Auckland Beaches: Piha
|Piha: The surf rolls in around Lion Rock, once crowned by the Whakaari
pa. - Gerri Eller/NZ.Com 1998|
The dramatic Piha lagoon is a traditional retreat for city people.
Centrestage is the hulk of Lion Rock, once a key pa from which the Kawerau
the shoreline. They named the beach for the way the waves break around
the rock. You can
still mount your own assault on the summit up the steep track around
|Piha: Casper makes a break for the surf. - Gerri Eller/NZ.Com 1998|
A lazy seaside settlement has grown up here, and there are stunning
walks through the
|Piha: Phoebe and Heeni with Dad in the rockpools. - Gerri Eller/NZ.Com 1998|
In heavy seas the surf erupts through gaps in the rocks to the south,
and the water has worn a
theatrical, keyhole-shaped fissure through one outcrop.
|Piha: Boogie boarders at play in the Keyhole.
- Gerri Eller/NZ.Com 1998|
60 minutes drive from central Auckland. From the suburb of Glen Eden
take West Coast Road and turn
right onto Scenic Drive. Turn left onto Piha Road. The option is through
Titirangi to Scenic Drive and
The Arataki Visitors Centre provides maps, advice and education on the
walks, natural and
historic attractions in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. The park
Karekare and Piha, but the centre can also help people heading for
Bethells-Te Henga or
Muriwai. On Scenic Drive, 5kms outside Titirangi. Phone 09 817-8470.
The region's parks are administered by the Auckland Regional Council.
Check out their site at
www.arc.govt.nz for basic information, and reservations for camp and
sites, and guided walks. Or phone Parksline on 09 303-1530
There's info about vineyards, adventure tours, arts and crafts and other
attractions on the
way to the beach at Enterprise Waitakere. Phone 09 837-1855 weekdays.
Check out Waitakere
City happenings at www.waitakere.govt.nz..
Near Piha, Rose Hellaby House displays artefacts from the coast's Maori
and settler past, and
there are spectacular views back across the Waitakeres to the Manukau
Harbours. Rose, who donated the former guest-house, was known for her
generous nature and
for mixing killer cocktails. On Scenic Drive, 1km beyond the Piha turnoff
Check the Visitors
Centre for opening hours.
If sun and surf don't chill you out completely, try yoga at Piha. On
every Saturday and daily
in high summer. Phone Melodie on 09 812-8652.
A great new guide to the Auckland region includes in-depth coverage
of the western coast:
all laid out in a series of walks to key places. "A Field Guide to
Exploring the Region's Natural and Historic Heritage" is by Cameron,
Murdoch (Godwit Press). There are plans to make it available through
Weather and Surf
There are MetService forecasts at the
metservice website and on
Check out surf conditions and happenings at www.surf.co.nz or on
All beaches offer patrolled swimming in summer, surfing, fishing, walks,
picnic and byo
barbecue spots, toilets and parking. Piha and Muriwai are more developed
than the other
beaches, and there are basic shops and motorcamps. Muriwai also has
a built-in barbecue site
and an environmental history display.
A caution: These beaches are inviting but rough. Be careful in the water and on the rocks - see The Rules.
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