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13 Things to KNOW Before Visiting Piha Beach, New Zealand

13 Things to KNOW Before Visiting Piha Beach, New Zealand

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Piha Beach is one of the best surf beaches in New Zealand! It’s a hot spot for experienced surfers, but it manages to capture the hearts of all visitors that come here. If you want to embrace the coastal landscape and soak up the summer sun, I highly suggest you visit Piha Beach!  

Piha’s breathtaking and rugged landscape was formed millions of years ago from volcanic activity, leaving a unique environment for people to explore and enjoy. But it’s not just the landscape that makes this place so special. On my visit, I immediately picked up on the chill yet sacred feel of this area.

What’s also great about this beach is that it’s less than an hour’s drive from the city of Auckland, yet it feels like a coastal oasis. As such, Piha makes for a fun day trip or an excellent stop on a road trip through New Zealand.

There’s a lot to see and do at Piha Beach, and there are some key things you should know before heading there. To help you prepare, I’ve made a list of the 13 things to know before visiting Piha Beach. I hope it takes the stress out of planning and you have an amazing time!

Public announcement: Please note that cyclone Gabrielle caused major damage to many of the trails to attractions near Piha. Please note in this article the closed attractions such as Lion Rock, Kitekite Falls, and Karekare Falls. Please follow all directions by the DOC to keep visitors safe.

1. About Piha Beach

View of Piha Beach and Lion rock, New Zealand
Just stunning!
Bailey climbs Lion Rock at Piha Beach
Up Lion Rock I go!

Piha is a Maori name that comes from the word “Te Piha”, which refers to the divided ripple that occurs at the front of a canoe. This is similar to what occurs at Lion Rock, an iconic rock formation at Piha Beach. 

Today, it’s estimated that there are over 1,000 residents living in Piha. However, it attracts many visitors throughout the year, especially during summer. There were lots of people when I was there, but it still had that small-town feel.

Piha has such a special landscape because of its location. Over time, the nearby Waitakere Volcano erupted underwater, and combined with the force of the Tasman Sea, formed the coastline of this beach. Different crater formations exist around Piha, which you should definitely check out!

Due to the volcanic eruptions in the region, this black sand beach and its surrounding areas have a high mineral content. This allows for lush vegetation and thriving wildlife unique to New Zealand

Piha Beach is 2 km (1.2 miles) long and is best known for its fantastic yet untamed surf. It’s appealing to both avid surfers and those who just want to enjoy a beach holiday. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this spot is for you! 

2. Where is Piha Beach?

People swim at Piha Beach
Piha is a rugged but stunning beach!

Piha Beach is on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It’s 40 km (25 miles) west of Auckland, which is about a 45-minute drive. If you need a car, check out our tips on renting a car in Auckland before you go!

It’s close to the gorgeous rainforest of the Waitakere Ranges, and just south of Piha is the small town of Karekare. This is also home to KareKare Falls – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand. I highly recommend stopping in to admire the falls while you’re in the area!

From Piha Beach, you can look out at the rough and strong currents of the Tasman Sea. There are native trees such as the fern, pohutukawa, and kauri that are established in the environment and are home to native birds like the tui and kereru.  

3. How do you get to Piha Beach?

Waves crash at Piha Beach, New Zealand
The wild west coast!
Bailey enjoys the view from Lion Rock at Piha Beach

Bus

You can get a public bus part of the way to Piha Beach, but not all the way. Traveling from Auckland, the 113 bus can drop you off at Stop B at Henderson Station. To plan your trip and check the schedules, you can use the public transportation’s online trip planner.

However, once you get to Henderson Station, you’ll need to arrange other transport to get you to Piha Beach. 

Drive yourself

You can drive yourself to Piha Beach! Rent a car in New Zealand using Discover Cars from anywhere in the country and drive the whole way. 

To drive to Piha from Auckland, take State Highway 16 and Route 13. From there, follow the winding, hilly Piha Road. Turn left onto Seaview Road and take a short drive along Beach Valley Road before arriving at Piha Beach.  

