Miranda Wildlife Refuge Walk

Miranda Wildlife Refuge Walk



2 km one-way | 45 minutes one-way

The main reason for attempting the walk is to view the birdlife on the shell banks.

The Miranda Shorebird Centre should be your first stop for up-to-date information on the whereabouts of avian residents.


An outgoing tide is the best time for bird viewing.


From Waitakaruru turn into Front Miranda Road and follow it 9km to the junction with East Coast Road. Turn right and the Miranda Shorebird Centre is a further 3km.

From S.H.2, turn into Mangatangi Road at Mangatangi and follow it 4km to the junction with Miranda Road and turn left. Miranda Shorebird Centre is a further 3km.


The track crosses paddocks behind the shell banks and is lined with orange banded marker posts. Take care following the posts as the track weaves between farm tracks, cattle tracks and formed tracks alongside the lagoons.

Access to the shell banks is generally restricted because the rare shore birds use the area for nesting. Check with the Miranda Shorebird Centre for the best locations to view the birds.


The geology of Miranda region is unique in New Zealand. The active sand and shell chenier is part of the Miranda-Kaiaua chenier plain.

A chenier beach ridge is a shell ridge, which rests on a silt deposit and is isolated from the shore by a band of tidal mudflats.

They are formed by sand and cockle shell bars on the foreshore backing high enough to shelter embayments behind them. These are infilled with sediments that are colonised by magroves and salt marsh plats. Their roots stabilise the substrate and help build the chenier plain.

At Miranda, a series of 13 identifiable ridges have formed to create a 2km wide coastal plain. As sea levels have retreated of the last 4,000 years the focus of shell ridge building has moved seawards.


Some of the more notable species who visit Miranda annually are

Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica
It is thought the bar-tailed godwit migrates 11,000km from Alaska and Siberia without stopping. Birds spend the northern hemisphere summer here, conditioning themselves for the long journey to bountiful breeding grounds.

South Island pied oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris
The birds breed on the South Island and migrate toe harbours and estuaries of the North Island including Miranda.

Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis
The wrybill is the only bird in the world with a beak curving to the right. It breeds on braided river beds of the South Island and spends the non-breeding season in the Auckland Region.

Other birds of note at Miranda include the pied stilt, red-necked stint, sharp-tailed sandpiper, ruddy turnstone, black-billed gulls, white-fronted terns, curlew sandpiper, red knot and Pacific golden plover. All are regularly seen.

The New Zealand dotterel and, variable oystercatcher also breed here.

The tidal mudflats at Miranda harbour a wealth of life, which form the food source for the visiting wading birds. Gastropods such a mud snails, bivalves such a cockle and pipis form and abundant food source.

130 bird species are recorded at Miranda region. 64 wading species, 59 species of shorebird, of which 33 are Artic nesting waders.


Feature Value Info


North IslandAuckland RegionMiranda


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

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Nick Morrison

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