Back to Piha

Piha Beach is one of my favorite beaches in New Zealand. I’ve written about it before, and visited there several times.

When I first came to New Zealand in 2014, my friend Brendon took me to Piha. I loved it so much that I’ve been back many times since, and when my parents came to visit last year, I took them to Piha as well. It should come as no surprise, then, that when my girlfriend came to visit in late July, I took her there too! Brendon and his girlfriend Elise came along as well.

(She has requested that she not appear in any photos I put out on the open Internet, so you won’t find her pictured here. I promise she’s not imaginary though!)

Being essentially the middle of Winter, the weather was not the ideal beachgoing climate. We made do.

Awareness of the tides is important for exploring Piha, because if the tide is in then a lot of the cool stuff you might want to check out will be underwater. Fortunately, we arrived as the tide was coming in so we had a chance to take the low route over to the Southern end of the beach.

Along the way is this little keyhole. That’s the Tasman Sea on the other side.

The tide wasn’t at its lowest point, so we did have to climb along the rocks to avoid it occasionally. We all made it though!

At the far Southern end of the beach are these breakers, gating the entrance into a big tide pool. I spent a while here trying to catch a wave crashing on the rocks. I think this is the best of the bunch.

There’s an alternate high route from the South end to the carpark; we took that route back to get some high-up views. I keep looking at shots like this and thinking “if I had a drone, I could get these views all the time”. Maybe one day….

We also climbed Lion Rock, the large and easily-recognizable rock formation on the more Northerly side of Piha. Here’s Brendon demonstrating his excellence at sign-reading and direction-following.

I do quite like this shot of the beach I got from atop Lion Rock (my girlfriend made fun of me for busting out the big lens just to spy on some tourists, so I took this shot to justify getting it out. Turned out to be quite a neat shot. Partial credit to her, I guess!).

We also decided to hike to Kitekite Falls, since we were already basically there at the trailhead.

Sometimes on a hike you see things that you just can’t explain and you really want to know the story behind. Why this pram got abandoned in the bushes is definitely one of those things.

It’s always fun to see your objective peeking through the trees as you get closer!

And there it is! The Waitakere Ranges boast some of the most impressive falls in the Auckland region: these, Fairy Falls, and Karekare Falls all stand out in my mind as being really cool. The falls at the Waitakere Dam are also pretty top. Come here if you want to see waterfalls, is what I’m saying.

The stream is that remarkably clear green-brown which seems to be the trademark of most New Zealand streams.

Winter and rain may not improve the trails any, but they do improve the waterfalls!

On our way back home I stopped to take this photo of the rain over the sea.

Piha, thanks for the memories. I’ll be back. I promise.

Next time: I once again try to stitch together a coherent narrative of my adventures with my girlfriend using only photos that don’t have her in them. This is proving surprisingly difficult, but I will find a way :)

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