Tour

If you don’t have a car, booking a tour is a great way to get to Piha Beach without stressing about transportation. You’ll also learn from an informative guide about the area. It’s really the most relaxing way to visit Piha.

For recommended tours heading to Piha Beach, check out number 6 below! I’ve included some of my favorite tours with helpful info so you can see if they’re right for you.

Uber/taxi

If you don’t have a car, you can catch an Uber from Henderson to Piha Beach. The drive will take about 30 minutes and cost around $30-$50 NZD. I recommend getting an Uber over a taxi as the taxi will be a bit more expensive.  

However, considering the price, if you’re not traveling in a larger group, a tour is often the best option. 

Related Read: One fun way to travel around New Zealand is by campervan! To learn more, read about the best campervan rentals in Auckland here.

4. When is the best time to visit Piha Beach?

Bailey sun bathes on Piha Beach New Zealand
If you need me, leave a message!

The best time to visit Piha Beach is during the summer months, which are December, January, and February in New Zealand. 

If you are like me and love being outdoors in nature, summer is the perfect time! The ground is dry so you can do all the great bush walks or stroll along the beach and soak up the sun (while getting your tan on too!). 

Visit Piha Beach on a weekday if you can, it will be much quieter. When coming here on a Wednesday, I had much more privacy plus extra space to sunbathe and walk the beach.

If visiting on the weekend, I suggest arriving before 10 am to grab a good parking spot and avoid crowds. To let you in on a little tip, North Piha is quieter than the main beach, so head up there if you prefer a calmer beach vibe. 

However, the best time to visit this part of New Zealand depends on your interests. Autumn and winter tend to attract mainly just surfers due to the great surfing conditions. But if you’re an avid surfer, this might be the ideal time for you!

5. Is there parking at Piha Beach?

Piha Town and the overflow parking lot at Piha Beach, New Zealand
Piha Town and the overflow parking lot at Piha Beach, New Zealand

Yes, there is free parking available at Piha Beach. Beachfront parking is available in the main area of Piha Beach along Marine Parade South. It’s moderate-sized and has accessible parking spots as well.  

There is another parking area at North Piha Beach on North Piha Road. The large parking lot is located at the very end of the road, but there is also ample parking along the side of the road, too. 

In the summer months, the local government sets up large overflow parking lots to cater to visitors. This is an ongoing issue with hopes for a more permanent solution in the future. 

6. What are the best tours to Piha Beach?

People walk along Piha Beach during summer in New Zealand

Afternoon Piha Beach and rainforest tour

This afternoon tour from Auckland includes 3 special experiences in one: the Waitakere Ranges, Piha Beach, and the bush. I felt this 5-hour tour was the perfect amount of time to see all these sights and stay entertained without being rushed. Not only was it a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, but we also learned interesting facts about the history, culture, and land. 

You’ll first stop at the Arataki Visitor Centre and learn about the history of this area before venturing out on an easy but gorgeous rainforest walk. From there, you’ll stroll along Piha Beach’s black sand before grabbing some light refreshments. Even on the drive, you’ll pass stunning scenery and bush while the guide informs you of the Maori history, flora, and fauna here.

This tour starts at 12:30 pm and includes pickup from most hotels in inner Auckland. It costs $175 NZD for an adult, but you’ll need to cover the cost of food yourself. However, the tour does sell out, so make sure to book it online in advance!  

Piha and Karekare rainforest wine tour

Wine lovers, listen up! Why not explore Piha Beach and go wine tasting?

This 7.5-hour tour starts in Auckland where you’ll head west to Piha Beach in an air-conditioned vehicle. Stroll along both the North and South Beaches and build up that appetite for what’s to come!

From there, you’ll head to 4 of New Zealand’s top wineries and try some of the best wines. While they were all tasty, I loved the local Pinot Noir the most! A delicious lunch is included, giving you time to sit, relax, and enjoy the peaceful vineyard environment.

