Walk status: On-lead (the beach is the only exception)
I started reading up on regional parks and reserves in the wider Auckland region that you could take dogs. Although the majority will be on-lead and Tapapakanga is no exception to this, it looked to have a few options for walk choices.
It was a overcast but hot day, and I promised George a swim when we got there to incentivise the long drive out there. It took us just over an hour, but its a nice drive and quite scenic through Clevedon and the surrounding areas so at least you're not sitting on a motorway the entire journey.
We reached the Regional Park, and its well signposted on arrival, but its becomes less so at a fork in the road as both signs talk to Campgrounds not the actual walks. Head for the Beach campground as thats where all walks start. Turns out confusing signs were going to be the theme for this walk.
After reading the council website, it seemed like we had a few options for walks out there. Upon seeing the sign at the entry however, our plans changed as the Farm Walk we had planned to do at 6kms long was one dogs weren't allowed on. That information would have been super helpful on the actual council website! So our options were to do the Coastal Walk which is approx 7.5kms or the Historic Loop Track at 1.4kms.
Walks are marked by colour only so take note at the main sign which colour you plan to follow as there are no other signs telling you what walk you're on. We headed in the direction of the Coastal Walk, which looked to be right of the main carpark down alongside the beach. I promised George a swim, and with an abundance of driftwood here there was plenty on offer for him to chase after. A few rolls in the sand later and we were on our way.
Less than a few minutes in and we come to a stream that cuts right across our path. Turns out, unless you're willing to get your feet wet, there isn't an option to cross this. We headed back up the hill we had previously passed as there was a red marker (Red is Coastal) at the top of the hill so we figured there must be another way to join it up there. After searching that hill and finding nothing, we gave up and started walking the blue track (Historic Loop). We headed in the direction the coloured poles seemed to be directing us and down a gravel hill to a gate that lead to a stream.
It was then unclear from that point where exactly we were meant to go. There was another sign with the names of the walks, but no markers from what we could see. Heading up the road slightly we came across a marker, and after walking a short grass path came to a orange marker. Now orange was a walk were weren't meant to be allowed to do, and the blue we were looking for was nowhere to be seen! We backtracked and walked up the road a little further looking for another blue marker. Well buggered if I could find one! We cut our losses and returned the same way we came. About 45minutes of aimless wandering later and we were back at the car.
These walks are not well signposted, and even with access to the map on the website it wasn't clearly defined when trying to match the coloured markers on the tracks with where it looked like you were meant to go on the map. So take your chances with this one and see where you end up! Or be prepared to get your feet wet in crossing the stream to get over to the Coastal walk thats shown to be on the other side.
The beach was its best redeeming feature, and the lovely views. I highly recommend a stop at the Kawakawa Bay store on the way back to get a quintessential part of kiwi summer, a single scoop icecream in a old school cone. Located on the corner of Kawakawa-Orere Road and Clevedon-Kawakawa Road.
Location: Access via Deerys Rd, Orere
Things to know:
There are toilets here
Only two walks are accessible to dogs - Coastal and Historic
Dogs are prohibited on the park between 1 July and 30 November (lambing and calving season)
Dogs are allowed under control on leash on the park between 1 December and 30 June
Dogs are allowed under control off leash on the associated beach
You can read more about the park here: