Insiders' Tawharanui
Sunday 12 November, 9am. Duration: 6 hours.
$35 - includes bus transport, picnic lunch pack.
Grade 4
Limited to 15

Welcome to Tawharanui Open Sanctuary. This walk begins at the Anchor Bay carpark. We head east initially, observing Anchor Bay beach (dotterels, oystercatchers, seagulls and black-backed gulls may be present) and views towards Ti Point and Leigh. Sometimes dolphins can be seen close to shore. Walking past the dam through regenerating bush, we may encounter bellbirds, tui, pateke, saddleback and robins.

Continuing along the track we enter Ecology Bush, a mature stand of magnificent coastal forest. Wood pigeons and tui abound and we may see kaka playing in the treetops. Following the stream, we branch to the left at the footbridge and climb through forest to the ridgeline to meet the farmland once more. There are expansive views to the north and west.

Heading east, we follow the farm track past the trig and enter the unique prostrate manuka growing at the eastern tip of the peninsula. The end of this track is our lunch spot – Tokatu Point – where we get 360 degree views over the Tawharanui Marine Reserve and can see the Hauraki Gulf up to Whangarei Heads and Hen and Chicken Is, Little Barrier, Great Barrier, Coromandel and Kawau.

After lunch we return to the trig and, veering towards the south, follow the undulating South Coast track. Kawau Is is the predominant view with Mahurangi Peninsula and Whangaparaoa in the distance. Our final descent zig zags down towards the lagoon, across the boardwalk to complete your Tawharanui experience.

We will point out things that aren’t necessarily obvious and also give some history of the peninsula and development of the Sanctuary. Tawharanui Open Sanctuary is currently home to 12 critically endangered takahe. While there are no guarantees that we will see them it is likely that we will encounter a pair or trio of these special birds on our walk. In 2015 there were estimated to be approx 120 kiwi living happily at Tawharanui but as they are nocturnal it is extremely unlikely that we will see any. Ecology bush may turn up some other surprises!