Long Bay Beach, Bush & CliffsBeginner
Submitted by Jenny Hirst
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Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Native bushBeachCoastalOpen farmlands
Regional Park - dogs only allowed on beach with certain hours, not on trails to the north of beach.
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
Use the suggested route - this includes returning along the beach. No beach, no FKT!
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This route is part of the Shoe Science Auckland Collection
This run can have a few variations depending on the tide (low-tide gives more beach/rock-hopping options) and whether you want to run the beach or the road/park to start and finish. This is the suggested route that should be followed if you're interested in claiming an FKT:
Park at southern end of Long Bay Beach. Head north on the access road , almost to the end (if you prefer you can run on the grass alongside the road).
After about 1km there is a track entrance on your left, take that. A short way along the track there is a junction with a path leading up to Long Bay Shopping centre, do not take that, rather veer right (signposted as Coastal Track) and continue over a wooden bridge across the Vaughn river onto a wide gravel track. There is a footwash station on your right, stop and spray your shoes.
Continue up the hill on the wide path, watch for mountain bikers (not many). You will pass a sign for "Nature Walk" on your right, but keep going - you will explore that on the return trip. Once you reach the top of the hill head towards the sea/cliff, then on your left you will see a sign for "100 Acre Track". Take that track which passes through some regenerating bush and then loops around and descends to the coast, with fantastic views.
At the bottom of the track you reach "Granny's Bay". Turn left and then continue along the trail, with a climb to another viewpoint and then another descent to Pohutukawa Bay. The track (still gravel) climbs again, and then becomes a grass/hardpacked trail winding along the clifftops to the Okura Estuary. This is a crossing point for Te Araroa trailwalkers.
After admiring the views turn around and come back the way you came, but at Granny's Bay head up the hill on the track rather than up the 100 Acre Track. Stick to the path (use the footwash station at top of hill). As you descend towards Long Bay, take the Nature Trail path on your left. This passes through a beautiful stand of native bush with huge puriri and nikau and plentiful bird life. There is a short boardwalk section and some stairs near the end.
You come out of the trail near the Vaughn Homestead - check out the lovely old cottage if you have not done so already. Head left down to the beach - you can easily cross the river if the tide is low, if you do not want wet feet you can go right over the bridge and down to the beach through the park. Run back along beach to the southern end, to where you started. This run can link in with more of the the urban section of the the Te Araroa trail along the north shore, or there are nearby trails in Torbay to explore as well.
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Features of interest
Vaughn Homestead at north end of beach is the original farmhouse, and houses a small museum. There are also numerous WWII fortifications around the cliffs. The park is a marine reserve, and is also home to the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education Centre. The main trail and beach form part of the Te Araroa trail.
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 60%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%
Sealed Road: 15%
Long Bay regional Park starts at the southern end of Long Bay Beach, near the Marine Reserve and Education Centre - at end of Beach Rd there is a bridge on left which is the entrance to the park.
Plenty of parking within the park, note that the gates are shut after 9pm until 6am. It can get busy on holiday or summer weekends in the middle of the day. Buses run from Constellation Station to Long Bay - check online for timetable (route 861 as at Feb 2021)
Windproof jacket, First aid kit, Cellphone.
Numerous drinking taps within the beach area of the park. No water source from the north end of the beach to Okura River - and it can be hot and exposed in summer.
None in particular
Pukekos can get a bit feral during nesting season. Pohutukawa Bay on the trail is "a clothes optional" beach - not sure if that is a hazard?
Post run indulgence
Long Bay Surf Club (not actually a surf club - it is a bar) ,
Corner of Bounty Rd and Glenvar Ridge Rd, in new Long Bay subdivision/shops near beach
Pizza, chips, beer
967 Beach Rd, Torbay
Good coffee and interesting brunch menu
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