spectacular coastal cliffs, wetlands, heritage sites, a marine reserve and extensive areas of rich pasture.

Tawharanui Open Sanctury @TOSSI.NZ
Tawharanui Open Sanctury @TOSSI.NZ

A jewel in the crown is one of New Zealand’s original predator free sanctuaries for native birds and wildlife. The Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary is protected by a predator-proof fence where introduced pests such as feral cats, stoats and ferrets are unable to enter.

The regenerating bush rings with the sound of tui, kaka, bellbirds, North Island robins, saddlebacks, and red-crowned parakeets. The North Island brown kiwi is prolific and frequently spotted at night, and Tāwharanui is one of the rare places where you can see endangered takahē in the wild.

The beaches are renowned for their pohutukawa-lined beaches where all you can hear is the sea and the birds.

The rolling surf is perfect for boogie boarding and surfing. Note there are no lifeguards on duty. The surrounding marine reserve offers great diving and snorkelling.

Check the travel pack section for details on the marine reserve.

Low tide at Anchor Bay invites visitors to investigate swimming rock holes and watch the tide as pressurised water creates a temporary blow hole.

Tawharanui Regional Park @NewZealand
Tawharanui Regional Park @NewZealand

Watch the tides to ensure you are in a safe position.

Anchor Bay, Tawharanui Regional Park @WorldBeachGuide
Anchor Bay @WorldBeachGuide

Tawharanui is a mere 20 minutes drive from the bustle of Matakana village yet it feels a world away from shops and restaurants. Carry water, sunscreen and other essentials because there are no shops in the area. It is a regional park after all


If you have two hours… The beautiful Anchor Bay makes even a short visit to the park worthwhile. Swim, surf or snorkel in its clear waters and picnic on the clean white sand.



There is a large Auckland Council managed campground behind the dunes of Anchor Bay. Forward bookings are essential for this popular location. How to access Tāwharanui Regional Park.

Tawharanui Regional Park is part of a portfolio of Auckland Regional Parks for visitors to enjoy.





Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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