This stunning region includes more than 16,000 hectares of native rainforest and coastline, and natural treasures like the Karekare Falls.
The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is a place where pristine bush, thriving native wildlife and rugged black sand surf beaches come together. The ‘wild west’ feels like another world away, but is only a 40-minute drive from the city centre.
With over 250 kilometres of walking tracks, the ranges are a wonderful place to explore on foot, surrounded by spectacular scenery. Favourite scenic spots like the Karekare Falls, just a few minutes' walk from Karekare beach, are very accessible.
Popular short walks deeper into the ranges include Kitekite track (45 minutes) where you’ll discover waterfalls, streams, pools and beautiful native bush. Native plant life includes nikau palms, silver tree ferns and regenerated kauri. Listen out for the call of the tui and look out for adventure seekers canyoning down the giant six-tier waterfalls.
For those seeking a challenge the Hillary Trail is a self-guided four day tramp through lush native forest and along the wild coast of the Waitakere Ranges. The trail is named after Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand’s most famous mountaineer and explorer, and offers a multi-day tramp with overnight camping. The Hillary Trail connects a network of existing regional park tracks and basic backpacker campgrounds. A high level of fitness and some tramping experience is necessary.
Stop in at Arataki Visitor Centre for track maps and incredible panoramic views before walking among the kauri trees and giant tree ferns. Take in the stunning views from the visitor centre lookouts points, which sweep across the forest back towards Auckland’s skyline.
At the base of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park you’ll find the wild and beautiful west coast black-sand surf beaches of Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Bethells and Muriwai . Don’t miss the huge cliff-top gannet colony at Muriwai and see majestic Lion Rock standing watch over Piha.