Muriwai’s clifftop platforms overlook the gannet colonies that come to life from August to March and offer sweeping views out to the Tasman Sea. Blow out the cobwebs with a windswept walk along the shore.
Piha is one of Auckland’s most popular surfing beaches – but its size means it never feels crowded. Take a surf lesson, refuel at the café and stretch your legs afterwards on one of the local walks.
Just an hour from the city centre, Karioitahi is something of a hidden gem, even to many Aucklanders. Try blokarting, paragliding or horse riding, or take a walk and leave the action behind.
Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is more sheltered than some of the other west coast beaches, making it a great swimming spot. A short walk from the water, go sliding down the sand dunes at Lake Wainamu.
Karekare’s remote, dramatic landscapes have inspired filmmakers, writers and photographers, most notably in Jane Campion’s The Piano. The beautiful Karekare Falls is just a short walk from the main beach.
The magnificent Awhitu Peninsula is a destination of contrasts, where the Tasman Sea crashes on the black sands of the west coast and meets the tranquil eastern bays. Drive right to the end of the peninsula to climb the Manukau Heads Lighthouse.