The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is a 30-minute drive west of downtown Auckland. The 39,500 acres (15,985 hectares) of native forest are bordered by beaches to the west and the city to the east.
Explore the artistic hamlet of Titirangi, which has galleries and cafés, before continuing into the ranges to the Arataki Visitor Centre. Located on a ridge and guarded by an imposing Maori carving, the center is the gateway to this arresting landscape and a good place to get the latest information on guided tours, activities such as canyoning and horseback riding, and walking trail conditions.
The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park has trails for all fitness levels, from short walks dotted with information panels, to four-hour-long trails that wind their way through tranquil, birdsong-filled environments.
For the really adventurous, the Hillary Trail is a 47-mile (75-kilometer), four-day hike, with camping facilities dotted along the way. The trail is something of a pilgrimage for hiking enthusiasts. It starts at Arataki and winds down the coast to Huia Bay, before curving north to take in the stunning black sand beaches of the west coast.
Karekare was the beach featured in the 1993 film The Piano. Piha Beach is a popular surfing spot, but rips can make the beach unsafe for swimming, so it’s important to check with local surf clubs before venturing into the water.
A small railway, the Rain Forest Express, takes guided tours from Swanston on the edge of the ranges to a picnic area at Upper Nihotupu Dam. Keep an eye out for glowworms and weta (nocturnal insects) as you pass through caves and pipeline tunnels.
Take a wine-tasting tour around several vineyards in the Henderson Valley to try local wines and ports, and sample gourmet flavors in a winery restaurant.
The ranges are easily accessible by car. Come as a day trip from Auckland or spend the night at one of the bed-and-breakfasts, beach houses or hotels dotted along the coast and Scenic Drive.
Situated by the ocean, this hostel is 1 mi (1.7 km) from Piha Surf School and 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 6 miles (10 km).
Situated in a regional park, this hotel is within 9 miles (15 km) of Artisan Wine, Babich Wines and Trusts Stadium. Rain Forest Express and Titirangi Golf Club are also within 12 miles (20 km).
Situated by the ocean, this holiday home is 0 mi (0 km) from Bethells Beach and within 12 miles (20 km) of Waitakere Golf Club and Kerr Farm Wine. Babich Wines and Soljans Estate are also within 16 miles (25 km).
Situated in Swanson, this apartment is 2 mi (3.3 km) from Waitakere Golf Club and within 6 miles (10 km) of Babich Wines and Trusts Stadium. Artisan Wine and Bethells Beach are also within 9 miles (15 km).
Situated by the sea, this guesthouse is within 9 miles (15 km) of Bethells Beach, Waitakere Golf Club and Babich Wines. Kerr Farm Wine and Soljans Estate are also within 12 miles (20 km).
Situated near the beach, this holiday home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Titirangi Golf Club, Avondale Sunday Market and Artisan Wine. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 20 mi (32 km).
Located in the heart of Henderson, this apartment is 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from Artisan Wine and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Babich Wines. Auckland Zoo and Titirangi Golf Club are also within 9 miles (15 km).