Auckland area - looking to take the wife
Hi all, I've come across this website and I think some more exploring of the posts will give me an answer. I am looking to take my wife on a trek. I've not been out in years and consider myself a beginner. I am wanting to take her somewhere with a gentle 2-4 hour walk. I'd like to avoid huts and sleep in a small tent and really enjoy the outdoors. I've had a look on the doc websites, but I am not sure on the rules or regulations with regards to a bit of freedom camping. I'm not overly interested in staying in huts (at this stage). Any recommendations as to how to manage this? I am only looking at taking her over the summer, early autumn season. We also have a small yacht, so any island areas would be accessible also. any suggestions would be much appreciated. Ben
Hi Ben, Freedom camping is frowned upon in the Auckland region (not sure about the legal status). Pararaha campsite in the Waitakere Ranges is quite nice. There are a few options to get there: Start from Karekare and take Zion Hill track to the campground and return along the beach. A longer option is to go up Zion Ridge and down Buck Taylor. These tracks can also be accessed from the southern side of Lone Kauri Road. Alternatively, start at Whatipu and take Gibbons and Muir tracks. This option is a bit harder and longer. http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/whatipu/Pararaha%20Valley%20Campground The islands in the Hauraki Gulf have lots of options seeing as you have a yacht. Many of them have official campgrounds. Motutapu Island (adjacent to Rangitoto) has a nice campground and you can walk up and around Rangitoto and explore the Motutapu farm. Tiritiri Matangi also has some nice walks and a camp.
Hi Benlav. I'd go with what Briar says. For camping legality, your big problem in the Auckland region is that there aren't really (m?)any significant DOC-managed National Parks or Conservation Areas without going some distance, so you'd be entering parks and other outdoor areas that are probably managed by the Auckland Regional Council (or some other council). This makes the Freedom Camping laws and local bylaws and other random rules very significant. In other words, don't assume you're allowed to camp somewhere unless you already know that you are. You'd be fine in designated campsites, though. If you're in a National Park or a Conservation Area (basically most of the larger areas of nationally-DOC-managed public land throughout the rest of NZ), it's generally legal to camp anywhere (if you can), as long as you follow the take-nothing-and-leave-no-trace doctrine. Occasionally there are exceptions from bylaws and other rules, and if it's classed as a Reserve (rather than a Nat Park or a Conservation Area), the camping-anywhere legality is less likely, because Reserves are usually for very specific purposes. Some of the users closer to Auckland are probably better to comment on stuff there, though.
Auckland is very well served with council-owned regional parks, most with day-walk and camping options that would be an ideal introduction. I think the camping in these sites might be very busy until school starts end January, however. Further afield, the first day in on the Whirinaki Track is beautiful and easy (beyond Central Whirinaki Hut, it gets rough). You could camp at Vern's Camp about halfway to the hut. There's also the Te Paki Coastal Track / Cape Reinga Walkway. Probably too long but you could do a section of it.
Thanks, I'll investigate those options. The campsites would be an option, I just need to learn more about them. My goal is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, I imagine staying in a hut or campsite can be equally stressful which is what I am trying to get away from (noise, snoring, being mindful of personal belongings etc). Being from Christchurch, it wasn't hard to sneak away to a lake and have privacy. Just trying to find a balance.
The campsites are mostly just grassy areas with longdrop toilets. Some can get (relatively) busy over the peak summer period but for most of the year they don't get much use. Although, saying that, the Pararaha campsite is on the Hillary trail so is frequently used by school groups. The sites have to be booked in advance so you could find a quiet time and avoid any large groups.
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