russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr
russellstreet on Flickr

6 Best Things to Do in Piha

© russellstreet on Flickr

Piha Activities and Attractions You Can’t Miss!

Situated on the rugged coast of Waitakere Ranges, Piha is a super popular city escape in the Auckland region! It’s only a 40-minute drive from Auckland city, yet a world away with its sweeping black sand beach, wilderness walking trails and, of course, its surf! Find out what kind of activities you could be doing with this list of things to do in Piha. Many of the attractions are also included in guided tours from Auckland.

Piha is one of the better-known coastal areas of the Waitakere Ranges, but we recommend checking out some of the other amazing beaches that we list in Where to Find Black Sand Beaches in Auckland. Plus, find out more to do in the Waitakere Ranges in our Waitakere Ranges – Guide for Backpackers.

1. Stop at the Piha Beach Lookout

Before driving into Piha, keep an eye out for the Piha Lookout parking area on the side of Piha Road. Here, you’ll get that prime photo spot of Piha Beach and Lion Rock!

Location: Piha Road, about 2.6km (1.6 miles) from Piha Beach.

6 Priceless Things to Do in Piha©

2. Check Out Kitekite Falls

Take a 45-minute easy walking track through the native forest to the impressive Kitekite Falls! At 40m (131ft) high cascading down multiple tiers, the Kitekite Falls is a stunning location in the Waitakere Ranges. You can either return on the same walking track, complete a loop track back to the car park on the Kitekite Track taking a further 45 minutes, or following the hiking trail to the top of the waterfalls, taking a further 30 minutes. For more waterfalls worth getting to, see our 12 Most Wonderful Waterfalls in New Zealand.

Location: Glenesk Road.©

3. Watch the Sunset from Piha Beach

Piha’s long-stretching black sand beach is great for taking a stroll on, but it’s better at sunset! Being on the est coast of New Zealand, Piha Beach experiences amazing sunsets often casting brilliant colours across the sky!

Location: Piha Beach.

 Kiwi Flickr on Flickr© Kiwi Flickr on Flickr

4. Climb Lion Rock

See that giant rock in the middle of Piha Beach? Well, you can actually climb up that rock to get sweeping views of the Tasman Sea. The eroded neck of a volcano, Lion Rock is an interesting feature from all angles, but climbing the rock will reward you with amazing views. Note that you can’t climb all the way to the top due to a rockfall that has made the final section of the climb too dangerous, but there are still spectacular views to enjoy along the way.

Location: Lion Rock, Piha Beach.

russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr

5. Surf the Waves

Piha is one of New Zealand’s most popular surf spots with powerful waves! Seasoned surfers will have a blast here with consistent surf and board rentals readily available. Beginners should get a surf lesson, with Piha Surf Academy for instance, as the beach is quite dangerous for beginners. Find out more about Piha Surf Academy on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Location: Piha Beach.©

6. Hike the North Piha Walks

At the northern end of Piha Beach is the Marawhara-White-Rose-Laid Thompson Track Circuit with some of the best west coast views in Auckland! The tracks lead to multiple viewpoints and a side track winds down to the secluded Whites Beach. It’s well worth spending the day to discover these hidden gems of Piha. The whole circuit takes about 2 hours to complete.

Location: Start from either the parking area after the second bridge on North Piha Road or from the walking track sign at the northern end of Piha Beach (this is easy to miss).©


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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