A return to Shakespear Regional Park: The Walk

No, I haven’t (yet) returned to New Zealand. But I have returned to this blog to post some photos that didn’t make it before my move.

Longtime readers (hi mom) may remember my my first trip to Shakespear Regional Park, which was great. I wound up with a clear early Spring day soon before my move, so I decided to revisit that lovely location.

This post is covering the walk that I did. I’ll post some views in the next one. There may be a bird or two in there as well!

I began my journey at the same place as last time: Army Bay. Although you have to take a very short walk to get to the trails, there are some very nice views which more than make up for it.

The majority of the park is enclosed by a predator fence and protected by an airlock. Shakespear is a bird sanctuary, which makes sense given its proximity to Tiritiri Matangi. Birds can (and often do) fly between the peninsula and the island. The fence helps ensure they don’t get eaten in either location.

Looking back at the gates, you can see the town of Whangaparaoa in the background. It’s a quaint little town, though it’s also the reason why getting to the park takes so long.

Once through the gates, the trail quickly enters an area of fairly heavy forest. The track here is very well-marked and is paved with gravel.

Crossings, of which there are a few, are bridged.

Bits that might get too slick or unstable are covered in boardwalk. This first bit is certainly well-maintained! It leads up to…

…Waterfall Gully!

These falls do not, as near as I can tell, have a name.

I’m a slightly better photographer than I was last time around, but the tricky lighting still makes getting good shots difficult. I tried for a long exposure, but the light meant that this is the best I could do. C’est la vie.

Leaving the gully, a quick jaunt up some wooden stairs leads to a bridge. The greenery here is so vibrant you might think this is an HDR photo captured by my phone, but nope. It’s just that green!

Not too far across the bridge, the trail leaves the forest. Most of the rest of the hike will be out in open fields like this.

That’s a good thing, because it allows easy viewing of the scenery!

Also good for sheep, who true to form inhabit this park en masse. I took this hike during lambing season, so there were some cute babies walking around.

In the distance, I spied an achievement lurking. I decided not to climb up to it though, since I had a more important task at hand:

Hiking this windy trail.

As is constant in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto sits presiding over the bay.

Also present and presiding: cows.

I don’t interfere with the animals so long as they don’t interfere with me. I took this photo with the big lens.

While we’re on the subject: have a photo of some lambs.

The trail runs alongside some of the NZ military’s land. You don’t want to mess about climbing fences unless you’re sure of where you are.

Fortunately, these days New Zealand is quite peaceful. I love seeing these cows alongside this old lookout post.

On the far side of the peninsula near Tiritiri Island is Pink Beach. I was lucky enough to catch the tide at just the right place to make this cool effect.

I ventured down to the beach to take some up-close photos. You don’t want to walk out on this stuff.

You can tell when you’ve reached the halfway point and started to turn back when you see back along the peninsula toward the town. This is the South coast of Whangaparaoa, and the beach is along Te Haruhi Bay.

Let’s check it out!

This bit of trail is a little confusing, and the map is not helpful. The trail runs along the beach, so if you get a bit turned around you can just walk to the beach via whichever way seems the most expedient (keeping in mind that the ground in this area does get a bit marshy).

It’s a really nice day, but surprisingly the beach is not very well-populated. I stuck a toe in the water, and given how chilly it was the lack of attendance becomes a bit less surprising :)

You have to keep alert; this red blaze is what you’re looking for. This is where the trail departs the beach, and if you’re not keeping your eyes peeled you could easily miss it (the nice older lady I hiked part of this trail with last time I was here did exactly that; it was at this point that we started walking together because I helped her re-orient herself).

Once off the beach, you will find yourself at a campground. This makes a nice place to stop and rest; there are picnic tables, restrooms, and even clean water for refilling your bottle should you need it.

Speaking of being turned around, you might recall that last time I went the wrong way back. This time I found the correct route, which took me up the Western edge of the Lookout Track. If you see the old woolshed, you’re going the right way.

The trail is, unfortunately, quite bad here. Experienced NZ hikers will likely be able to tell that this innocuous looking grass is really mostly marshland.

The good news is, there’s a road that runs parallel to the trail up this same hill. Take my advice: go up the road rather than up the trail. You’re not going to miss anything.

You can rejoin the Lookout Trail once you’re up the hill, or you can veer to your left, keep following the road, and meet the Heritage Trail about where it exits the park gates. I was in no hurry, so I stuck with the Lookout Trail and went the long way around.

This route also meant that I got to see the WWII pillbox again, not that with the fantastic views and the other great stuff I saw I was all that enamored with this hunk of military concrete.

Your trip back will border this stream. The trail becomes a little confusing in parts, but keep your eye out for blazes and consult your map if you’re feeling lost.

So that’s Shakespear Park! I know it’s the same walk as last time, but I hope I was able to find some additional things to show you that make up for the repeat!

Stop by next time when I’ll be posting some additional photos from this trip. I’ve even got something really special to show you, so be sure you don’t miss it! See you then!

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