They don’t call it the ‘Wild West Coast’ for nothing. With it’s dark sandy beaches and rugged mountain range, this gorgeous bit of coastline is home to some of the best surf spots in the country.

Our first stop on Auckland’s west coast is Piha Beach. It is one of the most visited beaches in all of Auckland and easily recognizable by it’s iconic Lion Rock. Make a short climb up to the top where you will be able to take in the views and admire the stunning landscape. If you are looking for a break from the heat, stop in at the Piha Store and cool off with a yummy ice cream. Try the Kapiti Passionfruit & Yogurts, it’s seriously delicious.

  1. Piha Beach

Next up is Muriwai Beach home to the colony of the beautiful and majestic Gannet’s. These pretty birds live in pairs cliff side. They utilize the force of the strong winds to dive off the cliffs into the ocean in search of their next meal.

Muriwai Beach is also a popular spot for surf lessons. Antoine and I, along with two other friends took a two hour lesson and spent the afternoon trying to catch a wave. If you haven’t surfed before, you will mostly likely find yourself underneath your board ingesting more salt water than you ever thought possible, but if you have ever been on a snowboard or wakeboard before, then you’re golden. The long stretch of sand also makes Muriwai beach also quite popular among families. The waves aren’t outrageously large closer to shore so it’s easy to keep an eye on loved ones.

2. Muriwai Beach

The Waitakere Ranges is a native forest that runs along the west coastline. It is home to an abundance of hiking trails, one of which being the infamous Hilary Trail Tramp. A mere four day hike. That’s right. FOUR DAYS of hiking ,or tramping rather as they refer to it in New Zealand. If you are not quite up for the challenge (I know I wasn’t), there are must shorter trails, I can assure you. One of them being Kite Kite Falls.

3. The Waitakere Ranges

4. Kite Kite Falls

The Waitakere Ranges is home to the beautiful waterfall that is Kite Kite Falls. A 45 minute tramp (not four days) from the parking lot and you’re there. If you are looking for an easy trail but still up for some adventure, then I would highly recommend venturing out to enjoy this natural masterpiece.

Here’s the link to what you need to know before you go : http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/piha/track/Kitekite%20Track

5. Bethell’s Beach – Wainamu Lake

This little gem is a do not miss! Before you arrive at Bethell’s Beach, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the Wainamu Lake track. Lake Wainamu is a small lake nestled among a large sand dune in the Waitakere Ranges. Off the beaten path, literally, Antoine heard about this surreal spot from a colleague otherwise we would have had no idea of its existence. Being it July (winter) when we visited, we had no intention of taking a dip. There were however plenty of locals and tourists alike hurling themselves down the nearest sand dune on a piece of plastic. This activity is commonly referred to as sand boarding. Nothing like flying down a mountain of sand with the wind blowing through your hair and the sand accumulating in your hair, mouth and eyes.. On a more serious note, on a beautiful day this is a spot that definitely warrants your attention.

Feel free to leave a comment! I would love to hear about your experiences in the Waitakere Ranges  or any questions you may have!

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