We have been camping at Tawharanui for about 15 years now and still haven’t done all the walks. Probably because when we get there we tend to go into major relaxation mode and just move between the campground and the beach. OK that makes us sounds more lazy than I would like – we do run out to the end of the peninsular andjumping around in the surf is a great workout. There are lots of tracks to run here ( usually we are camping in a group so the kids stay at the camp with friends ) and my husband and I run together but more recently we have camped by ourselves and of course we still wanted to run ( coz that’s what we do ) so we take the kids mountain bikes and all had an awesome time doing a 10km loop round the peninsula enjoying stunning views from every angle while on Takahe watch. Yes that’s right Takahe were recently introduced to the park and while we didn’t see them this time we saw 3 last time we were there. Even if you don’t see the Takahe the bird song in the bush is amazing and we ticked a few more birds off our bird spottinglist, Saddleback this time.
Now I’m not much of a bird watcher but there is an impressive list of birds to be found in the regional park. We found that when we camp by ourselves we are more motivated to explore so did more bird watching and ticked another walk of the list. The Maori Bay coastal walk starts and finishes at the Lagoon carpark near the park entrance, and can be walked in either direction. We walked around the coast first after checking the tide times very carefully. We had a near disaster ( stranding ) on a coastal walk earlier in the year – lets just say children were carried on shoulders and my husband got quite wet.
At the start of this walk ( heading north around the coast ) there is a tide chart to avoid any tide disasters. While the main North facing beaches at Tawharanui are known for their glistening white sand, the Kawau Island side of the peninsula is rocky so be prepared to rock hop for about 1 hour. The views out to Kawau Island are of course stunning with lots of bird life to enjoy (shags and gannets ) and the rock pools were teaming with sea life to make the walk fun for everyone. Its a very peaceful walk with no other people around. When you get to Maori Bay ( a little hard to know exactly which bay it is ) there is an exit track up a cliff pathway which joins back onto the main trail network. We didn’t think the sign for the track was very easy to see so keep your eyes peeled for the stairs. It was then an easy 35 minute walk back through the bush where our Takehe watch could continue and of course we got to do some more bird spotting.
More information on Tawharanui regional park.