This awesome full-day tour covers hotel pickup and dropoff, wine, and lunch for $295 NZD per adult. It’s the perfect way to combine the outdoors with wine tasting. Save yourself the planning, and book this tour online!   

Private Auckland Luxury Tour

Those who enjoy a more intimate tour will love this private Auckland luxury tour traveling in an upscale Mercedes vehicle. This award-winning tour operator will transport you around west Auckland and provide some of the best scenic views in the city, such as Rangitoto Island, Hauraki Gulf, and Piha. 

Drive over hills spotted with silver ferns and pohutukawa trees in Waitakere Ranges, visit Titirangi, and enjoy the picturesque landscape of Piha Beach. Journey through the coastal road of Tamaki Drive and stop at Mission Bay, another beautiful beach.  

If you feel up to it, take a walk up Mount Eden to get a bird’s-eye view of Auckland City. Travel along the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge and take a walk leading to the stunning Karekare Falls. 

Costing $685 NZD for an adult, this fully guided private tour for up to 8 hours (flexible times) is an excellent option for those wanting to avoid crowds and enjoy their own private adventure.

Trust me, from my experience, you will not be disappointed. So book this tour online if you want a luxurious journey through Auckland, Piha, and beyond!  

7. Is Piha Beach a safe place to swim?

Birds eye biew of waves crashing on Piha Beach, NZ
The waves at Piha are not to be underestimated.

Piha Beach has rough waves and strong currents, so it’s definitely not what I call a safe place to swim! It’s more of a surf beach. I would only suggest swimming there if you’re a strong, experienced swimmer. If not, stay in the shallow water and be mindful. 

During the summer, there are lifeguards present, which is great, and you are advised to swim between the flags, but still be careful and swim at your own risk.  

I’m originally from Canada, so you can imagine I get a little scared in the ocean at the best of times! At Piha, I tend to stay out of the water. I even have a friend who is an experienced surfer, and Piha even scares him sometimes.

NOTICE: On January 21, 2023, two people lost their lives while swimming at Piha. This highlights the importance of staying safe at Piha Beach. If in doubt, please avoid swimming.

8. Are dogs allowed at Piha Beach?

A man sits at the very top of Lion Rock looking out at the Tasman Sea
The very top of Lion Rock!

Yes, only in designated areas, though! During the day between Lion Rock and Monkey Rock (which is about halfway up North Piha Beach), dogs are allowed off-leash and can run around.

The other areas around North Piha Beach require dogs to be on leashes. Regarding the rest of Piha Beach, dogs are still prohibited (to protect wildlife).  

9. What are things to do at Piha Beach?

Check out Piha Beach Lookout

Birds eye view of Piha Beach, New Zealand
Piha Lookout!

For a sneak peek at the coastal landscape you’re about to explore, stop off at the Piha Beach Lookout. The observation spot is just off Piha Road and has sweeping views of the coast!

Heading to Piha from Auckland, the lookout is about 2.6 km (1.6 miles) before Piha village. Pull over at the street-side parking area and hop out. As you look down from the hills above, you can see the beach and Lion Rock.

And don’t forget your camera! It’s a fantastic spot to take photos. I got some great shots while here, including the one above.

One of my favorite memories from Piha Beach was coming to this lookout at sunset. Since it faces west, you can take all the beautiful colors as the sun sets over the ocean.

But just as a heads up – this area is home to residents too. So be mindful of noise and make sure to be respectful when you go.

Hike up Lion Rock

Lion Rock at Piha Beach
Lion Rock at Piha Beach
Bailey climbs down Lion Rock at Piha Beach, New Zealand
Once you get passed the official end, you can keep climbing at your own risk.

Update: The trail up to Lion Rock is currently closed due to trail damage.

Lion Rock is one of the most iconic features of Piha Beach. Formed from volcanic rock, the large structure stands out and was one of the first things I noticed when we arrived!

If you take a step back and look at it, you’ll find this unique rock suits its name well. It resembles a lion staring out at the Tasman Sea. 

