Regional parks

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All our regional parks are rubbish free. Whether you call it rubbish, trash or garbage, please bag it all up and recycle it or throw it away when you return home.

About
Park facilities
Park activities
Tracks
History

About Piha

Piha is one of Auckland's most famous west coast black sand beaches. Part of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, Piha is a popular spot for swimmers and surfers.


Park information

Pedestrian access: 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: 40 km
Park map: Click here to download a park map

Dog walking restrictions


How to get to Piha

Head along the north-western motorway. Get off at Lincoln Road. At the end of Lincoln Road, turn into Great North Road. At the 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. Continue for 200m then take Piha Road at the junction. Stay on Piha Road and it ends at Piha Beach.

View larger map


Maps

Park facilities

SCC campgrounds and designated parking areas
SCC campgrounds and designated parking areas Glen Esk Road SCC parking area Log Race Road SCC parking area
Beaches
Beaches

Piha is a wild surf beach with black sand.

Interpretation
Interpretation
Limited mobility toilet
Limited mobility toilet

There is wheelchair access to the toilets at Glen Esk.

Mobility access (partial)
Mobility access (partial)

Glen Esk - this area has a flat picnic area close to the carpark with a flat metalled loop walk. Not suitable for wheelchairs but very popular with elderly visitors who like to enjoy a picnic at this tranquil spot with minimum effort.

Notice board
Notice board
Parking
Parking

Glen Esk Road

Picnic tables
Picnic tables
Ranger office
Ranger office
Sealed access road
Sealed access road
Toilet block
Toilet block
Toilets
Toilets

Park activities

Tracks

History

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.

Blow-Hole Bay, Piha.  The youtube video below shows the Byers showing historic photos and telling family stories linked to this spectacular place - now part of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

Piha's top secret radar station, which operated above Piha was designed to identify and monitor enemy aircraft flying into Auckland's airspace during WWII. The youtube video below guides you around the remnant on the site, explaining what was where and why.

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.