This weeks ‘View from the top’ is coming to you again from my lovely hometown of Auckland – New Zealand.
Piha Beach is located west of Auckland near the Waitakere Ranges just 40km from the city centre. It is a super popular beach with surfers and during the summer months it is always packed!
Piha is a rugged and wild beach and one that should not be entered lightly, the sea is rough, the sand is black and burns your feet but it is a fantastic day trip and the view from the top of Lion Rock which is a huge feature along the beach is pretty great.
Lion Rock can be seen as soon as you enter the tiny town of Piha, it stands tall in the sand and is always the focal point of any photos and paintings you see of Piha Beach.
There is a walking track up Lion Rock which is very safe, it takes you only to a certain point in the rock as the track has eroded and it is not safe.
As always there are idiots and many tourists who think they will scale Lion Rock anyway, some make it and some don’t and have to be rescued.
There is a TV show in New Zealand called ‘Piha Rescue’ and more often than not someone has to helped down from Lion Rock because they have veered off the track and inevitably get themselves into some trouble. One episode I watched when I was back in NZ was a French guy who scaled Lion Rock in nothing but board shorts. No shirt, no shoes and clearly no brain either.
He had to be taken off Lion Rock via a helicopter. Moral of the story – stick to the track!
Once you are at the last possible spot where the track takes you, there is a nice area to just sit and chill and enjoy the beautiful landscape and scenery.
Lion Rock divides Piha Beach, North Beach has less swimmers and more hard core surfers and is not patrolled by the life guards. As you can see from the day I was there it was pretty deserted, just a few surfers out on their daily surf.
South Beach is the most popular spot and you can swim here, although it is still pretty dangerous to go out too far as there are rips and the waves can be intense.
We sat and chilled at the top of Lion Rock for about half an hour, just watching the waves roll in and roll out. We could see tiny surfers in the distance of the huge waves and the sun was beating down on us on another beautiful sunny day.
After visiting Lion Rock you can grab a coffee at The Piha Cafe which is just a short walk from Lion Rock. They serve up good coffee and nice food.
Alternatively you could visit KiteKite Falls which is a nearby walk to the falls which drop 40m, you can even have a dip in the pool in the summer months.
Piha is a great day trip from Auckland, even in the winter months its a wonderful place to just go and have a walk and enjoy some of that fresh West Coast air.
Check out my other ‘View from the top’ posts here