With over 800 km of coastline, Kaipara Harbour is New Zealand’s largest enclosed harbour and estuarine system with a high diversity of habitats including freshwater swamps, saline wetlands, coastal scrub and forests. The harbour is an important habitat for a large number of migratory waterfowl as well as a major breeding area and roosting site for some species.
Dune lake in the Pouto Peninsula, Kaipara Harbour
Lake Rototoa Scenic Reserve
The Lake Rototoa Scenic Reserve contains one of several dune lakes on the south Kaipara Peninsula and is accessible from Ototoa Road and Donahues Road. It is a popular fishing spot and the site is used for triathlons and outdoor education.
There are a number of small freshwater dune lakes on the coast near Wellsford with Tomarata Lake having a well formed walking track along the seaward side.
Tawharanui Regional Park wetlands
The wetlands of Tawharanui Regional Park are a mix of coastal lagoon, saline wetlands and freshwater habitat. Brown teal/pāteke have been reintroduced and can be seen enjoying the wetlands.
A spectacular and remote wilderness area, Whatipu is an extensive sandflat on Auckland's rugged west coast. Look out for white-faced herons, little shags, bitterns, spotless crake/pūweto, fernbirds/mātātā and pied stilts/poaka. A range of herbs, including the rare sand spike sedge (Eleocharis neozelandica), can be found.