To get a great view of this sea, you can hike up Lion Rock which is a popular activity since it’s such as short walk and easily accessible. The trail is only 300 meters (980 feet) with a 7-meter (23-foot) elevation gain. In total, it should take around 5-10 minutes to reach the top. Expect to hike up narrow steps alongside flax bushes, grass, and rocks. 

On your journey up, you’ll also notice a Pou (carved wooden post) of a Maori woman who is the area’s guardian. She symbolizes the history and rights of the Maori people and the importance of the land. It’s the perfect spot to sit and feel the spiritual energy of this sacred area.  

While you can’t reach the summit for safety reasons, you can still get close to the top and enjoy the experience. So if you’re looking for a short but beautiful hike, I’d definitely recommend hiking up Lion Rock! 

Surf

Hit the waves! Piha is a fantastic surf beach, so if you’re a surfer, don’t miss this opportunity.

The waves are big, so they’re perfect for experienced surfers. If you’re a beginner or hoping to learn, join a group lesson at Piha Beach. Book your spot for $82 NZD and receive a fun, expert-led 1.5-hour lesson with Piha Surf Academy. This lesson includes a wetsuit and surfboard hire, so no worries if you don’t have gear. 

Although surfing felt daunting at first, the group lesson really put me at ease! The instructors were knowledgeable and friendly, and trying something new with other beginners made the experience much more enjoyable!

Just want to rent a surfboard? The Piha Surf Shop, which is only a 3-minute drive or 20-minute walk away from the beach, has a variety of boards. One costs $25 NZD for 3 hours or $35 NZD for a whole day. 

Visit Kitekite Falls

Kitekite Falls, New Zealand
This is one of the best in the area!
Kitekite Falls near Piha Beach, New Zealand

UPDATE: Kitekite Falls is currently closed due to damage from a cyclone.

One of my favorite things to do is walk to Kitekite Falls and go for a swim! If you love all the waterfalls in New Zealand, trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

This waterfall is located in Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. It’s a short, but gorgeous hike on the North Island.

To get there, you’ll walk through a lush rainforest that’s home to streams with eels, cool swimming spots, and, of course, a waterfall! Wear your swimsuit underneath your clothes, use comfortable walking shoes, and bring a towel. 

To access Kitekite Falls Track, drive to the car park at the end of Glenesk Road. From our experience, we recommend you use the toilets here since there aren’t any on the trail. There are a few different trails in this area, but just follow the Kitekite Falls Track if you want to reach the waterfall. 

Pass through a shoe cleaning station at the start of the track (when you enter and exit). This station was set up to protect the Kauri trees from the Kauri dieback disease, a soil-borne pathogen people track in on their shoes.  

Once you enter, you’ll ascend into the lush valley, where you can admire the native flora and fauna along the trails. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the base of Kitekite Falls, where we immediately went for a swim! I personally love the swimming hole at the base of the falls. It’s large and refreshing, and you can sit directly under the 4 meter (13 foot) high waterfall.  

On the walk, there are some stairs and you’ll cross a couple of streams, but overall it only requires a moderate fitness level.

If you want more of a challenge, walk from the base of the waterfall to the top. This route is called the Knutzen Track and takes an additional 15-20 minutes. At the end, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Waitakere Ranges. Since we can’t turn down a hike, we decided to head here and discovered even more swimming holes at the top!  

If you prefer to skip it, head back along Kitekite Falls Track to return to the car park, or take a detour through Byers Track to check out some old rata and nikau trees. This trail will link to the main Kitekite Falls Track near the end. 

Related Read: To learn more about the best areas for enjoying outdoor activities, read our complete guide to the 13 national parks in New Zealand!

Tasman Lookout

Update: Unfortunately, Tasman Lookout is closed at this time due to Trail damage.

If you love a good vantage point like me, you should walk to Tasman Lookout! From here, you can look out over Piha Beach and Taitomo Island. And it won’t take you much time either – it’s a very short, but beautiful local hike that takes only 20 minutes round-trip (excluding time admiring the local landscape!).

