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Waitakere Ranges

A train rattles over timber bridges and through glowworm-filled tunnels, while black sand beaches, waterfalls and rain forest provide striking views for hikers.

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.


Guide to Exploring Waitakere Ranges


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See all 1,257 properties near Waitakere Ranges
Piha Beachstay - Hostel £65
Piha Beachstay - Hostel

Piha Beachstay - Hostel

38 Glenesk Road, Piha, Auckland
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated by the ocean, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 6 miles (10 km).

    Piha Presents This Private Picturesque Getaway
    Piha Presents This Private Picturesque Getaway

    Piha Presents This Private Picturesque Getaway

    18 Pendrell Road, Piha, Auckland Region
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on the waterfront, this romantic holiday home is within 1 mile (2 km) of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 6 miles (10 km).

      Cosy Cottage in Bush Setting Close to Beach
      Cosy Cottage in Bush Setting Close to Beach

      Cosy Cottage in Bush Setting Close to Beach

      57 Karekare Road, Karekare, Auckland Region
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Karekare, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Karekare Falls and Karekare Beach. Waitakere Ranges is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) away.

        Romantic Piha
        Romantic Piha

        Romantic Piha

        105c Piha road, Piha
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Piha, this beach apartment building is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Piha Surf School and 2 mi (3.2 km) from Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Falls are also within 3 miles (5 km).

          Lion Rock Lookout - Piha Holiday Home
          Lion Rock Lookout - Piha Holiday Home

          Lion Rock Lookout - Piha Holiday Home

          57 Piha Road, Piha, Auckland Region
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Piha, this holiday home is 0.5 mi (0.7 km) from Piha Surf School and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

            Surfer's Sunshine Cottage - Piha Holiday Home
            Surfer's Sunshine Cottage - Piha Holiday Home

            Surfer's Sunshine Cottage - Piha Holiday Home

            82 Seaview Road, Piha, Auckland Region
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Piha, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 6 miles (10 km).

              Explore Piha - Piha Holiday Home
              Explore Piha - Piha Holiday Home

              Explore Piha - Piha Holiday Home

              74 Seaview Road, Piha, Auckland Region
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Piha, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within 6 miles (10 km).

                Slice of Kiwiana in the Pohutukawas
                Slice of Kiwiana in the Pohutukawas

                Slice of Kiwiana in the Pohutukawas

                50 Beach Valley Rd, Piha, Piha, Auckland Region
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  This family-friendly Piha holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Karekare Beach and Waitakere Ranges are also within 6 miles (10 km).