Shakespear Regional Park

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Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland Overview

Shakespear Regional Park is an open sanctuary located at the tip of the narrow Whangaparaoa Peninsula of North Island, New Zealand. The nature park is famous for a number of walking trails, relaxed coast-lines, bays and cliffs with wonderful views of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands. There are camping spots set up in the park equipped with cottages, lodges and tents. Through recent developments the park is now an open bird sanctuary inhabited by some of the rarest species of birds in New Zealand which migrate to the park from the wildlife sanctuary island of Hauraki Gulf, Tiritiri Matangi.

There are a number of activities one could engage in at Shakespear Regional Park like camping at the campsites, walking a variety of tracks, fishing at the bays, relaxing on the beaches and visiting a few heritage spots. The park is also covered by farmland that rear cattle and sheep. There are picnic areas which include the Army Bay and Okoromai Bay picnic sites. The park is hence known to be a combination of conservation, recreation and farming. The park is also home to a waterfall named Gully Waterfall and the lookout spot that offers a 360-degree view of the Hauraki Gulf. Shakespear Regional Park is known to be New Zealand’s most accessible and most visited open Sanctuary.

view of the Hauraki Gulf from Shakespear Regional Park through a an installed frame
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Things to Do

Bush-Walking: There are a number of tracks that like the heritage trail, Tiritiri track and the most popular one the lookout track. These range from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. They cover spectacular views, native forests, camping spots and beaches.

Bird Watching: Since the park is an open bird sanctuary, there is a lot of scope for bird watching as an activity and there are some variety of native birds that one would commonly come across here like the little spotted Kiwi birds, New Zealand dotterels, Pukeko and the White Faced Heron.

Boating: Boating is a popular activity in Shakespear. There is a boat ramp at the Army Bay allowing larger vessels to launch. Shorter vessels can be launched from any of the beaches according to the tides.

Surfing: Wind-surfing is a common activity in Shakespear and the Te Haruhi Bay is a popular spot for the same.

Diving: The activity offers to explore the ship wrecks underwater in the Te Haruhi/Okoromai Bay in about 5 meters of water.

Swimming: All the beaches at Shakespear are suitable for swimming. Army Bay is suitable during all times of the year whereas Okoromai Bay is known for being tidal. But the most popular swimming spot is Te Haruhi Bay.

Fishing: The Army Bay and the Te Haruhi Bay are most popular spots for fishing at Shakespear.

Paragliding: There are several sites for paragliding in the park like the Army Bay hills and the Te Hurahi Bay hills.

Mountain Biking: There are a number of mountain biking tracks from family-friendly to difficult ones. It is prohibited along some tracks like the heritage trail. The other tracks are biking friendly.

Picnic: Shakespear is a great spot for a picnic. There are many secluded spots with nice views perfect for intimate picnics. Larger groups can book picnic spots beforehand. There are barbecues which are free to use around the park.

Kayaking: The most popular kayaking spot at the park is the Te Haruhi Bay shipwrecks on the western side. Okoromai Bay is a good learning spot.

Volunteering: Volunteers interested in helping develop the park into a conservation wildlife sanctuary can do so by volunteering at the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc.

History

The land where the park is now situated was once owned by the Maori tribes before the 1800s. In the year 1853, the land was bought by the Shakespear family. The Auckland Regional Council acquired it in 1967. There are traces of the Maori culture still seen in the sanctuary especially in their earthworks.

Tickets and Timings

Summer timings for vehicle entry are 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM, whereas winter timings are 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM. There is no entry fee for the park but for camping visitors will be charged NZD 6 to NZD 13 for booking a campsite.  There is also an annual pass given out for camping here.

Tips

  • The island is pest-free in order to maintain the ecosystem that lets the wildlife thrive. Hence it is important to check your vehicle, shoes, equipment for pests before arriving here.
  • There are no dump bins at the park and hence everyone who visits is required to carry all the rubbish and recycling material back with them.
  • To camp at campsites, prior booking is required.
  • Pets are strictly not allowed in the sanctuary area.

How To Reach Shakespear Regional Park

  • The nearest town to the sanctuary is Whangaparaoa.
  • There are a number of buses from the town to the park and a few that run from Auckland.
  • The park is easily accessible from Auckland by car.
  • The park also offers car parking service. For pedestrians, the park is open 24 hours, but for vehicle access, there is an automated entry gate near Army Bay which opens and closes automatically for vehicles.
  • This gate does not open at all after 9 PM.

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