Our second adventure led us to the Waitakere Ranges on the North Island’s West Coast. Apparently you can spend a lifetime hiking different trails in the Waitakeres, so we thought we’d get started.
One thing we’ve learned quickly is that the weather here is very unpredictable. A weather app will scare you in to thinking it’s going to pour all day, when in reality it drizzles for less than 30 minutes. We’ve gotten very lucky with the rain holding off some days, but on the day of our first Waitakere adventure, that was not the case. Which meant tramping in the rain! But that also meant having the trail completely to ourselves. It was incredible.
After a very twisty-turny drive into the Waitakeres, we started at the Mercer Bay Loop, which is an easy walk. It’s less than a mile (1.4km) but takes about an hour if you want to allow time to ogle. At the beginning of the trail, we felt like we were in a rainforest, ducking under low ferns. But then the path opens to breathtaking views of the coast. It’s one of the highest coastal cliffs, overlooking Muriwai to Whatipu. There are benches along the way if you have time to sit and picnic, or watch the sunset. For other walks, see this map.
After our walk, we continued north to Piha, a surf town home to a famous black sand beach. We heard that the waves are supposed to be rougher, wilder and at their best in stormy weather, which seems accurate given our experience. We saw a few surfers, but it was otherwise empty of the summer crowds. Here’s a great resource if you plan to visit.
We tried to access the more remote Karekare Beach on the way back to Devonport, but the trails were flooded. A wonderful day with amazing views, but It felt amazing to get home and dry off after our adventure.