Atiu Creek is part of the Auckland Regional Parks - about 90 minutes from central Auckland heading North west. There is a stretch of dirt road (unsealed) but otherwise the roads a good. Driving is slow because of the twists and turns. Using the R16 we encountered almost no other cards once outside of Auckland city. It is a beautiful drive with some very picturesque views.
It is open to the public and access is free. It is an 850Ha property recently gifted to the region by a family who still farm sheep in and around the park. Their previous homestead is now converted into two cottages which can be hired by the public. The Auckland Regional Parks website is very comprehensive and has most of the information you need: http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/home
PLEASE read the driving instructions carefully: access to the cottages is on a fairly obscure road before you get to the main gate of the park - we missed it completely. If travelling at night you need to be extra vigilant in order to spot it.
We rented Takahe cottage which can sleep 11 people. It has wonderful views across the meadows down to the Kaipara harbour.
The park is set in hilly terrain with sweeping vistas all around and a working sheep farm encompassing the land. It is a place for solitude and for appreciating nature. There is a camp site and a wool shed where shearing takes place; but essentially the activity revolves around walks in the forest and cycling around the park. Although the park stretches down to the water it is not really accessible, there is no beach, there are mudflats and the water is very tidal. Just avoid the temptation to swim or get into the water - it is for viewing only.
Takahe cottage is basic but fully equipped. There are four rooms: At the front of the house a room with two single beds (it is somewhat removed from the other rooms). In the main section is a room with two singles and then a much smaller room with one single bed. Down a long passage is the fourth room which is really a dormitory with three double bunks and two additional mattresses.
There are two bathrooms each with a shower and one has a bath. There is a separate toilet.
The beds have some pillows (no pillow cases) and mattress protectors - no sheets; so it is best to bring all your own bedding. The kitchen is well equipped but I would suggest bringing a pair of kitchen scissors, extra drying towels and scouring sponges. There are sufficient pots and pans for most regular cooking (even two muffin tins) but BYO everything else.
They use only bio-degradable detergents and cleaners so if you bring extra along ensure they are eco-friendly. There is NO microwave but there is a stove and an over which work well. Big fridge, small freezing compartment. Everything runs on electricity.
There is a large dining room table which can comfortably seat 10. The lounge has couches and chairs for about 10.
There is a large double garage which has a side door. The main door does not open but it is possible to store bikes and other equipment in the garage.
On leaving one is required to clean the house entirely including vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. The cleaning equipment is all supplied. One can leave one's rubbish at the cottage but recycling has to be taken away when you leave.
We had a very peaceful time. We got up early and went for walks, runs, cycles. Then had leisurely lunches and rested/read for several hours before heading out again at around sunset. At night we played board games and enjoyed each others' company. There is an electric fireplace if you visit during winter.
One our first full day there we were very active and covered most of the tracks in the park - we encountered no other people. We had the whole place to ourselves and this was the December holiday peak season!
I would recommend this park if you want to get away from it all and be in peaceful harmony with nature.