Auckland has some of the best parks in the world and with more than 4000 parks across the region, we are spoilt for choice. No one knows our parks better than our hard-working park rangers who play a huge role in taking care of Auckland’s green spaces and the species that call them home.
Meet senior ranger Matt Maitland who looks after our two open sanctuaries – Tāwharanui Regional Park and Shakespear Regional Park. Matt has been an Auckland Council park ranger for 10 years and says the best thing about the job is getting to work in some of Auckland’s best locations.
“Our parks are beautiful places and tend to bring out the best in people,” he says.
Here are some of Matt’s favourite things to do at Tāwharanui Regional Park:
- Explore Ecology Bush on the Ecology Trail and keep an eye/ear out for saddleback, kākā, takahē, robins and kākāriki.
- Walk or mountain bike to Tokatu Point and enjoy spectacular views of outer Hauraki Gulf. From here you can see the Hen and Chicken Islands, the Coromandel and Kawau Island.
- Venture to Anchor Bay and explore the sea caves, build sand castles or have a go boogie boarding or surfing.
- Snorkel the Tāwharanui Marine Reserve (but not in a northerly swell). The reserve is a protected marine area, so look but please don’t touch.
- Have an evening picnic and listen for North Island brown kiwi after dark.
- Spotlight the Waikokowai/Ecology Stream looking for banded and giant kōkopu and long-finned eels. Please stay on the walking tracks and bridges to avoid damaging stream banks.
- Explore the south coast at low tide – you can walk from Māori Bay back to the lagoon at Jones Bay. Check the tide tables before you head out.
- Go camping and take the kids cardboard sledding down the steep grassy slopes.
- Check out the majestic Tūpuna Manuhiri (the carved pou whenua by the lagoon) and explore the Hikoi o Ponui. Interpretative signage and wind up speakers can also be found dotted around the park providing information on the park’s history.
- Visit the sanctuary hut – learn about the open sanctuary and our community partner Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society (TOSSI) and how you can make a difference to the park.
About Tāwharanui Regional Park
Tāwharanui is New Zealand’s first open sanctuary integrating conservation, recreation and farming. Pest free habitat provides a safe home for many threatened and native wildlife. To help keep Tāwharanui free of pests, please check your vehicle and belongings for stowaway pests before you visit. Dogs are prohibited at all times.