Take a day trip to New Zealand's iconic Piha Beach. Photo / Supplied

Neighbourhood Watch: What To See, Eat & Do In Piha

Just a short drive from Auckland, discover stunning walks and waterfalls, good food, and one of New Zealand's most iconic beaches

Only a 45-minute drive from Auckland's CBD, Piha seems worlds away with its wild West Coast beauty. There's nothing quite like the feeling of driving over the hills, through thick native bush, to reach the last big bend and discover the welcoming community of Piha, and an endless expanse of ocean. The small, seaside village offers an array of good food, walking tracks and waterfalls, surf shops, and one of New Zealand's most iconic and stunning beaches. There's plenty to do for a day trip or weekend-long stay. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

READ: 12 Stunning Walks In Auckland & Beyond

Surf Central 
Piha Beach, a resounding favourite of Kiwis, features the West Coast's famous black iron-sand and the iconic Lion Rock. It's surf heaven — it was the birthplace of New Zealand surfing in 1958 — with big, wild waves and a buzzing community of surfies. It's even hosted world surfing events and will again come March 2020 with the World Suf League Challenger series headed to these shores. Like nearby West Coast beaches Bethells and Muriwai, the surf is usually strong and all swimmers are advised to take extreme caution — look out for the flags. 

Refuel after surfing and swimming at Piha Cafe. Photo / Supplied

If sunbathing and picnics are more your style, carry on to North Piha to the right of Piha beach for a more sheltered spot to absorb the heat of the black sand. Be sure to bring your sneakers too and climb to the top of Lion Rock at the north end for stunning views of the rugged coastline. To see why it's named Lion Rock, however, you need to see it from behind on the shore side. From this viewpoint, it looks like a male lion lying down.

The breathtaking Kitekite Falls, one of the most famous in the Waitakere Ranges. Photo / Supplied

Piha is home to breathtaking waterfalls including the Kitekite Falls, one of the most famous in the Waitakere Ranges. The waterfall has six drops, and tumbles over 40m, and the water lands into a large pool at the bottom suitable for swimming. There's a great lookout shortly before reaching the falls on the (more or less) easy walking track under a canopy of lush, green trees. For another stunning waterfall, neighbouring Karekare Falls is a short drive away, 

Catch A Gig
Book in a fun night at Piha Bowling Club which regularly hosts rugby games, stand-up comedy, and local Kiwi bands such as Marlin's Dreaming. And of course, a cracking round of bowls. There's a restaurant and bar onsite and comfy armchairs to cosy into with a craft beer. 21 Seaview Rd, The Domain

Dip your toes in Piha's iconic black sand. Photo / Supplied

Food & Drink
Refuel after all that surfing and swimming at Piha Cafe. The inviting, eco-friendly cafe serves organic Fairtrade Kokako coffee, hearty brunch, crispy pizzas, fresh baking, local craft beer, and has a cool, laidback atmosphere. Next door at the Piha General Store, call in for pies and other hot food, groceries, grab-and-go items and ice creams including the coconut-based Nice Blocks range. Or keep it traditional Kiwi, and order fish and chips from Piha RSA, on Beach Valley Rd. 22 Seaview Rd, Piha; 26 Seaview Road, Piha; 3 Beach Valley Rd, Piha

Lion Rock Surf Shop rents surfboards and body boards. The Piha Surf Shop also has surfing gear, board hire, and t-shirts to buy. 26 Seaview Rd, Piha; 122 Seaview Road, Piha

Please let us know your favourite Piha spots by emailing our team at viva@nzherald.co.nz 

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