Auckland, New Zealand
One way – 7.4km, 1hr 45 mins
If you live locally and haven’t made it to ‘Okura Bush Walk’….get out there! It is a hidden, little jewel of a trail where you feel like you’re wandering along a scenic coastline and bush track far removed from suburbia.
We started at the Stillwater end where the entrance is just by Stillwater Campground. The trail starts with a peaceful, grassy track that leads out through a protected bird nesting area to Stillwater “beach”. If you’d like to walk around the rocks from here to Karepiro Bay you’ll need to plan for low tide. Otherwise, you can take the marked trail which follows a steepish route over the headland. This option offers expansive views of Karepiro Bay and the Hauraki Gulf but in my opinion ambling around the coastline’s marine reserve is the more interesting route.
At the northern end of Karepiro Bay sits the restored historic Dacre Cottage. Dacre Cottage is a small, brick building built in the 1850s by Henry Dacre who was the son of a retired sea captain that bought the Weiti block in 1848. This is a picture-perfect spot for a drink break or quick snack and although the building is closed up it’s worth a short stop.
Walking towards the end of Karepiro Bay there are some challenging stairs that will give your lungs a work-out. These lead to the top of the cliff where you’ll be rewarded with some amazing sea views. Make sure you take the time to look back and appreciate your surroundings. It’s an honest excuse to stop too! 😉
The harsh stairs will lead you into the bushy section of the walk before heading down some steps to the water’s edge. It is at this point that if you are walking Te Araroa you should carefully cross the Okura River Estuary at low tide only (dead low tide!) and continue the section along Long Bay Regional Park. If you are keen to continue with the Okura Bush Walkway route stay on the well-formed track and you will wind passed groves of nikau, pohutukawa and native kauri that provide a decent amount of shade. The path continues to border the Okura River and you might see a few oystercatchers or even be lucky enough to see some horses exercising in the river.
The last part of Okura Bush Walk gently winds down through the bush to finish at Haighs Rd where you can high five your travel companion or literally pat yourself on the back (if solo) for completing a beautiful and decent walk.
- Stillwater is 35.5 km north from downtown Auckland. The northern entrance of the Okura Bush Walk can be accessed from Duck Creek Rd, off Spur Rd.
- Alternatively, the southern entrance at Okura is accessed from Haighs Access Rd, off East Coast Rd.
- If you are walking the first part of Okura Bush Walk as part of Te Araroa you may be keen to know that you can camp at Dacre Cottage. Currently the cost is $25 per group (maximum of 12). Phone Peter Townsend on 027 4529 255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: If you’d like to read my post on the Te Araroa section (Orewa to Stillwater) that leads into Okura Bush Walk click here.