It was one of those winter days in Auckland that reminds you that sometimes it’s not such a bad place to live. Clear blue skies combined with a warmer day than we had been having making the chance to get out and about an exciting prospect.
A few weeks ago I damaged the rotator cuff in my right shoulder making driving difficult so today it was out and about with Sarah as the chauffeur. We planned to visit Cornwallis on the Manukau Harbour and the Auckland Council camping areas around there. Then if time permits head to Whatipu on the wild West Coast and have a stroll along the beach. With my youngest son Richard not working today we also picked him up for some parent – son time whilst we visited the area.
Getting to Cornwallis is a fairly simple process. Heading west out of Auckland city it’s about a 30 minute drive to get to the Titirangi Village and from there a further 15kms of fairly windy road to the beach/camp.
The camping area is really nothing more than a carpark area alongside the beach and I would imagine that it gets very full once the weather warms up. But on the day we visited it was something of a lonely place with only a couple of cars and a few people scattered across the beach.
As this is an Auckland Council Regional Park you need to call the parks hotline on 09 366 2000 pressing option 1 to confirm your stay here.
There is nothing here to say that this is the camping area in fact there is a sign on the noticeboard (shown above) that rather ambiguously tells you parking is in the Pine Ave Carpark, when this is where you already are. As it’s an Auckland City Regional Park you could use your pass if you have one otherwise its $8 per person per night. It’s a real shame that there is a maximum one night stay as it really is very pretty here.
The park is well set out with BBQ tables and a large grassed area that would be very busy in summer with groups of people taking advantage of the haven, so close to the city.
It was really interesting to read on the signboard that there used to be a number of holiday homes here in the 1960’s before the area was developed as a regional park. It’s a very different place today.
At low tide you can walk from the camping area along the beach to the wharf. But as the tide was in we took the cheats way and drove over the hill to come down the road to the wharf. The wharf was completely rebuilt in 1999 after a community fundraising exercise with little plaques on most of the planks as a thank you to the people who made a donation and rebuilding possible.
The wharf stretches 200 metres into the sea and is very popular with the local fishers. There were about 12 of them trying their luck that day. As we walked back towards the beach we noticed a motorhome arriving that I recognised. It belongs to John and Gaylene who we had met in Puriri Bay last year. We had a good catch up, it’s so nice to meet people on the road that you recognise.
Slightly further up the road we came to Kaitarakihi Beach a really nice secluded bay that is lined with pohutukawa trees and has a great view out towards the Manukau Heads as well as across the harbour to Big Bay and beaches located on the other side.
It would be really interesting to know how old the Pohutukawa tree my son Richard is standing in front of. The tree was absolutely massive. I think it’s the biggest one I have ever seen.
We had heard that there was another campsite located just down the road in the Karamatura Farm Park it contains the aptly named Barn Paddock Campsite. The road leading into the camping area is rather rough with deep gouges caused by rain washing away parts of the roadway. It was just as well we were in our car and not the motorhome as the motorhome would not have made it into the park. Or would at least have bottomed out a couple of times as we made our way in.
As I said Barn Paddock, upon arrival at the campground you are surrounded by a huge flock of poultry (I counted at least 24 turkeys) in fact I was really worried about us running some of them over. It’s on this hard stand area of the carpark that you can park your motorhome or caravan if you are staying here. So be prepared to inspect your shoes before reentering your vehicle to make sure you aren’t bringing any souvenirs inside.
In summer camping is allowed on the grassed area and it would be a very beautiful place to stay. There are not that many level spots for a motorhome so you might want to stay in the carpark area but a very picturesque scene in front of you.
With the current closure of most of the walking tracks in the Waitakere Ranges due to the Kauri die back issues access to the bush beyond the boundary fence is off limits but it’s still looks like a great place to stay.
The buildings in the park also contain a number of semi historic farming implements and machinery. These were open on the day of our visit as one of the volunteers was working in them. It certainly added to the day being able to see these as well. The camp has a couple of long drop toilets and these appeared to be in clean and tidy condition.
The original plan was to drive all the way out to Whatipu on the Manukau Heads for a stroll along the beach but they were doing major roadworks beyond Little Huia and the road was closed for 30 or so minutes whilst they worked on a slip on the road. The road workers also told us that the road was in very bad condition so we decided not to continue that journey and will go out there another time.
I must say that the road beyond Little Huia or at least the part we drove is very narrow and windy and this could present some issues with larger motorhomes meeting vehicles coming the other way. There did not appear to be many areas for passing or pulling over.
All in all a very nice place to visit on a sunny winters day and great to catch up unexpectedly with John and Gaylene. Also great to know about two camping areas close to the city but still far enough away to feel like a holiday. It’s certainly somewhere I would recommend to those visiting Auckland.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings we have done for other camps click here