For an area so close to the bulk of New Zealand’s population, Anawhata is a remarkably quiet place. A beach so beautifully rugged, within an hour of Auckland, shouldn’t be so empty in the peak of summer right? Well, strangely enough it is, and has been for years. Possibly one of the best kept ‘secrets’ in the Auckland area for those who love to get outdoors.
Located on Auckland’s west coast, slightly north of Piha and slightly south of Bethells, sits the peaceful Anawhata beach. To access the area you take the road towards Piha and turn off around the top of the hill down the gravel Anawhata road. It’s a relatively narrow, 10 km gravel road that descends through the forest and out towards the coast. You’ll pass a few remote beach houses on the road, but not much else. At the end of the road you’ll reach the Anawhata parking lot with a spectacular view over Anawhata beach itself.
What probably keeps Anawhata so quiet is the fact that you can’t actually drive to the beach… This is a good thing, it keeps the hords of summer beach goers down the coast at Piha, and forces you to get some exercise! The track down to the beach isn’t difficult, it is partially gravel road, partially narrow bush track. It is steep in places but not too sketchy. Perhaps a couple of kilometres from the carpark to the beach and only around a 20min walk one way. The climb back up can be a sweaty one though…
Once you reach the beach you’ll find plenty of space to relax, in the peak of summer, on a weekend, we were one of only 20 odd people in the whole area! There is a couple of beaches and an estuary once you are at sea level, so most of those people won’t even be in sight when you decide to put your towels down on the sand. Anawhata is a good place to just chill on the beach, swim, explore rock pools, or even head out for a surf. The waves can be good, but luckily without the crowds so common just a couple of kilometres south at Piha. You won’t find much of a line up here, and definitely no agro.
Aside from the beach itself, Anawhata lays home to an estuary and river which winds its way up into the hills. We saw a guy paddleboarding up this as well as a couple of enthusiastic English guys in an inflatable raft… Unfortunately their enthusiasm declined pretty quickly when the raft sank and they had to carry a heavy deflated piece of rubber back up the hill to the carpark.
Anawhata is definitely one beach to add to your to-do list!