'-28 Days on the Road
“Somewhere deep in the New Zealand wilderness is a hidden beach. Only the very brave dare seek it out…” is what we were expecting to find when we saw photos of Whites Beach on Instagram, surrounded by forest and not a soul in sight! However, after a quick Google search we found that the isolated Whites Beach was, in fact, only an hour’s drive out of Auckland. Why had we not heard of this beach before?
Assemble Robin, Laura and campervan!
Finding Whites Beach near Piha was the perfect excuse to use our newly acquired campervan. Until we actually had to drive the thing. Piha is notorious for its winding access road. This, we knew, yet we still underestimated how carefully we would be to handle our campervan on those corners. Robin, the driver for the day doing his first real driving test in this camper, was LOSING HIS SH*T having to drive super slowly on every corner. Even so, all the cleaning products and tools used to bring the campervan back to life were having a party in the cupboards. Remind us to buy some drawer liners on the way home…
Forest, caves and embarrassed seagulls
Despite a drive that got us all flustered, we were pumped to take a hike. (Or maybe that was the feeling of being glad the drive was over). The hike to Whites Beach starts from the northern end of Piha Beach, just after a couple of caves at a sign for the Laird Thomson Track. You can get the full track description in our handy guide to 5 Auckland Road Trips You Can’t Miss.
One minute we were strolling along the black sand Piha beach, the next we were steadily climbing a mountain engulfed in forest. What?! That’s typical New Zealand scenery, people! It changes in a blink of an eye.
After a mere 20-30 minutes, we reached Te Waha Point with a sensational view of our final destination, Whites Beach. The images we had seen on Instagram were fully representative of the serenity of this beach. Gorgeous!
Whites Beach makes a pretty good picnic spot. After sharing a sad-looking lunch box of rice, eggs and mayonnaise (backpacker food for you), we shamelessly climbed the rugged rocks lining the beach and explored a cave. The only ones there to judge us were a few seagulls and an oyster catcher. And judge us they did! We swear, they shook their beaky heads with shame.
Back to the city
Daylight was burning and we still had a few New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year preparations to do. We returned on the same track, taking in some more great views, this time of Piha Beach. After a few pep talks to Robin so that he could get psyched enough to drive the Piha road again, we headed back into the city.
Time to get those drawer liners before those cleaning products escape from their drawers! Warehouse, a cheapish New Zealand department store and K Mart, an even cheaper department store, are ideal for buying these “homeware” items like drawer liners and storage boxes on a backpacker budget. Between us, buying storage boxes was Robin’s highlight of the day – forget Whites freakin’ Beach. Even in our current apartment, he has emptied every Warehouse in Auckland of their storage box stock! Just when they had got more stock in, Robin returns to load up his campervan… Gawd! Nevertheless, storage boxes are a must for a campervan to stop loose items flying around while you drive. Trust us.
And now, this…
What is life without a good balance of discovering hidden beaches and buying storage boxes, ay? On that note, we’ll leave you with Laura’s highlight of the day: a 360 image of us finding a cave on Whites Beach.
Go on, play in the cave
Follow our footsteps & do this trip yourself!
Check out the 5 Auckland Road Trips You Can’t Miss to get the full track description of Piha to Whites Beach. You can even extend your hike to Anawhata Beach, for a real coastal adventure. To explore the regional park of Piha, the Waitakere Ranges, take a look at the Waitakere Ranges – Guide for Backpackers.
Until our next blog post, use our Instagram profile as inspiration for your next New Zealand destinations! We’ll share your adventure on our page too if you use #BackpackerGuideNZ on your photos. For tips and our most popular blog posts, be sure to give our Facebook page a cheeky like. The Backpacking New Zealand Facebook Group is a good place to find travel buddies to share your road trip with too.