Did you know that despite being New Zealand's largest city, Auckland has a fantastic range of beautiful regional parks and other campgrounds close by that are also perfect fishing locations?
We lived in Auckland for nearly a decade and spent many of our weekends fishing at these stunning spots.
Are you ready? Let’s start from the South.
1 Tapapakanga Regional Park
Our first camping and fishing spot is the incredible Tapapakanga regional park near Kawa Kawa Bay to the South East of Auckland. This has always been one of our favourite spots.
Back in the day, you could still camp here with campervans and motorhomes right by the water.
But nowadays, this is reserved for tent camping only.
This campground is an ideal base for surfcasting and kayak fishing. We caught many good snappers here. With a kayak, you just have to paddle straight out for a few hundred metres to get over some good snapper grounds. Or you can paddle around the corner to the left to the Orere Point reef which is always a good spot. Surfcasting is best in the early mornings or late evenings.
From the regional park, it’s also only a short drive to the Kaiaua Mussel farm. Another very popular spot for kayak fishing or for launching small boats.
If you drive back a few kilometres to either Orere Point or Kawa Kawa bay you have lot more options for land-based and boat fishing. Kawa Kawa Bay has a fantastic boat ramp available. It used to be my favourite place for kayak fishing.
You can also go to the fairly new Waikawa regional park which sports a fantastic fishing wharf.
(story of the wharf)
You can only camp here if you have a self-contained camper. But otherwise, it’s only a short drive from your campsite in Tapapakanga and well worth a visit if you like wharf fishing. A good chance to catch kingfish and snapper off this wharf.
Now let's head over to the west coast and check out one of the wildest and probably most stunning campgrounds close to Auckland. This place feels very remote and you could almost think you are somewhere on the South Island rather than 40 minute drive from Auckland.
Whatipu is located right at the entrance to the Manukau Habour.
It is a very hilly and steep drive with the last 10km of steep narrow gravel road. It’s amazing that such a place exists so close to Auckland. At the end is a tranquil little campground equipped with composting toilets, cold showers and picture-perfect views. This is the ideal base for setting up camp and exploring the various rock fishing and surfcasting options at the Harbour entrance.
It is a 15-minute walk from the campground to the water. The fishing here can be spectacular but be aware that it gets pretty crowded on weekends. So you have to come early to secure your rock spot. Otherwise, you can walk further along the beach to find a good surfcasting spot.
The harbour entrance is a great spot to target big kahawai, kingfish and snapper.
Lots of water and current flow through here and you need to fish with fairly heavy gear and sinkers.
Muriwai is our second camping and fishing spot on the West Coast of Auckland.
It is a dramatically wild west coast beach and has everything you need for a great camping and fishing trip. The campground is perfectly located behind the dunes and from here you can walk to the beach in the evenings for surfcasting or you can walk to the rocks at low tide and fish from there. Now, this rock fishing spot is known to be very dangerous and many people have died here over the years. You need to be very careful, never turn your back on the sea, wear a life jacket and watch the weather. When conditions are calm this spot can produce amazingly good fishing. You can also drive a little further to the 4wd access point at the Woodhill forest entrance. This area can be great for drone fishing, Kontiki fishing and surf casting.
Another good spot between Muriwai and Whatipu is Piha. There is also a nice campground and this beach offers some good surfcasting when the conditions are calm. And you can walk around the rocks on the left to fish off some ledges. Although this can be very difficult and dangerous when the sea is rough. Personally, we prefer Muriwai for fishing, Piha is definitely worth a try and besides fishing, this is also an incredibly beautiful beach for relaxing or surfing.
Now let's head back again to the east coast. We travel further north over the harbour bridge and to the end of the Whangaparoa Peninsula. Here you can find the greatest of all Auckland regional parks. The Shakespeare Regional Park is a fishing and camping dream come true.
The campground is large and well looked after with lots of soft grass. It is located right behind the dunes and is ideal to launch kayaks here. You can also walk to the rocks at low tide or surf cast from the beach directly. This park is stunning and if the fishing is not good you can go for extended walks with incredible views of Auckland city.
This beach is South facing and fishing here is best on northeasterly winds. If you are faced with southerlies you can drive back a few kilometres to Army Bay and launch your kayak or boat here. Army Bay is a well-known fishing and boat launching spot. There is a reef not far out from shore that can produce great fishing. I used to fish here regularly with a very good success rate.
Mahurangi is probably the most visited regional park by kayak fishers. This bay is ideal for launching kayaks and because it is so sheltered it will be fishable on most days, except when there is a strong northerly blowing. During the weekdays this is a perfectly calm and peaceful campground next to the water's edge. But on a weekend you are hard-pressed to find a parking spot here let alone get a campsite without a long reservation.
Despite its ever-growing popularity it still is a great camping and fishing spot. Not only for kayak fishing but also for rock fishing as on low tide you can walk to pudding island and have a great land-based fishing spot at your fingertips. I used to camp and fish here a lot. The only downfall for me these days is that there is hardly any mobile reception here.
There is also a cool walk-in or boat-in campsite for tents around the headland. It’s actually only a short 20minute walk over the hill to get there and this is a great option if you like a slightly more remote camping experience. We used to load up our kayak with camping gear and paddle there from Mahurangi.
Watch those fishing spots on youtube: