Karekare is a popular surf beach, and a coastal settlement. It is a geographically contained area with constrained vehicle access and limited parking capacity. Council provides and manages the carpark and public toilets at the main car park. There is a pou whenua situated alongside this car park.
||Open 24 hours
|Summer gate opening hours:
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Daylight savings)
|Winter gate opening hours:
8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Non daylight savings)
|Distance from CBD:
How to get to Karekare
Head along the north-western motorway. Get off at Lincoln Road. At the end of Lincoln Road turn into Great North Road. At first set of lights turn right into Henderson Valley Road. At the roundabout take Forest Hill Road and drive to the end. Turn right into West Coast Road. At the end of West Coast Road turn right into Scenic Drive. Travel approximately 200m and take Piha Road at the junction. Karekare and Anawhata are signposted off Piha Road.
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For many centuries the west coast was occupied by Te Kawerau ā Maki, the local iwi. They established käinga (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.