Shades of Blue and Green at Shakespear Regional Park, New Zealand

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Shades of Blue and Green at Shakespear Regional Park, New Zealand

One of the best things of living in New Zealand is the fact that even big cities are surrounded by natural green spaces and blue all around! We have been living in Auckland – City of Sails – for the past six months and have been lucky to visit several local regional parks and stunning beaches within 20-45 minutes drive from central Auckland.  There are 35 regional parks managed by the Auckland council and so far we have been to 6 of them, each one unique in its own way, great for trampling (local word for hiking), birdwatching, swimming and having a great day out in nature.  A few weeks ago we went to Shakespear Regional Park, an open sanctuary and nature park located at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and one of the most visited parks due to its unique management integrating conservation, recreation and farming. There are buses that go here daily from Auckland.

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Weather was very temperamental, raining one second, bright sunshine the next. But we are used to that from living in England past 10 years! What was really interesting about this park was that they have made this area a pest free habitat and have kept it that way by installing a 1.75 pest-proof fence which keeps out rats, cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, possums, stoats and weasels. Pretty much everything we would consider part of wildlife in most of the countries we have travelled to, is considered a pest here! So when you drive in, you have to enter through these controlled gates and the steel fence and tall gate makes it seem like you are entering a tight security government building.

There are three trails one can hike here – heritage trail, lookout track and Tiri Tiri track.  Along the coastline you see sandstone cliffs which shelter the Te Haruhi Bay.  The views were just stunning, blue shimmering water and green pastures dotted with sheep. We saw several bird species – fantails, variant oyster catchers, pukeko, the really colourful parrot Eastern rosella – to name a few!

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

We did the Lookout Track (2.5km) and part of the Tiri Tiri Track (3.8 km), the kids followed the red and blue markers and dashed way ahead of us.  You get lovely panoramic views of the Auckland city skyline to the islands of the gulf. The Heritage trail goes through Maori heritage sites, native forest, farmland and wetland and is supposed to have gorgeous views as well.

I am still not used to the opposite patterns of season here in the southern hemisphere. I can work with winter being summer, looking forward to that this December! But it didn’t occur to me that autumn would be spring so we were in for a surprise when we saw all the cute lambs. It is lambing season here in Auckland and they were ever so adorable to watch! There were also several young bulls which were a bit scary to walk past.

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

There are three beaches at Shakespear. We went to Te Haruhi Bay which is located inside the Open Sanctuary pest proof fence, at the south western end of the Open Sanctuary area. The kids had great fun climbing the gnarled trees lining the beach.  People go swimming here as well but it was too cold to swim when we were there.  The other beach at the Army Bay is good for boating and the third one at Okoromai Bay is a tidal beach where people go to gather cockles.  People come here for picnics and can also book sites for large groups of people (up to 500) at Okoromai Bay.  Few things we found quite unique in parks here in New Zealand – there are open electric BBQ pits that anyone can use for BBQs whether they book the sites or not. We saw a few people doing this at another park. The other thing that we loved about several of the parks here is the fact that you can camp right on the beach. There are designated campgrounds for self-contained caravans and other areas for camping. We did this once on our first campervan trip down to Rotorua and will be doing it a lot on our 10 day campervan trip around south island in 2 weeks time.

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

What we enjoy the most about visiting regional parks here is the vast diversity in the landscape and the unique plant life very distinct to New Zealand. We have done a lot of hiking all across Europe and have enjoyed the alpine temperate forests there and we absolutely love hiking in redwood forests in California. Here we are seeing majestic Kauri trees and the coastal evergreen trees Pohutukawa which are all new and exciting for us. We are definitely making the most of our one year travels and enjoying the natural beauty of New Zealand. For outdoor and nature enthusiasts like us, it doesn’t get much better than this.

SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK | AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

*This is a guest post by fellow blogger, Samiya over at www.selimsraasta.com – see author box below for more info and SM links to follow their journeys!

Have you ever been to New Zealand?  If not, do you plan to go in the future?


The Selim family have lived across the globe – North America, Bangladesh, England and are now travelling in New Zealand for a year. They have travelled far and wide, accross 5 continents and 33 countries. They are passionate abut nature, wildlife conservation, love travelling(mostly by road and boat), and enjoy it best with their children. Join them as they share their world of family travel, life experiences and adventures on the road!

12 Comments

  1. samiya selim

    September 17, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    Thanks for sharing my post 🙂

    happy travels!

  2. Zita

    September 17, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    I love New Zealand, such a beautiful part of the world with so much to see and do!

    Great pics!

  3. Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields

    September 17, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    It does sound like Samiya and her family have had a wonderful time in NZ. I like their description of ‘trampling’ – sounds a lot more fun than ‘tramping’.

    • samiya selim

      September 20, 2015 at 5:18 AM

      Oops! I didn’t realize I wrote trampling 🙂 That sounds kind of bad, like you are destroying the grounds! I meant tramping 😀

  4. Rhonda Albom

    September 18, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I love Shakespear Park. It is right out our door. I have been hiking there almost everyday lately. So you don’t have to worry if you come back – there are no bulls in Shakespear Park. They don’t breed cattle at this park. They were steers.

    • samiya selim

      September 20, 2015 at 5:19 AM

      that good to know! steers? Love learning new things about NZ everyday 🙂

  5. FAIRLIE

    September 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Those lambs are so cute! And so white! Where I grew up in country Western Australia, the lambs got dusty very quickly, and you hardly ever saw pristine white lambs.

  6. Elizabeth

    September 19, 2015 at 2:26 AM

    New Zealand has some fantastic places to explore. I am sure you and your family will enjoy your time there. What a great adventure for your kids.

  7. hannah

    September 19, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    Oh fun! I am from New Zealand, originally anyway (I am now living in Japan) I absolutely love it when people visit or even better, move to my home country and of course I love seeing photos!

  8. Nancie Lee

    September 19, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    I’ve heard many times that New Zealand is so beautiful. You’re photos really highlight some of the beauty! I love exploring state and national parks and that one has some wonderful features. I would love to gather cockles. (shells, I think?) I need to look up what those are. But it sounds fun! haha Thanks for sharing about such a pretty park!

  9. pc

    September 20, 2015 at 8:46 PM

    We had been to NZ, but it was 10 years ago and it was only the Southern Island. Miss NZ and certainly love reading more of NZ and hopefully will make a revisit to NZ with our children.

  10. Lauren

    September 20, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    What a beautiful place! And those lambs are so so cute!

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