Park at the main car park on Marine Parade South and walk south to reach the 2 km (1.2 mile) trail. Along the way, we enjoyed checking out the area’s small inlets and rock formations. Once you get to the trail, it’s a steep but short climb, but easy after you pass the ridge. Although the track is narrow, there are handrails in more precarious places like along the cliffside. 

When you reach the first lookout point, there’s an open space with a scenic view of Piha Beach and Taitomo Island. Beginning to head down the coastal track, you’ll see ‘The Gap‘, an area of beach that forms a space for the Blue Pool. This small pool forms when the water comes in between the cliff and Taitomo Island.  

At high tide (late morning), you’ll see the waves crashing through the gap. You can potentially swim there at around mid-tide (roughly 1-3 pm depending on the day).

There’s also a blowhole a short distance away. From The Gap, walk down the trail to the beach, and then head inland. There won’t be a marked trail but you’ll pass through the grassland, up into the forest, and down to the rocks to check out a blowhole.

The best time to see the blowhole in action is during high tide. But be careful, as it will be slippery, and be mindful of the swell. 

Going at high tide can limit the landscape that you can explore down at the beach. Going during low tide allows you to enjoy the whole area, including seeing the Keyhole Natural Tunnel in Taitomo Island. 

Since timing is everything here, I suggest doing the Tasman Lookout walk twice, once during high tide and another during low tide. Going at both high and low tide means you’ll have completely different experiences.

Returning is quite easy! Simply stroll along Piha Beach to get back to the car park. 

Stop at Karekare Falls

Karekare Falls, New Zealand
What a place to cool off!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Karekare Falls is closed due to trail damage at this time.

Karekare Falls makes the perfect stop on your journey in or out of Piha! It’s a beautiful way to begin or end your trip here and is just a 15-minute drive from Piha Beach. Plus, the falls are a very short distance from the parking lot and you can even go for a swim here!

The beautiful 30 meter (98 foot) horsetail waterfall is an easy, 5-minute walk from the Karekare car park. After parking here, walk over the bridge and keep going a short distance until you see a yellow sign saying “La Trobe Track.” Follow this trail through the gorgeous native bush of the Waitakere Ranges to the base of Karekare Falls. 

What I love about this waterfall in particular is how grand it feels. Because it’s so tall, it glistens in the sun and truly captures your attention.

When we visited, we took a picnic to enjoy after our swim which I’d recommend! I’d also suggest heading there in the morning or during a weekday if possible since it gets busy at other times. Also, be aware that the road to the car park is narrow and steep, so drive slowly. 

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Wander the West Coast Gallery

West Coast Gallery in Piha, New Zealand
Photo credit: West Coast Gallery 

If you want to delve into the local art scene, the West Coast Gallery is a must-see! This place has over 200 local Piha artists’ creations, with a range of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more. They also host regular exhibitions and events (check out their calendar to see what’s on). 

This beautiful little art gallery is located just off Seaview Rd and is surrounded by nature. I found the environment very uplifting, and one of the artists even greeted us when we arrived!

There is a wide range of eclectic works, and much of the art reflects the beauty and sacredness of the Piha land and people. I couldn’t help myself and had to buy a stunning acrylic painting by Monique Endt

The gallery is open Monday/Thursday/Friday from 10 am – 3 pm and on the weekends from 10 am – 5 pm. However, I noticed they tend to extend their open hours in the summertime.

Related Read: Only a 2-hour drive from Piha, you can learn more about kiwi culture, art, and entertainment, with these things to do in Hamilton!

Walk to North Piha

North Piha Beach, New Zealand
Take a walk and explore North Piha!

Strolling along the length of the beach is a fantastic way to take in the coastline. From the south end of the beach to North Piha, you can revel in the diversity and beauty of the area. Although this activity is simple, I found it to be highly underrated!

I recommend starting your walk near the Tasman Lookout on the south end of Piha. Head north along the black sand all the way to the end of North Piha Beach. This will take around 45 minutes, and you should wear sunscreen and bring a water bottle.

It’s up to you if you want to wear comfortable walking shoes or go barefoot and feel the sand between your toes. However, as a little warning, the sand can get quite hot in the summer. 

