Bush and beach walks
Piha beach and the surrounding area contain an abundance of awesome bush and beach walks. Piha Beachstay is located at the heart of the Waitakere Ranges with easy access to all of the nearby walks.
Piha has a interesting history dating from the early days of the Maori - Te Kawerau a Maki during the 17th Century through to the European Settlers arriving in the 1830's -40's.
Kauri Timber Milling endured over the 1850's to 1930's. To help transport the kauri logs to the mill, as many as 100 dams were built in the ranges during the 19th and early 20th centuries, some of which can still be found, most notably Black Rock Dam. Some wooden stringers remain in place over the Piha Stream.
Probably the most remarkable acheivement was the 14 km Tramway taking timber down the coast along beaches and over steep bluffs to the Paratutae Wharf at Whatipu.
By the time the timber fellers had finished they had taken 1.2 million cubic metres of timber leaving bare hills and a few remote stands of mature kauri. With the development of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park the forest is well on the way to a full recovery.
The Geological History of the Waitakere Ranges dates back 22 million years to when the Waitakere Volcano erupted from the sea floor for 7 million years. It gradually grew until it was 50km in diameter and 3000m in height forming islands above the ocean. You can see the rock of the waitakeres is a mixture of rocks, gravel sand and water from the underwater lahars.
About 16 million years ago the Waitakere Volcano was thrust up out of the sea and was slowly eroded over the next 10 million years leaving behind the ridges, gullies and volcanic bombs.
Recommended Walking Tracks (sorry incomplete: work in progress..)
Tasman view Lookout-
Black Rock Dam-
Mt Zion to Pararaha Valley-
Kitekite falls - a short 30min walk (one-way) into the splendid isolation of this valley of native rainforest. This is a great place to swim in summer (or in winter if you are really keen) Recently a history of the Kauri Tree Logging in the area has been presented with displays along the track.
Mt Maungaroa and Kitenui Lookout-
Mercer Bay Loop Track - Panaromic views of the Tasman and Whatipu beach from the steep 200m cliffs. Carry on from here down to Karekare beach.
Lion Rock - This iconic island in the middle of the beach resembles a sitting lion. You can climb over halfway up the back to get a great view of the beach.
Whites Beach and Te Waha Pt-
Karekare Falls and Werera Lookout
Scenic Drive and Piha Road Area.
Upper Nihotupu Dam -From Piha Road and an easy 4km return (1.5 hrs). View the waterfall, reservoir and dam.
Fairy Falls - From the Scenic Drive carpark, explore the mature kauri forest, dramatic waterfalls and the views of Auckland City
Waitakere Dam - From Scenic Drive this walk offers variety with the dam and reservoir, many large Kauri and the historic tramline with tunnel.