There is a place in New Zealand that has captured my heart.
Piha is one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been. Sure, the views are great, but it’s vibe that drew me in. It has a totally relaxed, comfortable feeling about it.
I will admit, I was in a rather emotional state when I visited Piha. I was travelling with someone who I generally don’t get along with, which always makes for interesting travels, and this was only the beginning of a 4 week journey.
As I gazed upon rose petals covering the beach from a recent wedding, enjoyed seeing children rolling down the black sand dunes, giggling in delight as waves ferociously hit the beach, watched as surfers negotiated the forming waves at the break. With every vision, a curious feeling swept over me.
Piha touched my soul, calming me. It made me appreciate everything around me and allowed me to ignore the rest. I knew then it was a special place. It set me up to continue with the journey that lay before me.
So where is this magical place, you may wonder?
Piha is just west of Auckland, over the Waitakere Ranges. If you have a rental car or campervan, it’s an easy, but somewhat windy drive through tropical bush. From Auckland, you follow Highway 16 to 13 where you will find a quaint beach community on the other side of the ranges.
There aren’t many overlooks along the way, but definitely take in what you can. It was only from above that I understood why Lion Rock was so named. I couldn’t see it from the beach.
When you reach the bottom of the range, head toward the beach and dig your feet into the black volcanic sand. It’s very fine where it’s dry and clumpy when it’s wet. Either way, it’s magical.
Piha is the perfect way to spend time with Mother Nature
and it’s a stones throw from Auckland.
Even without climbing Lion Rock, there’s so much here. Nestled into the mountains is Kitekite Falls. The walk, the trek, the falls – all are gorgeous and worth the time to make this trek.
To get to Kitekite, take Glenesk Road off of Piha Road and drive to the base of the mountains. It is a hike to get to the falls and and about an hour each way but it’s definitely worth it. There is a small incline about hallway along so take some water and a snack. Most importantly, take your time. Oh, and take your camera!
After that adventure, head to North Piha to the end of the road, park your vehicle and follow the trails to the caves. Kids LOVE it here (well, adults do too!). See what you can discover.
But wait, there’s more to Piha!
Grab a coffee from the café and head back on Piha Road. Take the right turn to Log Race Road. It becomes a dirt road, but don’t be deterred. At the end, you will find a secret spot: The New Zealand WWII Piha Radar Station. If you’re a history buff, this is a great place to explore. Even if you aren’t, the views are worth the stop.
I will return to Piha someday. Maybe with Rich? Maybe with Natalie? Or, maybe I will return alone.
I imagine renting a place and staying awhile. Maybe to write a book?
Yeah, it’s that kind of place.