Camping in the Waitakeres

We took a trip to West Auckland last weekend and camped out in the Waitakere Ranges.

We pulled on our walking boots and headed out into the wild landscape of beach and bush. The forest felt to us like a mix of tropical plants and greenery, like bracken, that you’d see in England.

We camped in a small, secluded spot and were the only ones on site. We would have preferred a couple more tents in the campground for our first NZ camp but, after a few beers and lamb burgers, we had a peaceful night despite the rain. Not even a growling possum to disturb us.

Waitakere Ranges - Opanuku Campground

Some of our highlights were:

A walk to Fairy Falls
The many (many) steps were worth it for the views and falls.

Waitakere Ranges - Fairy Falls (2)   Waitakere Ranges -Fairy falls stairs, first of many

The wild beach that was the setting for The Piano. The wind lifted up the black sand so that it was whirling towards the sea (& whipping us in the face!)

Karekare beach (2)   Karekare beach (4)

Upper Nihotupu Dam
short walk to a vast dam that provides millions of litres of water a day to the city of Auckland.
It was built between 1915-23 – such an impressive human construction.

Waitakere Ranges - Nihotupu dam (2)   Waitakere Ranges - track to Nihotupu dam (2)

The waves of Piha beach
When we visited there was a clean up taking place – Jack Johnson was helping out but we failed to spot him.

Piha Beach (3)   Piha Beach (4)

We returned to the city a little weary, achy and covered in bites…
The weekend outdoors was worth it and hopefully we’ll have time to return to see more.

  • The Arataki Visitor Centre gave us advice on walks and has some breathtaking views. A good place to start a visit to the Waitakere Ranges.

5 thoughts on “Camping in the Waitakeres

  1. Hi Lucy! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now – it’s really excellent! My boyfriend (John) is friends with Sean T. who passed on the link to us. John and I are moving to Auckland in January so your blog has been really useful to help us get a handle on whats in store for us! We’re even going via Hong Kong too. Thanks for all the helpful info, it has been really useful 🙂 Diana

    • Hi Diana
      Thanks for getting in touch. Thank you – glad it’s been useful 🙂 How exciting! Are you moving to Auckland permanently? It really is a fantastic city – and region – with beaches and forest so close by. If you have any specific Q’s feel free to email me on
      lucypnz at

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