The sheltered bays, native bush, open pasture and historic sites of Mahurangi Regional Park straddle the entrance to the beautiful Mahurangi Harbour, which gives the park its name.
The park is divided into three „fingers“ – Mahurangi West, Scott point and Mahurangi East. Mahurangi West provides a backdrop to three pohutukawa-fringed bays – Sullivan’s (Otarawao) Bay, Mita (Otuawao) Bay and Te Muri Bay.
Scott Point includes the historic Scott Homestead, while the remote Mahurangi East is only accessible by sea.
The park is a favourite stop for boaties all year round. It takes on a festive air at Auckland Anniversary Weekend in January, when hundreds of classic vessels revel in the Mahurangi Old Time Regatta.
Maori lived here in large communities. The park was the ancestral domain of Ngati Rongo and there are four fortified pa sites at Opahi, Cudlip and Te Muri Points and above Sullivan’s Bay. A sea captain, John Sullivan, married Merehai Kaipuke and settled at Otarawao (Sullivan’s Bay) in the 1870s. Their descendents farmed the land for nearly a century and farming continues on the park today. More than 100 Maori and European settlers are buried in the Te Muri urupa (cemetery) on the park. The urupa was established in the 1860s alongside two sacred (tapu) pohutukawa trees. Scott Homestead, at Scott Point, is a reminder of the Mahurangi Harbour’s busy past as a hub of timber milling, ship building, firewood cutting and trade. Thomas Scott Jr built the Georgian style house in 1877 on the site where his father, a shipbuilder, ran an inn until it was destroyed by fire. Volunteers have lovingly restored the house and its surrounds. While the homestead is not open to the public, the front garden will give you a real sense of history. The homestead is available as a venue for special occasions.
Listen out for the song of the tui, the grey warbler, and in spring and early summer, the shining cuckoo. For a sazzling summer display look out for gannets hurling themselves headlong into the sea at up to 140kmh in search of food for their young.
Areas of coastal forest and regenerating bush are dotted throughout Mahurangi Regional Park. The best preserved patches of mature coastal forest are on Cudlip and Te Muri points which are dominated by kanuka, taraire, puriri, karaka and kowhai. Scarlet flowering pohutukawa are spectacular at Scott Point and Mahurangi East in summer and on many parts of Mahurangi West.
Source: Auckland Regional Council