A laid-back seaside village 45 minutes west of Auckland city, Piha is popular with local kiwis - especially in summertime. The dramatic beach, which is marked at each end by rugged cliffs, is a popular surfing location. The water has strong and often dangerous currents. However, in summer, surf lifesavers patrol an area clearly flagged for swimmers.
You can take surfing lessons or try abseiling down the Piha canyon. Bring a picnic or visit the beachside surf club for a bite to eat.
In terms of accommodation, there are cottages and caravans for rent, a campground and a B&B home stay. It’s also possible to rent private beach houses. Remember to book ahead, especially during summertime which is high season.