Waitakere Ranges

Vacation Travel Guide
Waitakere Ranges which includes forests and landscape views

Explore the vast 160,000 square kilometres of forest west of Auckland. Venture across its stunning landscapes and discover beautiful hidden gems around every corner.

The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is a 30-minute drive west of downtown Auckland. The 39,500 acres (15,985 hectares) of native forest are bordered by beaches to the west and the city to the east.

Explore the artistic hamlet of Titirangi, which has galleries and cafés, before continuing into the ranges to the Arataki Visitor Centre. Located on a ridge and guarded by an imposing Maori carving, the center is the gateway to this arresting landscape and a good place to get the latest information on guided tours, activities such as canyoning and horseback riding, and walking trail conditions.

The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park has trails for all fitness levels, from short walks dotted with information panels, to four-hour-long trails that wind their way through tranquil, birdsong-filled environments.

For the really adventurous, the Hillary Trail is a 47-mile (75-kilometer), four-day hike, with camping facilities dotted along the way. The trail is something of a pilgrimage for hiking enthusiasts. It starts at Arataki and winds down the coast to Huia Bay, before curving north to take in the stunning black sand beaches of the west coast.

Karekare was the beach featured in the 1993 film The Piano. Piha Beach is a popular surfing spot, but rips can make the beach unsafe for swimming, so it’s important to check with local surf clubs before venturing into the water.

A small railway, the Rain Forest Express, takes guided tours from Swanston on the edge of the ranges to a picnic area at Upper Nihotupu Dam. Keep an eye out for glowworms and weta (nocturnal insects) as you pass through caves and pipeline tunnels.

Take a wine-tasting tour around several vineyards in the Henderson Valley to try local wines and ports, and sample gourmet flavors in a winery restaurant.

The ranges are easily accessible by car. Come as a day trip from Auckland or spend the night at one of the bed-and-breakfasts, beach houses or hotels dotted along the coast and Scenic Drive.

Top things to do in Waitakere Ranges

Top Hotels Close to Waitakere Ranges

Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Piha, Auckland Region
Situated by the sea, this romantic vacation home is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Piha Surf School and 2.8 mi (4.4 km) from Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare ...
5/5Exceptional! (2 reviews)
Absolutely lovely
"The house overlooks the Waitakere forest and the ocean in the distance. The view is spectacular. Secluded and private. The owner is nearby but out of sight and sound and they respected privacy. The house is modern and comfortable with a wonderful wood fire. Short drive to Piha. Loved staying ..."

Reviewed on Jul 22, 2020

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Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Piha, Auckland Region
Situated in Piha, this vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Piha Surf School, Waitakere Ranges, and Karekare Beach. Karekare Falls and Piha Beach are also ...
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Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Serene Piha Retreat
Serene Piha Retreat
Piha, Auckland Region
Located in the heart of Piha, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Piha Surf School and Piha Beach. Waitakere Ranges and Karekare Beach are also within ...
5/5Exceptional! (2 reviews)
Lovely weekend break
"We really enjoyed our stay in this clean and tidy house. The view from the living area is fantastic. It had everything we needed and was nice and warm."

Reviewed on Aug 6, 2021

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Serene Piha Retreat
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Waitakere Ranges

Piha Beachstay - Hostel
Piha Beachstay - Hostel
2 out of 5
38 Glenesk Road, Piha, Auckland
The price is $71 per night from Sep 22 to Sep 22
Piha Beachstay - Hostel
Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Piha, Auckland Region
Rustic Vibes and Privacy on the West Coast!
Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Piha, Auckland Region
Piha - City Escape, Piha Holiday Home
Serene Piha Retreat
Serene Piha Retreat
Piha, Auckland Region
Serene Piha Retreat
Lion Rock Seascape - Piha Holiday Home
Lion Rock Seascape - Piha Holiday Home
Piha, Auckland Region
Lion Rock Seascape - Piha Holiday Home
Sea of Green Lookout - Piha Holiday Home
Sea of Green Lookout - Piha Holiday Home
Piha, Auckland Region
Sea of Green Lookout - Piha Holiday Home
Romantic Piha
Romantic Piha
3.5 out of 5
105c Piha road, Piha
Romantic Piha
Seaview, Sun and Surf - Piha Holiday Home
Seaview, Sun and Surf - Piha Holiday Home
Piha, Auckland Region
Seaview, Sun and Surf - Piha Holiday Home
Cosy cottage in  bush setting close to beach
Cosy cottage in bush setting close to beach
Karekare, Auckland Region
Cosy cottage in bush setting close to beach
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.