Summer is nearly upon us and many of you will be heading to Tāwharanui Regional Park to enjoy the great weather and fantastic environment. However, how many of you will venture past the stunning long white sands of the main beach at Anchor Bay? Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary has so much more to offer than many will be aware of. If you are keen to see more or just want to give the kids an adventure away from the hot sun on the beach, here are some ideas …
Just a short walk from the beach (heading away from the car park), you will find the Sanctuary Hu with information on the history of the sanctuary and the vast range of wildlife you may encounter. There are various information brochures and maps available.
Over the summer, you may be lucky enough to be at Anchor Bay on a day when the new TOSSI information trailer is there. This will provide you with a great insight into the sanctuary. The volunteers at the trailer will be able to provide more information and provide advice on where to go to enjoy your day.
The Ecology Trail is a self-guided trail that highlights Tāwharanui’s precious natural heritage. It starts at Sanctuary Hut and you can follow the yellow markers to many different habitats, including the seashore, coastal wilderness, pasture, native bush, streams and wetlands. You will be joined by a great selection of birds who call the area home.
If you are a bit more adventurous, take Fishermans Track out to Māori Bay on the South Coast. Take your togs and have a quick dip before taking either the South Coast Track, Māori Bay Coast Walk (at mid or low tide) or the North Coast Track back to Anchor Bay. If you take the North Coast Track, it’s well worth carrying on to Tokatu Point for the stunning views. When taking any of these tracks, make sure you download a map from Auckland Council or pick one up at the park. Remember the beach is in a marine reserve, so leave your fishing gear at home, but do bring your snorkelling gear. When swell conditions are favourable, there is good fish life to be seen around the reefs and shallows.
If you have a spare night and are keen for some camping, stay overnight in the campground. Although you must make sure to book through Auckland Council before heading to the park. If you do stay overnight, then ensure you take an evening walk in the hope of encountering some of our many kiwi. Ecology Bush, the Mangatawhiri Track and Thompson Loop will give you a good chance. Make sure you take a red light rather than a bright white torch.
Whatever you choose to do, I am sure a day at Tāwharanui will give you plenty of enjoyment. Of course, if you are coming to the park on the first Sunday of the month (except January), you could join in with the Sunday in the Park workday. Just remember to bring some sturdy shoes, some older clothes and an appetite for the post-work sausage sizzle!
Roger Grove, TOSSI