Regional parks

Important notice

Please note that booking hours for regional parks will now operate from 8.00am – 7.00pm Monday through to Sunday for SCC campgrounds, SCC parking areas, baches and bookable sites.  No bookings can be taken over the phone or in person on park after this time.  

No cash payments are available at any time on park. For all payment methods, click here.

We strongly recommend that you call our contact centre in advance of your arrival on park on 09 366 2000, option 2, to make your booking.

About
Park facilities
Park activities
Tracks
History

About this park

The Whatipu area is a Scientific Reserve, within the Waitakere Ranges, owned by the Department of Conservation and managed on behalf by the Auckland Council Regional Parks.  It is a spectacular area of coastal dunes and wetlands.


Opening hours

Pedestrian access Open 24 hours
Summer gate opening hours
Open 24 hours
(Daylight savings)
Winter gate opening hours
Open 24 hours
(Non daylight savings)

How to get to Whatipu

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 through to Huia. Continue on to Whatipu Road for access to Whatipu at end of Whatipu Road.

View larger map

Distance from Auckland CBD

42 km


Maps

Park facilities

Beaches
Beaches
Historic homesteads
Historic homesteads
Interpretation
Interpretation
Native bush
Native bush
Notice board
Notice board
Parking
Parking

Overflow parking at both campground and turners paddock (150)

Toilet block
Toilet block
Toilets
Toilets
Unsealed access road
Unsealed access road

Park activities

Tracks

History

Click here for a leaflet that contains background information about the area, a map of the walking route and historic points of interest.

For 800 years Māori favoured this part of the Waitākere 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.