Anawhata is a spectacular beach that can only be reached by foot. Because it is less accessible, it is much quieter than other beaches in the Waitakere Ranges.
||Open 24 hours
|Summer gate opening hours:
Open 24 hours (Daylight savings)
|Winter gate opening hours:
Open 24 hours (Non daylight savings)
|Distance from CBD:
||Click here to download a park map
Dog walking is prohibited
How to get to Anawhata
From Auckland City, use SH 16 exit (north western motorway) at Great North Road. Follow Great North Road, Ash Street, Rata Street, Titirangi Road to Titirangi Village. At the end of the village, go through the roundabout on to Scenic Drive. Follow Scenic Drive until the Piha turnoff is reached.
Follow Piha Road until Anawhata Road (first road on right hand side). Follow Anawhata Rd for approximately 7.2km; Craw Homestead is on the left. Anawhata Road is gravel and very narrow and winding – please take care.
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For many centuries the west coast was occupied by Te Kawerau ā Maki, the local iwi. They established kāinga (settlements) and cultivated land around the sheltered stream mouths, benefitting from the rich seafood of this area.
Prominent headlands and islands such as Whakaari (Lion Rock) at Piha and Te Kaka Whakaara (The Watchman) at Karekare (originally known as Waikarekare ‘the bay of the boisterous seas’) provided ideal places to build protective pā (fortifications).
Most of the Piha and Karekare areas were purchased from Māori in the mid 19th century and allocated in Crown grants. Both Whites Beach and Mercer Bay are named after early landowners.
The area was intensely milled for kauri timber and remnants of the industry can still be seen, including timber dams and remains of a coastal tramway that ran across Karekare Beach. Milling finally stopped in 1921, allowing the kauri to regenerate.
From the late 19th century, the west coast became a holiday destination and coaches took holiday makers to boarding houses, while others camped informally at Piha and Karekare. Roads were improved by relief workers during the depression of the 1930s and bus services began. Bach communities developed and the first of three existing surf clubs opened at Piha in 1934.
Today, in contrast to remote Anawhata, Piha and Karekare have developed into busy seaside communities, with permanent residents joining the still significant number of holiday bach owners.