Exploring North West Auckland - Vineyard Cottage's favourite local walks

Vineyard Cottages favourites walks

Muriwai Beach of course! Visit the gannets and get a fantastic view of Muriwai Beach as far as you can see. This has to be a must do while in Auckland at any time and if you are staying with us at the Vineyard Cottages, there is simply no excuse. It’s a simple 15 min drive from the base here at the Vineyard Cottages to Muriwai.

Head down to the Maori Bay car park and wander over to the Gannet colony walkway from there. If you are keen, from there you can wander right down onto Muriwai Beach itself and explore some of the rock formations or head back from where you came and take the steep walk down to Maori Bay, which is a beautiful quiet little bay worth visiting for some tranquility.

Muriwai Beach - Gannet Colony, Beach and Dunes

Muriwai Beach - Gannet Colony, Beach and Dunes

Muriwai Beach from Rimmer Road Access. From Rimmer Rd, a 15 min drive north west from the Vineyard Cottages, take a drive through the pine forest and logging operations. You will occasionally get some breathtaking glimpses of the ocean before you start descending down to the beach. At the end of the road where you can go no further (except if you decide to take your vehicle across the dunes, but maybe not unless you are in a 4WD and have experience on very soft sand) you will need to walk over the dunes to get to the beach. Watch out and listen for any motorised vehicles as it not uncommon for some to be whizzing over the dunes.

But as you get to the other side of the dunes, the soft sand, the having to watch out for vehicles and the occasional sand blowing straight into your eyes, it is so worth every effort. The ruggedness, the bare beauty and raw authenticity is breathtaking. You can walk for kilometres without seeing a single soul. You may spot a vehicle zooming past, a fisherman parked up with his contiki fishing for snapper, maybe even a fellow human walking their dog, but generally, you may just as well be alone on the beach, or so it may feel.

The rugged north end of Muriwai Beach

The rugged north end of Muriwai Beach

Goldie Bush Scenic reserve has only recently reopened after the councils shut-down due to the kauri dieback, so if you do visit, there are precautions in place and make sure that you follow all the instructions clearly. Goldie Bush Scenic Reserve offers a variety of walks through coastal kauri forest taking you to the impressive Mokoroa Falls. Goldie Bush can be accessed from either Constable Rd or Horseman Rd.

Omeru Scenic Reserve is an easy family walk 30- 40 min return trip, off the Kaipara Coast Highway, 5km north of Kaukapakapa. It is a beautiful bush walk through a reserve with two streams, waterfalls and pa site and little picnic area.

Kerr-Taylor reserve - Our closest walk is through a private reserve and magnificent native bush with some impressive kauri trees just off Taylor Rd. The Kerr-Taylor reserve walks are up to 60 minutes return and just be careful as the tracks are slightly steep in places.

South Heads walks

Plan your journey up to South Head as a day trip, with plenty of different walking tracks scattered throughout the day. Your first stop is Lake Ototoa, South Head. Even though the walk here isn’t very substantial, the small walk takes you out to a beautiful lake, Lake Ototoa at South Head Road and Donovan Road, it is a short track but takes you straight to the lake. See if you can spot the trout in the lake or driving out here, see if you can spot the magnificent deer behind the fencing of the the impressive deer farms. We haven’t tried it ourselves, but supposably if the water levels aren’t too high, you can walk around the lake shore. Let us know if you do and how you get on.

Lake Ototoa, South Head

Lake Ototoa, South Head

While you are up at South Head visiting beautiful and tranquil Lake Ototoa, there are a couple of other stops that are worth a visit. Go a bit further than Lake Ototoa and at the end of South Head Road there is a small track taking about 30 mins return to a small bay near the head of the Kaipara Harbour with fantastic views, Mosquito Bay (don’t worry, no actual mosquitos here). Please do be aware though, that the currents close to shore are very strong, so we do not recommend entering the water.

A lagoon only really known by the locals is hidden west of Mosquito Bay. Waionui Inlet ‘The Lagoon’ is a 3 hour return walk at low tide only, accessible from Trig-Tasman Road.

On the way back from South Head, head down to Shelly Beach Reserve. A large reserve on the harbours shore with walking tracks around the foreshore, up some stairs and along the clifftop. There is a Pa site at the northern end to explore. There is even a playground for the kids. You will get beautiful views and make sure that you go for a stroll down the super long pier where fishermen will be trying their luck.

There is a quaint cafe, serving anything from coffees, baking, lunches and even dinners (but make sure that you check their opening hours first).

Keep an eye out for a blog in the future on other exciting things to do and explore in South Head.

View down the super long Shelly Beach Jetty

View down the super long Shelly Beach Jetty

From beach to bush to farmland, to gentle strolls or something to get the heart pumping, if you are keen for a walk while staying in the Vineyard Cottages, you definitely have a choice.

Talk to any of the team members here and we will point you in the right directions.

See You Soon.