Where to go and what to see
The northernmost town in the Auckland province is the gateway to the northern and western reaches of the Matakana Coast. Take time to explore a little known area where visitors are few and far between. Wellsford is a gateway town offering travellors the choice of continuing north or south on State Highway 1 or exploring State Highway 16 exploring the southern reaches of the Kaipara Harbour.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Albertland Heritage Museum, find out early the lives of early European settlers
- Surf at Te Arai beach with the locals
- Participate in a cultural experience at Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre
- Te Arai beach and learn to surf, check out Amazing Auckland northern beaches.
- Tomarata lake, kayaking and walks
- Forestry beach remote, pristine and mellow surfing conditions with Tomarata Lakes Recreational Reserve nestled in the dunes
A TOUCH OF HERITAGE
- Albertland Heritage Museum chronicles the story of the Albertland Non-conformist Society of the 1860s.
There is an extensive collection of family archives, records, photographs, memorabilia and artefacts Our Story – Albertland Heritage Museum is managed by volunteers.
Check opening hours beforehand to avoid disappointment
● Minniesdale Chapel is the stuff of wedding dreams. The glorious location of rolling hills, the Oruawharo River and neo-Gothic timber framed church is charm personified set in the New Zealand countryside. The timber framework and stained glass windows of this little Gothic building were brought to New Zealand from England by the Rev E S Brookes (snr) one of the driving forces behind the 1860s Albertland Emigration Scheme. Headstones in the cemetery mark the resting place of many Albertland settlers and their descendants. The category 1 Historic Places Trust building, Minniesdale Chapel can be hired for services, weddings and Christenings.
Location: Shegadeen Road in Wharehine which is 19km west of Wellsford.
EAT & DRINK
Te Hana fortnightly night market / Wellsford candles, fresh produce and plenty of delicious foodie treats
ATIU CREEK REGIONAL PARK
Atiu Creek Regional Park is a working farm with panoramic views over the Kaipara and plenty of walking and mountain biking trails.
- Your horse can stay overnight in the nearby holding paddock at the Atiu Creek Regional Park campgrounds.
Tips on how to make the most of your visit to Ātiu Creek Regional Park. If you have two hours… Find your way to the Heretoka Pā site, enjoying the fantastic views along the way. Try heading to the reservoir for a spot of tranquil bird watching or wander down to the woolshed. If you have half a day… Don’t miss the chance to head out to see the Oweka Tapu pou in its beautiful surroundings overlooking Solomon’s Bay. Take in more fabulous views of the Kaipara Harbour by extending your route and taking the side trail to Ti Tree Point. Or grab an orienteering map from the notice board and challenge yourself to find as many controls as you can.
Lake Tomarata is a recreational reserve managed by Auckland Regional Council. There are public toilets, picnic tables, and a concrete boat ramp.
There are a number of informal walking trails used by horses and people. The lake is suitable for water sports from swimming, kayaking and water skiing. There is a campsite (non-powered).
There are three major dune lakes, Tomarata, Slipper and Spectacle Lake. Tomarata is the largest and accessible by road with public areas. The wetlands protect the water quality and are home to many threatened bird and plant species such as fernbird, bittern and banded rail. The dune system is fragile and takes care to protect the native wildlife. Nearby is the popular surfing beach of Te Arai Point.
- Lake Tomarata is part of the Te Arai regional lakes. It is the only known location of the peat-forming wire rush in Auckland and the only lake in this region with direct road access, toilets, concrete boat ramp and bbq’s
Accommodation options at Te Arai Regional Park
Fairy Tern Nesting at Te Arai Stream was excitedly reported in 2012 by DOC,Te Arai Beach Preservation Society, Te Arai Dotterel Care Group, About Tern and the NZ Fairy Tern Trust recorded the historic return of a nesting pair of fairy tern to Te Arai Stream. Whilst the stream has remained an important post breeding flocking site for fairy terns, this was the first record of a nesting in over two decades.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Enrol in a surfing lesson at Te Arai beach
- Kayaking a dune lake by yourselves
- Join a Maori cultural experience
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Minniesdale Chapel
● 2,140 (2020)
NEARBY WELLSFORD WHAT TO SEE
- Maori Village tours Maori culture and Marae accommodation
- Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre. Step 300 years back in time with a memorable guided tour of a replica village and fortified pa. Across the road, visit The Arts Factory and stand in awe at the giant sculptures, carved from 25,000 to 40,000 year-old kauri logs salvaged from swamps around the upper North Island. Many of the carvings made here are now held in private and corporate collections around the world.
- Enjoy exploring the district