Piha Beach New Zealand: Your Complete Guide To This Gorgeous Black Sand Beach


Piha Beach New Zealand
Piha Beach New Zealand

In this post, I am going to talk about Piha Beach New ZealandPiha and its iconic black sand beaches are one of Auckland's most popular neighborhoods. Lion Rock sits proudly in the middle of the beach and is set in the natural subtropical rainforest of the Waitakere Ranges. There's no way you should miss out on Piha beach from your New Zealand itinerary! 

A Brief History of Piha Beach New Zealand

Piha was originally a Māori settlement settled by Māori from Te Kawerau a Maki and the name 'Piha' comes from the original name for the rock now known as Lion Rock. 'Tepiha' refers to the ripples that break off the prow of a canoe, a metaphor for waves crashing around a rock.

Europeans discovered large kauri trees and built plants under their skin by the 1920s. Since then, Piha has become a resort destination with many holiday homes. Today, Piha has a permanent population of around 1,000 (including a bush and two beach guides), and that number increases considerably during the summer months.

Piha Beach New Zealand Geology

Piha has a famous black sand beach, mainly volcanic remnants eroded from the Taupo volcanic field, which flows down the Waikato river into the Tasman Sea. The sand is titanomagnetite with high iron content. Our tour guide carries a magnet to show the high level of metal in the iron sand. If you're on one of the tours to the west coast beaches, ask your guide to try this out. The entire Waitakere Ranges were formed by a 20 million-year-old volcano and Lion rock (or Te Piha) is the remnant of a volcanic vent.

Surfing At Piha Beach New Zealand

Piha Beach New Zealand
Surfing at Piha Beach New Zealand

Piha Beach New Zealand is known for its great surfing, and in 1958, two California surf lifesavers (Bing Copeland and Rick Stoner) from Piha brought a Malibu board and surfed across the wave face, introducing modern surfing to New Zealand. Many surf competitions are held in Piha.

Auckland to Piha Beach

One of the attractions of Piha Beach is that it is less than an hour's drive from New Zealand's largest city. Short trips from Auckland to Piha Beach are more popular on weekends and during the summer months.

If you are planning to stay overnight during peak season, book your accommodation in advance. 

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Where to Stay Near Piha Beach

Enjoy your vacation - romantic Piha - Overlooking the coast, this wonderful property is just a short drive from Piha Beach. However, leaving your room with panoramic views from the balcony can be difficult!

Hostel Life – Piha Beachstay Accommodation – This budget homestay is perfect for solo travelers and couples looking for a beach getaway. Located inland near a lush river, Piha Beachstay Accommodation is a short walk or drive to the ocean and is close to waterfall hikes.

Camping – Piha Domain Motor Camping – the best campground in the area and a short walk to the beach.

👉 See the bottom of the page for the best deals on Hotels, Flights, eVisa, and everything in between.

What Makes Piha Beach New Zealand So Unique?

Piha Beach New Zealand
Piha Beach New Zealand

First of all, Piha is a huge black sand beach! New Zealand beaches come in all shapes and sizes, but there are only a handful of black sand beaches nationwide.

This one is especially special because of the surrounding scenery. Undoubtedly, the star of the show is the massive Lion Rock right in the middle of Piha Beach.

When you're not relaxing on the sand, put on your hiking boots and take in the views from spectacular viewpoints like Tasman Lookout! You can also go down to the far end of the beach for more space if it gets crowded on a hot summer day.

Lion's Rock on Piha Beach New Zealand

This epic block of stone is one of the most iconic images of New Zealand's North Island. Its shape, resembling a ferocious animal, is actually the eroded neck of a volcano that erupted 16 million years ago! These days, you can also explore Lion Rock and climb man-made stairs for better views.

Hike to Kaitekite Waterfall

Just a 20-minute walk from Piha Beach is the stunning Kaitekite Waterfall. This is probably one thing worth leaving the beach area for!

The Jungle Hike takes you through the lush vegetation of the North Island along an easy loop to the waterfall. When you arrive at Kitekite Falls, take some time to explore the magnificent waterfall. The 40-meter-tall spectacle is made up of three different levels, each of which can be reached by climbing stairs.

It is recommended to go early in the morning so that you can swim under the waterfall with no one around. The entire loop only takes about an hour, so take your time!

Piha Beach New Zealand Sunset

Piha Beach New Zealand
Sunset at Piha Beach New Zealand

No matter how you spend your day, there's no better time than sunset on the beach. For a few minutes each day, the entire coast is illuminated as the sun dips below the South Pacific Ocean. Even if we visited on weekdays during peak season, it felt like we had our own beach.

Most day trippers from Auckland to Piha Beach will have already headed home! After a magical stay, we are confident that this is one of the best places to enjoy the Sunset Beach Walk in all of New Zealand.

More Black Sand Beaches Near Auckland, New Zealand

Muriwai Beach

Muriwai is another black sand beach in Auckland, New Zealand. This black sand beach is also a favorite haunt of 'gannets', a type of large seabird that nests and breeds in groups on Muriwai's black sand beach from August to March each year.

Rock pillars are their ideal mating grounds and raise their young. If this is what you'd like to see and admire, you should definitely head to Muriwai Beach.

Karioitahi Beach

Located in Auckland's Franklin District, Karotahi Black Sand Beach is an hour's drive from Auckland. Actually, all of Auckland's black sand beaches are only an hour's drive away, so I think you can visit all the black sand beaches in a few days stay in Auckland.

The length of the beach is conveniently suited for the sport of 'blokarting', which is actually "land sailing". Yes, you drive a boat-like vehicle with sails. If you're not looking for some action, just go for a walk and leave the action behind.

Karekare Beach

35 kilometers west of Auckland's city center is a stunning black sand beach - Karekare Beach. 

The current at this beautiful beach is too strong for swimming or surfing, which is why this Kiwi black sand beach is less visited than Piha Beach. But I think it's more beautiful than Piha Beach. 

Karekare's remote and picturesque landscapes have inspired filmmakers, writers, and tons of photographers from all over the world. The beautiful Karekare Falls are a short walk from the main beach.

Bethells Beach (Te Henga), Auckland

It is located on the west coast of Auckland, and just like other beaches on the coast, also has black sand beaches. It's simply one of the most gorgeous, virgin, and romantic beaches of all. A place in the world that is less traveled by people is called 'romantic', right? It's a strange way to describe romance :)

Nearby Maori Bay and O'Neill Bay are ideal spots for water surfing.

Whatipu Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Another black sand beach in Auckland is located near Manukau Harbour. It's known for powerful currents, so it's not suitable for swimming. However, I think it's perfectly safe to walk on this black beach located south of Waitakere Hill.

A few minutes' walk along the black sand beach leads you to the Huatipu Caves, which serve as emergency shelters for campers on Huatipu beach!


We hope this piece of content about Piha Beach New Zealand was informative and thought-provoking! Well, by thought-provoking, we mean it should inspire you to plan a trip to Piha Beach New Zealand at the earliest possible!

Have you been to Piha beach? Did we miss out on something about Piha Beach New Zealand? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

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