Karekare is a black sand beach on the west coast of the North Island (about 40 minutes out of Auckland) - The Piano was filmed here.
The beach is wild and rugged, and you walk from the car park across sand dunes and an estuary to get to the seafront. If you're not a strong swimmer you're best to stay within your depth, but the water is lovely and it's a great place for beach cricket.
We stayed at Onetangi beach on Waiheke Island for a week in late March, just before the Jazz festival and schools broke for Easter. The beach was deserted and the water was warm. Onetangi Beachfront Apartments were really nice and right on the beach.
Waiheke Island is half an hour on the ferry into the Hauraki Gulf. Fuller Ferries operate a regular service from Auckland's harbourfront;
The three main beaches on the west coast are made up of Bethells/Te Henga, Karekare and Piha. All beautiful and spectacular in their own right. Bethells is a black sand beach and a favourite for walking. Close by is a little inland, one of the regions best wetlands and a refuge for wildlife. Karekare is a rugged place with an immense landscape and booming surf. An amazing sight to behold on any day. Piha is a great place for activity. Surfing, boogie boarding and frisbee to name a few. Its a lovely place to picnic and there is a camping ground so you can stay overnight and catch the early surf. All three beaches are a must to visit for their beauty and closeness to the spirit of New Zealand.
Bethells/Te Henga - From Scenic Drive, Waitakere Road, Te Henga Road, Bethells Road. Karekare - From Scenic Drive, West Coast Road, Piha Road.
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