The Waitākere Ranges is the lush home to native flora and fauna, including giant tree ferns and the mighty kauri tree. Due to kauri dieback disease, some tracks have been closed to protect the kauri trees from extinction. Be sure to check the Auckland Council website or visit the Arataki Visitor Centre for the latest track information.
This majestic mountain range is the ancestral land of the Te Kawerau a Maki, who descend from the earliest settlers of the area. A 12-metre-tall pou at Arataki Visitor Centre honours their deep relationship with Te Wao Nui o Tiriwa, which translates to the Great Forest of Tiriwa. For nearly a century the Waitākeres Ranges were subjected to kauri timber milling and clearing for farming – many of Auckland’s iconic old villas are built from kauri from these forests.
Lace up those sneakers for some fresh air or a full-day adventure. Hike through quiet bush punctuated by birdsong on the Kitekite Falls Track, which take only 15 minutes to reach. Be sure to pack togs and a towel! The Mercer Bay Loop Walk, taking only 50 minutes, is one of the park’s most popular clifftop walks. And while the Waitākeres don’t play favourites, the Ōmanawanui Track is legendary for its sublime 360-degree views of Manukau Harbour and the coastline below.
At the base of the Waitākere Ranges you’ll find some of Auckland’s most popular surfing spots, including Piha and Muriwai Beach. Visit the clifftop gannet colony at Muriwai, tuck into some fish tacos at Piha or scramble up the iconic Lion Rock.
Sitting on the southern edge of the Waitākeres is the leafy village of Titirangi. Stroll along the tree-lined streets, grab lunch or head to the village market held every Sunday. Art lovers can pop into Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery to discover exhibitions on a local and national scale.
Location Te wāhi
Waitākere RangesPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Arataki Visitor Centre is 30-40 minutes by car from the city centre. Sitting at the edge of Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, it’s the best place to start before heading in. Most trailheads and beaches are another 20-30 minutes from here.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
Be sure to clean your shoes thoroughly in the hygiene stations located at some trailheads. This is vital to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.