Tāwharanui Regional Park is New Zealand’s first integrated open sanctuary where farming, public recreation and conservation of native species are combined.

Set on a remote peninsula in the northern Hauraki Gulf, it boasts some of the Auckland Region’s most beautiful white sand beaches, rolling pastures, shingled bays, native forest and regenerating wetlands.

Tāwharanui is 588ha in area of which 170ha is farmed with sheep and cattle. The Park includes high quality coastal forest, wetlands and east coast dunes. These areas provide important habitat for re-introduced species and are the model for restoration programs within the Park. The beautiful coastal forest features kauri and rimu on the ridges, and puriri, taraire, tawa, rewarewa and nikau in the valleys. Magnificent stands of pohutukawa forest are found on coastal cliffs.

A large campground caters for both tents and campervans and there is a network of tracks to explore, take in the views or get some exercise.

A Marine Reserve, established first as a Marine Park in 1981, covers much of the northern coastline and extends approximately half a nautical mile seaward. The Marine Reserve is a ‘no take’ zone and all life is protected here.

Click here to visit the Auckland Council website for Tāwharanui .

Tāwharanui Regional Park provides opportunities for a huge range of activities. You can camp, walk, surf, swim, picnic, sight-see, bird-watch, bike or just relax and listen to the bellbirds and tuis.

The Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary project was initiated in 2000 following interest from the community and within the Auckland Council to establish an intensively managed conservation program within a regional park. Tāwharanui Regional Park was selected because of its size, its location at the end of a peninsula, the range of habitats present and its proximity to significant conservation areas such as Hauturu (Little Barrier Island).

Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary program makes a major contribution to public education, recreation and biodiversity conservation.

  • It provides a unique educational and recreational opportunity for school groups, campers and special interest groups.
  • Sixteen species have returned or been added to the Park since the program was commenced and the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary plays an important role in regional and national threatened species programs.
  • Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary is the subject of numerous research projects on the ecology and management of threatened species in association with universities, DoC and other research groups.
  • The partnership between TOSSI and the Auckland Council is a model for government/community relationships.