Stretch your legs with a decent hike and escape from the city to one of Auckland’s secret gems, Duder Regional Park. This 148-hectare coastal park provides unparalleled 360-degree views over the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf, stretching from Rangitoto Island in the west to the Coromandel Peninsula in the east.
The full-day tour includes everything the half-day tour covers, plus you’ll get to visit the site of Whakakaiwhara Pā (a fortified Māori village), view the park’s ancient kauri trees and have lunch at a stunning picnic spot overlooking unspoilt coastal scenery.
You’ll experience almost everything New Zealand has to offer in just one day on this tour, travelling from the bustling city to a nature lover’s playground filled with pristine beaches, native bush and wildlife, panoramic ocean views, historic remains and classic Kiwi farmland with sheep and cows.
Your knowledgeable, experienced guide will explain the rich history of Duder Regional Park, dating back to the 1300s with the arrival of the Ngāi Tai people in the Tainui waka (canoe) from Hawaiiki. You’ll learn about the settlement of Whakakaiwhara Pā and hear stories of the traditional harvesting, gathering and fishing practices that took place here. We’ll also discuss the more recent history of the park, including its significance during WWI and WWII and the story of the Duder family, who began farming in the park in 1866.
We head towards Duder Regional Park via the spectacular Pōhutakawa Coast in a comfortable, air-conditioned van
En route, we make a stop at Maraetai Beach where you can sink your feet into the sand, stroll along the picturesque bay, take photos on the jetty and dip your toes in the water
Following this, we continue our drive along the tranquil, pōhutakawa-fringed shoreline, winding along a narrow coastal road in the direction of Duder Regional Park
On arrival, we leave the van and make our way uphill through lush green farmland, stopping regularly to take a breather and admire the ocean views. As we meander through the working farm, you’ll learn about the park’s sustainable agricultural practices and experience close encounters with the resident farm animals. If you’re visiting in spring, you’ll likely see plenty of playful newborn lambs and calves
As we continue towards Oturia Trig, the highest point in the park, you’ll come across pūkekos and other native wildlife. When we reach the summit for a tea and coffee break, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the Hauraki Gulf, a marine park dotted with over 50 beautiful islands
After a brief rest, we’ll continue through the park to Whakakaiwhara Point. As we make our way along the peninsula, you’ll see several magnificent kauri trees up close. Kauri dieback disease is currently threatening this ancient species of trees with extinction, but Duder Regional Park has been left untouched, preserving these precious trees
As we reach the end of the peninsula, we’ll hike along a narrow path jutting out into the Tamaki Strait, sloping steeply on either side down to the sea. At the end of the path, we’ll view the fascinating remains of Whakakaiwhara Pā and you’ll see why this isolated headland was the perfect place for a defensive settlement
After this, we’ll have lunch at a lovely picnic spot at the end of the point, overlooking serene beaches and the shimmering ocean under the shade of pōhutakawa trees
From here, we head down into the park’s original native forest, preserved when the peninsula was cleared for farming by the Duder family in the late 1800s. As we walk through the dense forest, you’ll see plenty of native flora such as the iconic silver fern, floral mānuka trees renowned globally for their honey, beautiful nikau palms and yellow kōwhai trees filled with singing tūīs and bellbirds. We’ll talk about conservation efforts in New Zealand and explain how Māori traditionally used the plants in this forest for eating and medicinal purposes
As we exit the park, we’ll head back to the van and return via an alternative route, weaving through Auckland’s sleepy outer suburbs towards the city
This tour includes pick up and drop off in Auckland CBD or at Auckland Airport (other locations may be available on request), lunch, snacks, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and digital photos.
Note: Please bring suitable footwear (such as running shoes or hiking boots) and advise us of any dietary requirements when booking the tour.