Auckland has some of the best parks in the world and with more than 4000 parks across the region, we are spoilt for choice when planning a day in the great outdoors.
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 Park Ranger Dan Beauchamp who looks after Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island. Dan has been an Auckland Council park ranger for 17 years and says the best thing about the job is the large outdoor office.
“It offers endless variety and the park runs to the beat of its own drum, so it’s still full of surprises for me,” he says.
Here are some of Dan’s favourite things to do at Whakanewha Regional Park:
- Walk the Tarata Track to the Cascades waterfall. This gentle-graded track is great on a hot day. It has a water feature stop, lots of shade and takes you through a mature coastal broadleaf forest. It’s also dog-friendly (on leash), so it ticks all the boxes.
- Admire the views of the inner Hauraki Gulf from the lookout vantage points around the park. Dan’s Lookout (not personally named by Dan) off Carson’s Road is a great high point for a pit stop.
- Picnic at the park’s bookable site right on the beach under the large historic pōhutukawa tree. This spot is also great for swimming when the tide is in.
- Go camping in the Poukaraka Flats Campground, Waiheke’s only campground. It’s family-friendly, flat, has plenty of shade and is right on the water’s edge.
- Bring your binoculars and come birding. See the endangered NZ dotterel, variable oystercatchers, pied stilts, banded rail and more.
- Spend some time in the unique Nikau grove on the Nikau Track and watch kererū feasting on the forest berries.
- Kayak out to Browns Island (also managed by Whakanewha Regional Park rangers) and walk to the summit of this iconic volcanic cone.
About Whakanewha Regional Park
Escape overseas and visit this park on the western side of Waiheke Island. Whakanewha, which means 'to shade the eyes from the setting sun', offers sheltered swimming on a long, sweeping beach with a panoramic bush-clad backdrop. You can also enjoy camping and picnic sites on the foreshore.
Help protect our kauri
Kauri dieback is an incurable disease threatening kauri trees. You can help protect our kauri by three easy steps:
- Scrub – clean all soil off your footwear and other gear, every time you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees.
- Spray – your footwear and gear at every cleaning station. Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.
- Stay – on the designated open tracks.