Muriwai Beach - Home to Gannet Colony - Popular Hillary Trail


Muriwai Beach is a coastal community on the west coast the North Island of New Zealand.  It is situated in the Auckland Region of the country and is only 42 kilometres northwest of the city of Auckland itself.

The township sits at the southern end of a 50 kilometre stretch of pristine beach that extends all the way up the Tasman Coast to the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour.  This stretch of coastline is home to a number of popular beaches, including Piha and Karekare.  The area is extremely popular amongst visitors from Auckland during the summer months.

What to Do – Muriwai Beach

        Muriwai Beach is home to a huge variety of activities for visitors.  Arguably the main attraction to the beach is the wonderful surfing.  Muriwai Beach offers some of the best surfing in the area.  Maukatia (Maori Bay) is a particularly good surf spot.  If you aren’t a surfer, the beach also allows for a number of other opportunities.

Paragliding is a very popular pastime among visitors.  Additionally, the fishing can be great at Muriwai Beach.  However, anglers should fish at their own risk as many of the best fishing spots can also have very dangerous conditions.  The beach also serves as a wonderful coastal sand-road.  4WDing along the beach is a popular activity.  In fact, the beach was used extensively for motor racing between the 1920s and 1940s.

Muriwai Beach

 Again, beach drivers should only embark if they have a 4WD vehicle and they should be cautious of the conditions as there have been multiple times throughout history where vehicles have been mass stranded out on the beach because of careless drivers.  If you want to make sure you don’t get stuck out in the sand, then take a horse ride along the coastline.

There are a number of wonderful rides on offer that will take visitors either down the coastline or along tracks back behind the sand dunes lining the beach.

 Adrenaline junkies can enjoy hang-gliding above the coastline, allowing them to take in a bird’s eye view of the beautiful stretch of beach.  Hang-gliding is especially popular when the prevailing southwesterly winds provide favorable conditions, as is often the case.

        If you want to get off the beach for a while, then go for a walk along one of the walking trails in the area.  The popular Hillary Trail passes through Muriwai Beach.  

Additionally, a wonderful series of boardwalks has been put into place, allowing visitors to explore the coastline area with ease.

If you head a bit farther away from the shoreline and up into the forest, visitors will find a number of mountain biking trails and downhill rides that are sure to please advanced riders and beginners alike.

Muriwai Beach

Muriwai Gannet Colony

        Muriwai is also home to a unique wildlife site, the Muriwai Gannet Colony.

 A viewing platform overlooking the colony is easily accessed via a short trail from the car park.  The colony actually lives on two vertical sided rock islands out in the water.  

Between August and March each year around 1,200 pairs of gannets nest on these two small rock islands.

The nests are only centimeters apart and watching the birds come and go is like watching a demonstration in controlled chaos.  They are constantly coming and going, flying over, under, and around each other as they depart the nest or return.  Gannets are a relatively large bird, weighing around 2.5 kilograms, on average, and having an average wingspan of two metres.

The sheer size of the birds makes their chaotic coming and goings all the more impressive.  Each gannet pair lays one egg.  When the chicks are developed enough to fly, the have a one shot chance to jump off the island and take flight.  If they succeed, they cross the Tasman Sea to Australia where they will remain for a few years.

The surviving birds then return to the colony where they will establish nesting real estate.  This colony is truly a unique chance to take part in a rare wildlife experience.

Where to Stay – Muriwai Beach

        Muriwai Beach and the West Auckland Region, is home to a wide variety of unique accommodation options.  The area is home to campsites, homestays, bed and breakfasts, motels, hotels, resorts, self-contained holiday rentals, cottages, and so much more.  No matter your taste or your budget, you are sure to find something to suit your needs in and around Muriwai Beach.

Travelling from Abroad?

        Muriwai Beach is very easily for visitors travelling from abroad.  The township is only a short 42 kilometre drive from Auckland, making it very easy to access.

Visitors from abroad will find it very easy to travel to Auckland from a variety of international destinations.  From there, the trip to Muriwai Beach is short and easy.

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