About this park
Located 50km from central Auckland on our south-eastern coast, Waitawa is made up of three small peninsulas and fronts onto four bays and is a recreation park, planned and developed with outdoor activities, exercise and fun in mind. .
Walking, horse riding and mountain biking tracks have been created throughout the varied landscape on the park, in areas of former pine forest and regenerating native bush, up and down steep hills and through pasture. Some are shared, with walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders and other park users using the same routes, so please respect others. There are also many important cultural and heritage sites on this park, so keep to the formed tracks.
Look out for information panels that tell the story of Waitawa at prominent locations, special sites or interesting places. Visitors can take the short walk to the Pawhetau headland for spectacular vistas towards Pakihi and Ponui Islands. Waitawa also has a purpose built sea kayak campground for those paddling Te Ara Moana, the sea-going pathway. For a taster of this sea-going trail click here.
For a short video about the development of the park, click on the link below:
||Open 24 hours
|Summer gate opening hours
6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
|Winter gate opening hours
6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
(Non daylight savings)
How to get to Waitawa
Take State Highway 1 south. After 22km, go straight onto exit 451 Hill Road and turn left onto Hill Road. After 0.8km you will reach a roundabout; turn right taking exit 2 onto Stratford Road. At the next roundabout, go straight through onto Alfriston Rd. Follow this road until the T-junction and turn right onto West Road. Continue along and turn left onto Papakura-Celevdon Road. Continue along until you reach Waitawa.
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Distance from Auckland CBD
Located 50 kilometres from central Auckland on the region’s south eastern coast, two kilometres west of the small coastal settlement of Kawakawa Bay, the parkland at Waitawa is sited on a headland in the Tamaki Strait. The parkland was acquired because of its accessible active recreation potential, vistas, environmental restoration potential and tangata whenua values. The 188 hectares of parkland comprises a number landscapes including: coastal and exotic forests, pastures, three small peninsulas and two beautiful coastal bays, with access to a third. The north-western and eastern part of the site falls down steeply from the ridge, which runs southwest to northeast towards Wairoa and Waitawa Bays. Several small gullies and minor ridges bisect this coastal slope. The steep nature of this land has resulted in the area being used primarily for forestry with pines and eucalypts being the dominant species.
The parkland contains several wetlands at the bases of gully systems and one large significant wetland system as well as mature pohutukawa along the coastal fringe. There is a population of the nationally threatened shrub Pomaderris rugosa. The property has potential for ecological restoration, which will be achieved without compromising the site's recreation potential or spectacular views.
The park land at Waitawa is of great importance to Maori as it is located upon a traditional boundary line between Te Urikaraka (Ngati Paoa) and Ngati Kohua (Ngai Tai / Te Waiohua). The area has a long and rich history of human occupation which is reflected in the numerous archaeological sites recorded on the parkland at Waitawa and the wider area. Sites of significance include Waitawa, Waipatukahu and Ruakakariki kainga, the inland kainga of Papaporutu, Oamio and Karioi the Pawhetau, Orakau, Mataitai, Koheruarahi and Kauri pa as well as cultivations at Te Aroaro.
For historic video clips of Waitawa Regional Park, click on the links below:
For interesting historic photos, click on the links below: