Shakespear Regional Park encompasses the lush rolling hills at the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. It’s an open bird sanctuary, with three main beaches, hours of hiking trails, a waterfall, a popular campground, and a lookout tower with 360-degree views. Open to the public, Shakespear Park is a gathering spot for families and whanau alike.
Hiking in Shakespear Park
New Zealand Birds at Shakespear Park
The completion of the predator-proof fence created an open bird sanctuary at Shakespear Park, similar to that of nearby TiriTiri Matangi Island. The fence allowed the release of many endangered New Zealand bird species. Shakespear Park is now home to a massive and growing bird population that includes endangered dotterels, Tui, whiteheads, robins, pukeko, shags, bellbirds, and even Little Spotted Kiwi Birds.
Little Spotted Kiwi Birds
With the release of 2o Little Spotted Kiwi Birds in 2017, Shakespear Park became the only mainland home to this breed. This became a possibility in 2011, with the completion of a predator-proof fence that protects over 500 hectares of parkland, while still allowing people to visit.
Endangered New Zealand dotterels
- New Zealand dotterels breed in spring. You can sometimes spot them on sandy beaches, sand spits, and tidal estuaries on the North Island. If you do, give them their space. I use an Olympus OM-D Em5 Mark II with a zoom lens so I and keep a good distance away.
- They are plovers that grow to only 25 cm (less than 10 inches) in height.
- Only about 1,700 dotterels remain (estimated).
- The Māori name is “tuturiwhatu”.
- Check out the Department of Conservation’s official website for more information on these birds.
Farm Animals in Shakespear Park
Shakespear is one of a handful of Auckland regional parks that have a sheep breeding and farming program, thus allowing everyone an opportunity to experience cows, sheep, and adorable baby lambs.
Volunteers at Shakespear Park
While there are park rangers that both live and work at Shakespear Park, the huge army of volunteers look after the animals, maintain trails, plant trees, eliminate pests, clean up after major storms and cyclones, and anything else that is required to keep the park going.
The three main beaches are:
- Te Haruhi (a swimming and kayaking beach with gentle surf)
- Army Bay (used for swimming, boat launch, and military exercises)
- Okoromai Bay (very tidal, most often used for kite surfing at high tide or collecting cockles at low tide). There is a sunken ship in Okoromai Bay that is visible during low tide.
Practical Information on Shakespear Park
We are really lucky to have Shakespear Park in our backyard. Shakespear is New Zealand’s most visited and accessible open sanctuary park. The New Zealand Shakespear (spelt correctly) family purchased the parkland in the late 1800’s from the local Maori. They later donated it for use as an Auckland regional park.
- The park is open all year during daylight hours.
- If you have a car, you can easily drive to Shakespear Park from Auckland city.
- Whether you stay out on Whangaparaoa or in Auckland, be sure to check for the best accommodation prices at Booking.com.
- If you visit New Zealand, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s New Zealand Travel Guide.