A Trip from Auckland to Muriwai Beach
Another great beach close to Auckland is called Muriwai Beach. Driving from Auckland to Muriwai Beach only takes 45 minutes, so it easily accessible for a day trip! Muriwai Beach showcases a gorgeous coastline, cliffs to explore, paragliders to watch, and in the right time of year, loads of birds called Gannets! The trip from Auckland to Muriwai beach is definitely worth making!
Getting from Auckland to Muriwai Beach
The easiest way is to drive. If you don’t have access to a car, consider renting one as the prices per day are pretty cheap in New Zealand.
The drive from Auckland to Muriwai Beach only takes 45 minutes and is a nice scenic drive.
If driving is not an option for you, unfortunately, the only other option is a tour (there are no buses that run from Auckland to Muriwai Beach.)
Things to do at Muriwai Beach
There are a couple different areas to explore around Muriwai Beach. There are two beach bays, a few different lookouts, and during the right time of year, thousands of Gannet birds are nesting in the area!
Muriwai Beach itself is actually a couple of kilometers long, Exploring it is best done by driving along Coast Road. There are a couple different car parks along this road that allow visitors to access the beach with a short walk.
To the south of Muriwai Beach are some large cliffs. These cliffs are where the Gannet Colony nests from August to March every year (keep reading for more information on the Gannet Colony.) Just south of the cliffs is another beach definitely worth visiting called Maori Bay. Maori Bay is much smaller than Muriwai Beach and is often much less busy.
Swimming at either Muriwai Beach or Maori Bay is allowed but only recommended for strong swimmers. The waves can be quite large in the area so it is advised to swim with caution. Also, there was a shark attack in the area only a few years ago.
Muriwai Beach is a popular surf spot. But like most of the beaches near Auckland, the swell can be rather large so make sure you know what you’re doing before grabbing a board and trying to catch a wave.
Lookouts and viewpoints
Near Maori Beach, there are various short walking trails to lookouts over the coast, it is simply gorgeous! But you don’t need to walk far to take in some incredible views as from the car park it is possible to look out over the bay, see the coastline, and watch some surfers
If you want an even better view, go for a short drive up Waitea Road. On top of the hill you will be given an awesome birds-eye view of Muriwai Beach and Maori Bay!
Check out the Gannet Colony
Seeing the Gannet Colony at Muriwai Beach is often the biggest attraction for tourists – especially bird lovers! Thousands of Gannets (large white birds) nest on the cliffs separating Muriwai Beach and Maori Bay during the months from August to March. They say about 1,200 pairs of Gannets call these cliffs home.
Unfortunately for us, we visited at the beginning of May and the Gannets were all gone, they fly to a warmer place for the winter. All that was left of them was the remains of their many nests on the cliff edges.
We will definitely make a point of returning from Auckland to Mauriwai Beach in the future just to check out the Gannets!
Facilities at Muriwai Beach
There are toilet facilities at many of the car parks around Muriwai Beach and Maori Bay.
Trails and beaches are signed and marked with information and caution warnings.
There is a café nearby called Sandunz Beach Café as well as other facilities in the town of Muriwai which is very close to the beach itself.
Parking is free.
Overall, I would have to say a quick trip from Auckland to Muriwai beach is definitely a pleasant way to spend a day. Even though when we were there it was too cold to swim, we enjoyed the trails and lookouts. The West Coast near Auckland never ceases to amaze me!
If you are interested in some other great beaches to check out near Auckland check out some of my personal favorite below: