drew thousands of visitors to the southeast coast when it opened last weekend.

The newest Auckland Council regional park is a 188ha "recreational paradise" which combines unique recreational opportunities and conservation and other important park values, says regional and specialist parks manager Mace Ward.

"Unlike other regional parks, which are largely focused on passive recreation or conservation, this one was purchased and developed as a place for Aucklanders to play."

Waitawa has a campground for kayakers exploring the southeast coast, a sheltered bay safe for swimming and a network of walking, mountain biking and horse riding tracks and trails.

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The park is on the Clevedon-Kawakawa road, 53km from central Auckland.