Shooting out eastward just before Orewa, the Whangaparaoa Peninsula is a heavily developed spit of land with a sizeable South African expat community. At its tip is this gorgeous 376-hectare regional park, its native wildlife protected by a 1.7km pest-proof fence.
Sheep, cows, peacocks and pukeko ramble over the grassy headland, while pohutukawa-lined Te Haruhi Bay provides great views of the gulf islands and the city. Walking tracks take between 40 minutes and two hours, exploring native forest, WWII gun embankments, Māori sites and lookouts. If you can’t bear to leave, there’s an idyllic beachfront camping ground with flush toilets and cold showers.