One thing I loved about this walk is how the ambiance changes from one end of the beach to the other. The south is busier and more family-friendly while the north is quieter but untamed. But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself!

Watch a sunset

Looking out the window of a campervan in NZ at Piha Beach
The sunsets are unreal!

Watching a sunset at Piha Beach is a must-do! Piha is one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand and has many great spots to relax and take in the sunset over the Tasman Sea.

In the summer, the best time to watch a sunset is around 8 pm. Have dinner beforehand or enjoy a tasty meal while you watch the beautiful orange glow of the sunset over Piha. It’s something anyone can enjoy whether they’re solo, with friends, or on a romantic getaway in New Zealand

Some of my favorite places to watch the sunset are at Lion Rock, Piha Beach Lookout, at the end of Log Race Road before the Mercer Bay Loop Walk (or from the lookout if you’re up for an hour loop walk!).

You can also catch the sunset from any beachfront restaurant. I’ll go over my favorite Piha restaurants (with some beachside options) next!   

Related Read: I also love watching the sunset from one of the best vantage points in the city – the Auckland Sky Tower!

10. Where are the best places to eat at Piha Beach?

Food from Murray Piha at Piha Beach, New Zealand
Photo credit: Murray Piha

Piha Cafe – The Piha Cafe is a staple in Piha Beach. It’s where I get my coffee and often fill up on delicious snacks. The sausage rolls are fantastic and if you have time to stay a little longer, try the eggs benny! Sadly, this cafe is temporarily closed. Hopefully, it opens back up soon! So check their website for updates.

Piha RSA & Lion Rock RestaurantPiha RSA Restaurant offers a quality family meal for great value! I recommend the gourmet burger or the best fish and chips in town. They also have vegan options and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the bar.

Eat inside or out on the deck while taking in a great beach view (or sunset!). You can also order takeaway and have a picnic.  This restaurant is a short walk inland from Piha Beach. Winter hours are from 4-8 pm. In summer, they’re open Monday – Thursday 4-10:30 pm, Friday 4-11:30 pm, and Saturday/Sunday 2-11:30 pm.

Murray Piha – The best Mexican food in Piha is at Murray Piha’s food truck! Grab some nachos to take away or chill out and listen to some summer beats while sitting on a beanbag. Their fish tacos and mexi beef n’ cheese pies are my favorite choices and absolutely delicious!  It’s open 7 days from 8:30 am and closes at 8 pm on weekdays and 7:30 pm on weekends. The food truck is located on Marine Parade South right by the beach.

Cones On The Beach – Look no further for a real fruit ice cream! Cones on the beach is…shocker…right by the beach! It’s located on the south end of the beach along Marine Parade North. Grab a creamy ice cream to eat on the beach or post-surf. I recommend ordering the passionfruit which is extra refreshing! Open from 11 am – 7 pm daily but closes at 5 pm on Wednesdays.

Piha Beachfront RestaurantPiha Beachfront Restaurant (also called Brother’s Juke Joint BBQ) is the place to go for sunset dinners. We loved the beachfront view from their terrace seating. Their menu has share plates, BBQ meals, and sandwiches with options for kids too. In summer, they’re open from 12-10 pm daily. You can find them along Marine Parade South.

11. Where to stay at Piha Beach

Piha Beachstay Accommodation
Photo credit: Piha Beachstay Accommodation

Many people stay in hotels in Auckland and visit Piha on a day trip. However, I loved this beach town so much that we chose to spend a few nights here! Although Piha is small, there are accommodations for all price points. So if you plan to stay overnight, I’d recommend one of these options.

Campground

If you’re coming by campervan or want to camp, Piha Domain Motor Camp is the best site in Piha with beach access. It has a great family environment and pets are welcome.

The campground has clean toilets, showers, and kitchen facilities and has a wonderful playground for the little ones. If you’re into sports, you might enjoy their basketball and tennis court too. The camp is located within walking distance of Piha Beach and local cafes, restaurants, and shops.  

