A walk at Whatipu, on Auckland’s wild west coast

Whatipu, west Auckland


WHERE: Whatipu, 40km (55 minutes) from Auckland city.

WHY: We are going to walk part of the Omanawanui Track to the top of the hill to check out the view. Then we play on the beach before heading home.

FOR THE KIDS: A walk to the top of the hill and a great beach to explore after.

HOW LONG: Our walk took about 90 minutes.

Whatipu is on Auckland’s wild west coast in the Waitakere Ranges. Isolated and rugged, Whatipu is a spectacular mix of sand dunes, an expansive black sand beach, wetlands and rocky cliffs and outcrops.

Dogs will need to stay at home as Whatipu is a scientific reserve, home to many species of wetland and beach birds, and dogs are not allowed. Swimming is not recommended as the beach is not patrolled and can have dangerous surf  –  but there are plenty of fun places to explore in Whatipu!

   Whatipu, west Auckland

We decided to head up the Omanawanui Track to check out the view over the Manukau Heads and out to the Tasman Sea.  The track heads up the grassy hill from the car park, into the bush and then opens up on top to stunning views. The track can be a bit muddy if there has been a lot of rain so wear good walking shoes and, if it’s hot, pack a drink and sunscreen (and a treat for little walkers when they reach the top!). The walk is not suitable for buggies. Our walk up and back down took about 90 minutes.

Whatipu, west AucklandWhatipu, west Auckland

Back down at the beach, we explored around the rocks and over the ruins of the tramway which used to run around the coast to transport timber from Anawahata in the north to the wharf at Whatipu. In summer you’ll need jandals/shoes to get to the beach – the black iron sand will be super  hot!

It takes about an hour to get to Whatipu from the Auckland CBD and it’s a pretty drive through the Waitakere Ranges and around the coastline. The last 7km is quite windy so roll down the windows and have a sing along to keep little minds off feeling queasy! You’ll pass through bustling Titirangi and Huia on the way there and back. Huia has a good playground on the beach and a shop just up the road that does a good coffee as well as fish and chips. The beach at Huia is very tidal but has safe swimming at high tide.

Whatipu, west Auckland

Whatipu, west Auckland

There is lots to see at Whatipu and the area is steeped in history – next time we’ll visit the caves that were festooned with lanterns and decorations and used as dance halls back in the 1920’s. Apparently party goers were picked up by boat in Onehunga and ferried to the famous Whatipu Ball. Sounds like a great way to party!

Comment (1)


  1. Helen Wenley says:

    Beautifully captured on your video – I am inspired to go out there and explore!

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