Vehicles banned from Wildlife Refuge

11 Dec 2009

All vehicles including motorcycles are now banned from the dunes and wildlife sanctuary at the top of South Head.

Papakanui Spit includes a wildlife refuge on Department of Conservation estate and  nearby is the NZ Defence Force bombing range.  

Both these areas are now closed to all types of private vehicles -a move that is fully supported by Kaipara Forest and Bird.

New restrictions also apply to the speed of vehicles on the permitted areas of the foreshore of  Muriwai Beach and the 60 km long, Te Oneone Rangatira Beach that stretches along the West Coast up South Head. 

Slow down, keep off the dunes and comply with road rules is the message for drivers and bike riders on Muriwai and Te Oneone Rangatira beaches from the Auckland Regional Council this summer.

There's been a big increase in the number of incidents involving motor vehicles on these beaches over the last few years, adversely affecting public safety and environmental health.

This has lead to a new campaign by the ARC that will step-up this summer, with support from the Police, DOC, RDC and other local agencies and interests. 

Visitors and locals will see more signs up and an increased presence on the beach of council and police officers enforcing safe and appropriate driving practices.

Muriwai and Te Oneone Rangatira's proximity to Auckland means that they are getting busier, both for passive beach users and vehicles and that means more risks and more incidents on the beach, says Cr Christine Rose from the ARC.

"Erosion has reduced the safe area for picnicking and walking on the beach at high tide, meaning public space is limited and dunes are more fragile.

"More people are driving or riding on the beach and sharing it with many other users. That's swimmers, walkers, fishers, children playing and horse riders. Children, and even adults, are much more vulnerable than a 4WD or motorbike, so we're asking motorised users to really watch out.

"The beach is also home to a host of other inhabitants; wading and migratory birds, shellfish and vegetation. The dunes too are home to many species of bird and plant life, vulnerable and rare native species - together we need to look after these."

The messages to drivers and bikers are; 


Only enter the beach at the road access points (Coast Road and Rimmer Road)

  • Stay off the dunes and only drive on hard sand 
  • Drive slowly and watch for people on foot and on horseback. Your speed should be slow enough to be able to stop quickly without causing injury to yourself.
  • Respect the beach and other users 
  • Note the areas where vehicles are banned completely

Road rules apply on the beach, so drivers need to wear a seatbelt, and bikers a helmet, have a current WOF, registration and the correct driver's licence.  This beach is policed.  To report a traffic incident call *555, for an emergency call 111 and for all other enquires phone 0800 426 5169