About this park
Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland covers more than 16,000 hectares of native forest and coastline. The park includes 250km of walking and tramping tracks, beaches, breathtaking vistas, spectacular rocky outcrops, waterfalls and cliffs. The following, form part of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park:
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|Gate opening hours
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How to get to Waitakere Ranges
Physical Address: Arataki Visitor Centre, 300 Scenic Drive, Titirangi
(For directions to the above areas - click on the link or ask staff at the Arataki Visitor Centre for directions).
From Downtown Auckland there are several ways to access the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.
Huia Road 18km (25 min) signposted from Titirangi and leads to the southern region of the Waitakere Ranges including Cornwallis, Huia and Whatipu. From Little Huia take Whatipu Road 7km to Whatipu. (Caution: much of Whatipu Road is gravel, winding and narrow).
Scenic Drive 28km (35min) Extending from Titirangi to Swanson, Scenic Drive passes through the eastern fringe of the Waitakere Ranges. Piha Road 23km (30min) From Scenic Drive, this road crosses the heartland of the Waitakere Ranges to Piha Beach. Road access to Karekare and Anawhata range off Piha Road.
Te Henga/Bethells Beach 25km (35min) Te Henga Road starts from Scenic Drive and joins Bethells Road to lead around the northern area of the Waitakere Ranges, including the popular Cascade Kauri area, ending on the West Coast at Te Henga.
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Distance from Auckland CBD
Caution: much of Whatipu Road is gravel, winding and narrow.
Local iwi Te Kawerau a - Maki’s ancestral association with this area goes back 700 – 800 years. They lived on land between the Manukau Harbour in the south and Muriwai in the north. The sea supplied fish and shellfish while the
forest provided birds, succulent berries and other delicacies.
Te Kawerau ā Maki still holds strong spiritual ties to the land and has inherited the role of kaitiaki (‘guardians’) from their tüpuna (‘ancestors’). Their history and present day relationships are represented through carved pou henua around the park. Look out for these at the Arataki Visitor Centre, Cornwallis, Whatipü, Karekare, Piha and Cascade Kauri.
The arrival of the Europeans in the 1830s led to the most visible change in the area. The logging industry, and later farm clearance, saw native trees (including most accessible kauri) felled and thousands of hectares of forest destroyed. Bushmen dammed streams to float logs to the coast. They built several tramlines, including a 14km tramline down the coast from Anawhata to Whatipü, which was used to transport kauri logs to a wharf at Paratütai Island. Remains of the tramline can be seen on the coast between Karekare and Whatipü.
The park is home to numerous historic sites from Ma - ori pa - sites to remnants of the logging industry. Historic buildings in the park include Whatipü Lodge, Huia Lodge (formerly Huia School), Hinge House (a former mill manager’s
house), Rose Hellaby House (Scenic Drive) and Keddle House (Anawhata).
Water was, and still is, a valuable resource in the area. Five major reservoirs were built between 1910 and 1970 and these continue to supply metropolitan Auckland with water today.
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park was formed over many years dating from 1900, when Auckland City Council began purchasing land for water supply and because of its scenic qualities. Originally named Auckland Centennial Memorial Park, it was established in 1940 to mark 100 years since the city’s founding. This was enlarged through gifts of land by many generous donors, including Earle Vaile, the McLauchlin family, Spragg family, Sir William Goodfellow, Sir Algenon Thomas and Lady Rose Hellaby. The Auckland Regional Authority (later called the ARC) took over parkland management in 1964, and then the water catchment land in 1990.