Surrounded by a nature reserve, this scenic lookout offers picnic areas, walking trails and stunning photo opportunities of beaches with aquamarine water lapping white sand.
Overlooking one of Mercury Bay’s most secluded swimming spots, Shakespeare Cliff Lookout provides sweeping views across the ocean and a comfortable picnic area. Take a stroll through the network of hiking trails that zigzag across the reserve or venture down to Lonely Bay Beach to have a dip in the ocean after you admire the views.
Gaze across the sweeping Cooks Beach, a 3-kilometre (1.8-mile) long stretch of picture-perfect sand with a few houses near the water. Turn your gaze north to look out over the expansive Mercury Bay and the Coromandel Peninsula that dominates the skyline.
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the area around Shakespeare Cliff Lookout. While there are no shops in the immediate vicinity, Cooks Beach General Store and the Whitianga Township are both about half an hour from the reserve on foot. Spread out a rug on the large grassy space to enjoy the afternoon sun or follow the steep trail that leads to the secluded Lonely Bay Beach for a day of swimming. The beach is a local favourite but remains reasonably empty throughout much of the summer due to its secluded location. Bring a snorkel to explore the ecosystems beneath the surface.
Follow the network of hiking trails that traverse the Shakespeare Cliff Reserve to see local fauna and flora. Keep watch for tui and kereru, two native bird species that call the region home. Admire the bright red flowers of the pokhutukawa trees that are found throughout the reserve.
Shakespeare Cliff Lookout can be reached on foot from Whitianga’s ferry landing in just half an hour. Parking is available in the reserve along with public toilets. The park is open at all hours and there is no fee for admission.