Piha

Prepare to gasp the first time you lay eyes on Piha. Like a hidden Shangri-La that pokes from the emerald fern forests of the Waitakere Ranges, it gilds the western edge of North Island. You can get here in under an hour from Auckland, which is great news for those who simply can’t wait to trade the Sky Tower for surf swells on the Tasman Sea. But first, some appreciation for the beach itself. Tinted a charcoal color by iron deposits, the sand emerges from verdant fields and is watched over by towering crags. A stack of twisted volcanic stone called Lion Rock dominates the scene at the center of it all. The ocean sloshes into big coves in hues of cobalt and turquoise. Done snapping selfies? Good. The waves are a-calling. Consistent and powerful, there are walled-up sections to ride on both flanks of the Lion Rock. Look for the smaller swells if you’re starting out and always beware of rips in these parts – Piha isn’t the filming spot of NZ’s answer to Baywatch for nothing, you know…

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Piha Articles

  • Hike and Surf New Zealand in 11 Days

    From the sheer-cut fjords of South Island to the smoke-sputtering volcano cones of North Island, New Zealand is brimming with breathtaking natural sites. It’s an obvious destination for any adventure-hungry traveler, touting more wild bays, shimmering beaches, misty rainforests, and snow-capped mountains than you can shake an endangered kiwi bird at (but definitely don’t do […]

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