Photography Magazine

Four Beaches in the West

By Kulesh @stas_kulesh

Summer is coming soon to Auckland. On these warm days one can not only wet feet in the ocean but dip into its cool water wholly. For those who are lazy the choice where to go and have rest for a couple of hours is traditionally not wide: Piha, Muriwai, Anawhata, Karekare. All of them are approximately at the same distance from the city, which is about forty-minute drive away from it. 


It is a favorite place of surfers. They say that waves there are good and, so to say, well-formed, not big but glassy. I understand nothing in waves. From the hill “The Lion's Head” people in wet suits look like sunflower seeds in a kitchen sink. The sand is brownish-black, compact and very hot on hot days. One should be very cautious about swimming at Piha because of strong current and pits. Those especially ardent about surfing are daily caught several kilometers away from the coast by lifeguards. Needless to say that there is no time for lifeguards at Piha to be bored. Volunteers are constantly wanted to join the lifeguard team. Piha is a good place to dip into the water, to walk, to look at sunsets, and that's all.

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The sand there is volcanic: black and fine like dust. People have to wash themselves very thoroughly after a trip to Muriwai. This beach is also a very popular place for those who like to hang about in the water for twenty minutes for a ten-second wave ride. In addition the beach is home for a gannet colony. Explanatory tables tell that the gannet colony is constantly growing. I cannot stop planning to calculate how much time it will take for the birds to conquer the whole country. Chinese-Maori people usually come to this rocky coast to fish. It is not safe to swim at Murewai, either. But one can easily drive a 4WD vehicle along the beach. The place is nothing special. But there we celebrated Christmas – an alien holiday of the nativity of Santa Claus and some saint. There were barbecue, music and dancing.

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Drive along the road to Piha and take the right turn, and after you drive a few kilometers of dirt road and come down a track for about twenty minutes you will get to the Anawhata Beach. A dirty winding road and the necessity to walk make that beach a lot less busy place than other beaches. Near the entrance the table tells something like, “Dear guests, this beach is a live being, so please, let it live quitely”. The text is signed by some dopeheads living on the pitch of the hill. You will ask why I call them “dopeheads”? Because the place is just perfect for various psychotropic and not actually psychotropic experiments. I remember once we met there several guys who were under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. They were happy to see a natural fire. Oh yes, it is prohibited to make a fire (open flame) in New Zealand. So if you want to bake potatoes in the embers of the fire you will have to get farther away from people, for example, to Anawhata.

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It goes without saying that swimming is not safe at Anawhata. It is even more dangerous than at Piha.

Anawhata was the first beach I visited in New Zealand. Perhaps, that is why it has been my favorite beach. When I was there for the first time, I obviously could not take good photos yet. And when we got there at the last weekend, the battery in the camera has traitorously gone.


On the edge of the peninsula there is a beach with a nonmemorable name “Karekare”. Its character is a mixture of the beaches described above. Black-and-brown sand, huge sand areas, mountains with a lot of walking tracks. Here and there one can see beached jellyfish and algae. I think it is the best place if you want to make a holiday for your dog. Most of all I liked walking through the forest, it was a ten-minute walk from the car park to the beach.

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Four Beaches in the West
Four Beaches in the West

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