Approximately 35 mins drive north-west of Auckland‘s CBD is the coastal village of Muriwai. Muriwai is a great place to visit due to it’s beautiful scenery and multiple outdoor activities. The village sits on the cliff tops, directly overlooking Maori Bay and the famous Muriwai Gannet Colony on Otakamiro Point, as well as northward along windswept Muriwai Beach.
Muriwai beach has black sand typical of Auckland’s west coast beaches and stretches north for 50 kilometres! Maori Bay and the southern end Muriwai Beach are very popular for surfing but are dangerous for swimming, excepting between the flags when surf-lifesavers are on duty.
The Gannet Colony is a fabulous place to bring visitors to Auckland. Between October and February each year the gannets hatch and nurse their young on the cliff tops of Otakamiro Point. A short walk from the car park at Maori Bay are lookouts where you can view the nesting gannets.
Sometimes the ammonia smell of guano can be quite overpowering but the views are worth it. I love to watch the gannets gracefully soaring on the coastal wind currents.
Below on the rocks fishermen and women brave the high waves that pound in and caste for fish. Rock fishing is a popular pastime with locals but again very dangerous. If you want to give it a try it is highly recommended that you wear a life-jacket in case you get swept off the rocks!!
Just below the car park on the hillside above Maori Bay is the take-off point for para-gliders. We spent a fascinating 20 minutes or so watching them rising on the wind currents and gliding backwards and forwards along the cliff tops in front of us.
At Muriwai Beach and Maori Bay there are many pretty spots where you can have a picnic, either down on the beaches or back on the grass areas in amongst the Pohutukawa trees. We always take a lunch hamper when we visit.
Muriwai Beach has an 18 hole golf course right on the sea-front but it appears you have to be either a member or the guest of a member in order to play.
An activity that appeals to me is horse riding along the beach and in the adjacent pine forest with Muriwai Beach Horse Treks. It sounds like a great way to take in the natural beauty of the area, and they cater to riders of all abilities.
To get to Muriwai take the North-Western Motorway (State Highway 16) towards Helensville. Pass through the townships of Kumeu and Huapai and when you reach the village of Waimauku, turn left and the follow the road to Muriwai.
West of Auckland and south of Muriwai are the Waitakere Ranges where you can spend several hours to several days exploring beautiful native bush walks. It is hard to believe that there is such a fantastic native forest so close to the city. I would highly recommend it for a half or full day trip.
We love doing the Auckland City Walk which is an easy short circuit walk along a pretty river and contains some magnificent old Kauri trees.