Unpowered sites start at $44 NZD per night and cover two guests. Additional adults cost $22/night. Powered sites cost $48/night per two adults with extra adults being $24 NZD. For all sites, additional teenagers (14-17 years) cost $14 NZD/night, and kids 5-13 are $10 NZD/night.

Budget – $

For budget travelers, Piha Beachstay Accommodation is my top choice! This tranquil, lodge-style building is surrounded by native bush. Located only a 15-minute walk from Piha Beach so you can take advantage of all the local activities without a car!

The lodge has a communal kitchen and dining facilities, a garden, and a deck to enjoy a view of Piha Valley. Here, you have the option to share a 6-bed bunkroom for $41 NZD/night or enjoy a private room starting at $99 NZD/night.

Mid-range – $$

Romantic Piha is the perfect accommodation for a romantic getaway! They offer queen and family suites with prices starting at $252 NZD. Rooms have chic modern decor and come with a comfy bed, TV, and Xbox 360, and some also have a private balcony. The property is built on the hillside with a stunning view of the rolling hills and the sea. It’s located a mere 5-minute drive from the beach.

If you’re looking for a beachy holiday home, Surfer’s Sunshine Cottage can accommodate up to 4 guests (and it’s pet friendly!). Wake up to views over Lion Rock as you sit out on the deck, or wander down the private walking trail to the beach. It includes a bbq, coffee machine, private driveway, and washing machine.

With prices starting at $339 NZD, it has 1 bedroom, a full kitchen, and an ample living space. It’s situated about a 15-minute walk from the beach. This option is one of my favorites for families or couples that want extra space.  

Luxury – $$$

Seaview, Sun and Surf Holiday Home is a large 6-person home with 3 bedrooms, a spacious living area, a full kitchen, and stunning ocean views. Here, you can end the day by cooking on the BBQ, sitting on the deck, and watching the sunset with your family or friends. This place is only 1 km (0.6 miles) from local shops and the beach. Prices start at $478 NZD for the entire holiday home.

12. Is Piha Beach suitable for children?

A little girl smiles at her dad at Piha Beach New Zealand on a hot summers day
I love trips to Piha with my friends’ kids.

Yes, Piha Beach is suitable for children! However, the waters are too wild and aren’t safe for kids to swim.

However, they can still run around, build sand castles, and enjoy a beach day. If they are going in the water, go with them to supervise and make sure they stay in shallow water. 

13. Is Piha Beach worth visiting?

View of Piha Beach from the lookout showing the beach and Lion Rock
Yes!

Totally! Piha Beach is one of the most beautiful volcano beaches in the whole of New Zealand.

Whether you’re an avid surfer or just love coastlines, there is so much to explore and enjoy. Visiting this much-loved surf beach, especially in summer, will be a treasured trip that you will never forget! 

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey poses for a photo at the top of Lion Rock overlooking Piha Beach, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

We had so much fun at Piha Beach, and hope you do too! If you found this guide useful, you should check out my other blogs about traveling in New Zealand. I’ve explored this country extensively and love sharing what I’ve learned!

22 Best Hot Pools and Hot Springs in New Zealand

12 BEST Places to Stop on the Drive from Auckland to Paihia

33 EXCITING Things to do in Rotorua, New Zealand

Piha Local

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

Kia ora Bailey - great you love our community so much. Thanks for updating this blog to say the track to Kitekite falls is closed. Please can you also add the tracks up onto Lion Rock and Tasman View track are closed because they became dangerous in our February 2023 cyclone Gabrielle slips. (The top of Lion Rock has been closed for about fifteen because it would be damaging to reinstate a path after previous erosion and the local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki preferred visitors stop at the Pou you passed. Visitors often get into difficulties trying to get down from where the photo at the top was taken causing our local volunteer fire crew to have to rescue them so it'd be helpful to remove that photo.) Thanks and best wishes

Bailey

Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hey,

I have updated the blog with the closures as well as the closure of Karekare Falls.

Thanks Bailey