Regional parks

Remember to be a tidy Kiwi!

All our regional parks are rubbish free. Whether you call it rubbish, trash or garbage, please bag it all up and recycle it or throw it away when you return home.

About
Park facilities
Park activities
Tracks
History

About Cornwallis

Part of the Waitakere Ranges, Cornwallis is a popular, safe spot for family picnics and swimming. Be sure to visit the 200m long restored Cornwallis wharf, the last of the Manukau's 16 ferry wharves.


Park information

Pedestrian access: Open 24 hours
Summer gate opening hours:
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Daylight savings)
Winter gate opening hours:
8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Non daylight savings)
Distance from CBD: 30 km
Park map: Click here to download a park map

How to get to Cornwallis

Take the north-western motorway to the Great North Road exit. Follow Great North Road onto Ash Street which leads onto Rata Street. Take Titirangi Road right through Titirangi Village to the roundabout; take Huia Road and Cornwallis is signposted off it to the left.

View larger map


Maps

Park facilities

SCC campgrounds and designated parking areas
SCC campgrounds and designated parking areas Cornwallis SCC parking area
BBQ
BBQ

Gas BBQ's only

Beaches
Beaches
Boat ramp
Boat ramp
Cellphone coverage
Cellphone coverage
Interpretation
Interpretation
Limited mobility toilet
Limited mobility toilet

The main picnic area has wheelchair accessible toilets.

Mobility access (partial)
Mobility access (partial)

The wharf at Cornwallis is accessible by wheelchair.

Native bush
Native bush
Notice board
Notice board
Parking
Parking

Includes overflow parking. Additional parking at Firebreak road (22)

Picnic tables
Picnic tables
Ranger contact phone
Ranger contact phone
Shelter
Shelter
Toilet block
Toilet block
Toilets
Toilets
Unsealed access road
Unsealed access road
Wharf / jetty
Wharf / jetty

Park activities

History

For 800 years Māori favoured this part of the Waitäkere Ranges because of its birds, berries and rich seafood resources, including shark. Many archaeological sites in the area reflect this long and intensive period of use.

Cornwallis was intended to be one of the first major settlements in Auckland but isolation defeated it, and it failed.  Instead, in the twentieth century, it became a thriving beach community until it was acquired as a regional park, and the beachfront cleared of baches.  The entire coast was exploited for kauri and a number of mills were set up. The Gibbons family pioneered the industry. One of their mills was situated at Whātipu and after milling ended, they established an accommodation house, with a post office, and held dances in one of the large coastal caves. The Gibbons’ homestead is part of the lodge still operating today.

In 1863 New Zealand’s greatest maritime disaster occurred at the mouth of the Manukau Harbour. The HMS Orpheus was wrecked and 189 lives were lost. Three of the sailors’ graves can be found just off Cornwallis Road on the Orpheus Graves Walk.  The region has an important role as a water catchment area.

The Upper Huia Dam was built in 1929 on the site of an 19th century kauri log dam.  In 1945 the Lower Nihotupu Dam was built followed by the Lower Huia Dam, which was completed in the early 1970s.