I had never heard of this spot until I saw a Facebook post about it on a dog hiking group. Sitting on the edge of the Firth of Thames, we knew it was a coastal walk but were a bit mindblown as we drove down the driveway to this view!
We parked near the wharf, and there were many families there enjoying the bay. There are great facilities with a tidy toilet block, water fountain and even a coffee van on site! The council have a strict “take everything with you” policy for this park, so there are no rubbish bins in the entire park. The actual walks start near the back of the toilet blocks, and head up into the scrub before heading into native bush and into open farmland for the rest of the way. There are a couple of spots where you can access the beaches, and dogs are allowed off lead here – great spot for a swim. Just watch out for sharp shellfish along the coast line.
There are multiple well marked tracks that you can follow, with coloured markers throughout the park – you can find a park map with these on the Auckland Council website here. The tracks are well maintained, mostly just gravel with some parts where you are just crossing paddocks following the markers. There are a few steps in places and the odd steep bit, but generally easy walking.
We opted to follow the yellow track most of the way, though we had to adjust our route to navigate around paddocks with stock in it per the lead rules prohibiting dogs from paddocks where stock are grazing. Despite the busy car park and bay by the wharf, once you get up in the hills you don’t see many other people. We had the beaches to ourselves besides on fisherman and a curious shag bird.
This is the type of place that makes me really appreciate the efforts of the council to be inclusive of all recreational users. A farm park is one place where they could easily have had a blanket “no dogs” rule, and the fact that they have allowed us to take dogs there is brilliant. I can imagine for people living in cities, being able to walk across farmland and see livestock is quite a cool experience, and I enjoyed reading the different signs they have up to inform people about the farm. This area has a lot of history, and it was also interesting reading about the Pa site.
Happy dogs after a great walk!
On lead, but dogs may be off lead on the beaches.
Car Parking – Multiple car parks along the way. We opted to park near the wharf, but you could park at the top of the hill if you wanted to skip that first uphill section.
Toilets – Good facilities at the wharf car park, as well as multiple single toilets along the track.
Water – Fountain at the wharf car park.
Bins – No, take everything away with you.
Other – This park is open to everyone, including horse riders and mountain bikers (though we didn’t see any of them on the day we were there). Keep that in mind and keep your dog under good control. There are multiple gates to open and shut along the way. Make sure your dog has been wormed before you head out to this park, to avoid passing sheep measles on to the livestock. Dogs are not permitted in paddocks where stock are currently grazing. Check council website for opening times.