A pleasant circuit, connecting several tracks and exploring the majority of Whakanewha Regional Park. Coastal forest, secluded swimming beach.
From the car park, locate the start of the Nikau Track across the road. This track climbs gently into a dry nikau palm gully. At a junction, take the Tarata Track on the right, across the Central Track to the Cascades, a short loop that follows a pretty stream. Return to the Tarata Track, and pass the first junction.
The Tarata Track sidles through nikau-puriri forest then on into kanuka, and up to the track following Carson's Road. Turn left and left again, then right to follow the kowhai track up to the park entrance road junction. From here, cross over to the left side of the road and locate a driveway with a wide track starting up on the left. Take the Cathedral Track downhill through a brief section of high nikau forest and on into grassy parkland. Pass Dotties Lane and continue on down to the beach.
Rare New Zealand dotterels nest on the beach, accompanied by variable oystercatchers, paradise shelducks, white-faced herons, and pied stilts.