Tawharanui Regional Park
Northland seems to have a baffling surplus of coastal scenery, and each twist and turn of the road to Tawharanui reveals another magical indentation. Matronly peninsulas shepherd close-knit groups of islands, and each bay is a slice of summer all year round.
Anchor Bay is an open, sandy beach broken with tidal platforms, offshore reefs and headlands with sea caves. Large pohutukawa trees perch on the beach edge. It is hard to walk away from all this, but if you choose to do so, there is a fine walking circuit around the peninsula.
From Anchor Bay follow the farm road up onto the broad tops of the peninsula, crossing an ecology trail. There are good views along the farmland past grazing Hereford cattle and Romney sheep. After about two kilometres you reach a track junction that is about 90 m above sea level, where you have the option of following the peninsula out to Takatu Point. You can see cloud-capped Little Barrier Island in the distance, and Kawau Island nearby to the south.
Follow the track along the south coast and turn onto the side-track that drops through a shady stream with stands of manuka and puriri, then follows alongside a dam, meeting the ecology trail again on the way. Shortly you exit out to Anchor Bay again and that immaculate stretch of sand.