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The Okura bush walkway, that runs between Okura and Stillwater, is a hidden gem in the East Coast Bays. If you are keen to get the kids off their iPads and out in to nature then there is no better place.
The track runs through regenerating coastal Kauri forest, one of the last stands of established coastal broadleaf and Kauri forest in Auckland. The path follows the Okura estuary, a protected marine reserve and the last estuary of ecological significance in Auckland. The track then drops down to Karepiro Bay where you will see a variety of wading birds like stilts and oystercatchers. After Karepiro Bay the track takes you to the historic Dacre Cottage built in the 1850s. This is a great point to turn around and head back, or for those keen for a longer walk, the track carries on to Stillwater. The forest is home to many species of native bird, with Kereru regularly crashing through the canopy overhead.
And for those of you who fall in love with the area, like I have, there are ways that you can help to preserve the Okura forest. Friends of Okura Bush (FOOB) are a group of likeminded people that are passionate about protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of this precious patch of remnant forest. FOOB regularly fundraises in order to trap pests, control noxious weeds, plant native trees, count birds and monitor the health of the estuary. Working alongside the Auckland Council and DOC, FOOB are the voice of the forest, ensuring that generations of Kiwis to come get to enjoy this magnificent piece of New Zealand native bush.
If you would like to get involved by becoming a member, financial supporter or volunteer please visit www.okurabush.org.nz to sign up.
See you in the bush!
Erica Stanford - Chair, Browns Bay Business Association
Channel Magazine: Issue 69 September 2016