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Past Karekare, look out for the Te Ahuahu turnoff where it's difficult to keep your eyes on the road with the extremely distracting views of Piha beach. The end of the road is unsealed, as is the carpark.
Not for the faint hearted, getting down to the beach requires scaling down a cliff, at times using ropes that have been left there, but the long descent is totally worth it, at the bottom you are rewarded with soft, powdery, gold and black sand and unrivalled sea caves. But for those who wish to take it easy there is a lovely walk around the coastal cliffs which, infact, are the highest in Auckland.
Make sure you head out at low tide in order to ensure access the the largest cave as at mid-tide to high tide the access is submerged. If you miss it, no worries, because there is plenty more to see and do.
Watch for seals
Watch out for seals which frequent the west coast and head around to the rockpools, which on a summer afternoon are like a heated swimming pools and perfect for soaking sore muscles. Look for the large bright anemones that line the smaller pools and the giant starfish that hide in the crevices.
Getting back up
The climb back up is not as grueling as one might think and is generally easier than the descent, the hardest part is leaving the wonderful beach behind.
What to bring
- A Torch (those caves sure are dark)
- Togs and Towel
- Beach feet/Water shoes (The rockpools are, well, rocky)
A Word of warning
The track to the beach is not sign posted, nor is it official. You are climbing down at your own risk. If you are just walking the loop track stay behind the barriers as someone lost their life trying to get a photo opportunity.