Posted in Auckland Tamaki Makaurau

Cornwallis Beach: One of Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau’s Best Kept Secrets

Cornwallis Beach is just 30-35km from Auckland City Central and yet if you come here on a week day (not school hols) you are more than likely to find you have the whole beach all to yourself.

Cornwallis Beach is part of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and is a popular, safe spot for family picnics and swimming.

Location: Pine Avenue, Cornwallis, Auckland 0604

  • Pedestrian access – Open 24 hours
  • Gate access summer – 8am to 9pm (Daylight saving)
  • Gate access winter – 8am to 7pm(Non-daylight saving)
Janet & Helen, Cornwallis Beach circa 1969

Here you will find about 1.3 km of sandy beach on the Manukau Harbour, just great for walking. The water here is usually calm and flat because of the sheltered harbour so it is good for swimming and paddling with the kids.

However, it can be slightly muddy when the tide is out so be sure to check for high tides and water quality before you plan a visit.

There are lots of shady trees along the shoreline and a large grassy area for a picnic. Even on a busy day you can still find a secluded spot in the shade.

There is also a 200 metre long wharf which is the last of the Manukau Harbour’s 16 ferry wharves.

Watch a short 1 min video of my beach walk

The beach was previously lined with holiday baches with a thriving beach community and we spent many carefree holidays here in the 1960s.

I recall boat races, an annual sports day on Jan 1st, a shop on the beach selling TT-2 ice blocks and playing cards in the evenings.

The baches were removed in the late 1970s and the beach was returned to a more natural state for all to enjoy. At the time the bach owners fought hard to retain their holiday spot but ultimately the fight was lost. It was hard at the time but in my opinion it was the right decision and served to benefit all of the people of Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau who can now fully enjoy this beautiful beach and park.


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