Time and distance:
This track takes you through regenerating coastal kauri forest along the Okura River estuary and edge of the Long Bay – Okura Marine Reserve to Karepiro Bay and historic Dacre Cottage, and on to Stillwater.
From Haighs Rd the track follows the Okura River estuary through mixed coastal forest, with groves of nikau, pohutukawa and regenerating kauri. After a 20 min hill climb the track drops down to the rivers edge where you may see a variety of wading birds such as stilts and oystercatchers.
It then climbs to a headland before dropping quite steeply to Karepiro Bay, where the restored historic Dacre Cottage is located at the northern end. Dacre Cottage was built in the 1850s by Henry Dacre, son of the retired sea captain Ranulf Dacre, who bought the Weiti block in 1848.
If heading to Stillwater, you can follow the coastline at low tide, or take the overland track, climbing steeply above the coastal cliffs, with good views of Karepiro Bay and the Hauraki Gulf, before dropping back to the Weiti River estuary. From here the track follows the river, crossing private land to the Stillwater car park.
Note: due to storm damage, a section of track between the sand spit and the staircase is very narrow - take care.
The walkway runs between Okura and Stillwater. The southern entrance at Okura is accessed from Haigh Access Rd, off East Coast Rd and is 28 km from downtown Auckland.
The northern entrance at Stillwater can be accessed from Duck Creek Rd, off Spur Rd which runs off East Coast Rd. Stillwater is 35.5 km from downtown Auckland.
The track adjoins the Long Bay - Okura Marine Reserve (restrictions apply).
Sections of the track may become slippery after periods of rain. Keep to the track when crossing private farmland, and take care around stock. Leave gates as you find them.
Karepiro Bay and Stillwater are fragile areas, with New Zealand dotterel and oystercatcher populations. People pose a threat to these shorebirds by disturbing nesting birds - birds will not return to incubate their nests until you have gone and eggs can overheat or become chilled quickly. Stick to the track and stay well away from birds during their nesting season (from about mid-September on). Take care when you walk on the beach to avoid crushing their well-camouflaged eggs.
Dogs are not permitted on the tracks because of the threat they pose to stock and wildlife, with the exception of certified assistance dogs.
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.