Waitakere

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Waitakere is the western part of Auckland, also called West Auckland.

Understand[edit]

English is spoken by just about all residents, but around 5% also speak Samoan and a similar amount speak Maori.

Get in[edit]

When driving from the north or south of Auckland it is not necessary to go through downtown or to cross the Harbour Bridge.

A train service runs from Auckland centre to Waitakere.

Get around[edit]

Although buses and trains service the area, many serve those living in the suburbs as opposed to those looking to see the sights. Information on public transport can be found at MAXX [1] Auckland Regional Transport, it allows you to select bus, train or ferry and plan an itinerary.

A Surf Shuttle [2] offers transportation via mini-bus to Piha Beach and around the surrounding wineries and beaches.

See[edit][add listing]

Waitakere offers many of the the native delights, such as trees, bushes and flowers that make New Zealand unique.

  • Waitakere houses some of New Zealands best wineries. These can be found in two main areas, Henderson Valley and Kumeu. On summer weekends, these will be packed with those looking to sit in the sun, have a bottle of wine and a relaxed late lunch. On Sundays Pleasant Valley on Henderson Valley road can be a good afternoon, often having live music. Other Vineyards in the area include Delagats and Montana, although these are much harder to find and do not have regular food service.
  • Another Micro Winery is Artisans on Parrs Cross Road, here you can sample a variety of wines made and sold on site. You can stroll through the vineyards or look at the onsite gallery that sells a range of artwork and toys made by local artists, they also have a well priced and tasty breakfast and lunch menu.
Fishing on Muriwai Beach
  • The Kumeu area makes for a wonderful day trip. Follow the North-Western motorway to the end and take state highway 16 to Kumeu. Within 10-15 minutes you will start to see a vineyards that have cafes and immaculate gardens. Stop for lunch before heading further on to Muriwai Beach, vineyards include, Coopers Creek, Soljans and Kumeu River.
  • Muriwai Beach is more rugged and natural and less unrbanised than Piha. It is a huge black sand beach that stretches as far as the eye can see (it does not stop until the kaipara harbour). The south end houses cabins and a camp ground, an ice cream shop and a fish and chip shop, the main beach and the life guards tower. The north end is dominated by 4X4's and dirt bikes.
  • In Muriwai the forest has a bike park where children learn how to ride on tracks amongst the trees. The entrance to this can be found approx. 10 minutes further on state highway 16 after the beach turnoff. Other activities in the area include BMX trails and racing and a huge high ropes course set in the forest called Tree Adventures (bookings recommended) there are 8 courses to do and it can take 2-4 hours depending on skill and fitness. Fruit shops offer good selections of fresh seasonal produce. When strawberries are in high season, 3 punnets will usually cost about $5.
  • An attraction popular with tour groups it Arataki Visitors Centre on Scenic Drive, Titirangi. Around the centre there are nature trails which signpost the native trees and birds found in the area. Trails range from 10 minutes to 4-5 hours and are all fully pathed and signposted. The centre itself features models, history and facts of native birds and the surrounding area. The view from scenic drive is amazing, the west coast one side and the city the other.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Hiking in the Waitakere Ranges, with stunning waterfalls breath taking views and rugged but beautiful beaches.
  • The west coast beaches, such as Piha Beach, offer sand, surf and are popular for swimming, though dangerous for the unwary, with surf that changes with the tides, unpredictable deep holes, undertows and rips. Wherever possible, swim between the red and yellow flags and pay attention to the lifeguards on duty.
  • AWOL Adventures [3] offer rainforest canyon climbing near Piha Beach
  • If the weather is not good try the Waitakere Aquatic Centre, Alderman Drive, Henderson. Home of the 1992 Commonwealth Games competition pools, now the complex consists of 2 x 50m 8 lane pools, a drive pool with 9 boards, a hydroslide, 2 toddlers pools, spa, sauna, steam room facilities, a lazy river and a wave pool. There is also a gym and a cafe.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Great North Road, which runs through a lot of Waitakere, has many establishments offering food. New Lynn has many cafes and sandwich bars.

Kelston doesn't really have anything special except a Halal butcher.

Glendene is a good place to find excellent kebabs, roast dinners and lovely homemade pizza, as well as gourmet burgers(expensive but good) and a regular fish and chip shop, the bakery behind the shops has the best chicken sandwiches out west and the best chocolate chip shortcake caramel slice ever its $1.50 and simply devine. Last stop on Great North Road is Henderson. There is a Thai takeaway (main & rice $10-13), a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant at the far end. Up by the bridge and the bus stop is another fish and chip shop.

  • Te Atatu Peninsula, has the only 24 hour kumara (sweet potato) chips and roast chicken in Waitakere.
  • Hadads on the main road has chicken, fish and chips and kebabs. Further past the round about there is an excellent ice cream parlour where a double scoop of locally made ice cream will cost about $2.20, 5 scoops around $3.70, milkshakes $3. These should be taken in the car and then head down to the beach (2 mins away). You can then sit in the car or walk around the reserve. This looks back un-interrupted across the harbour to the city, which can be very beautiful.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Piha Beach
  • The Thirsty Rooster Glendene. Features Colin McCann artwork in the pub.

In Waitakere, licenses to sell alcohol is controlled by two trusts the Portage and the Waitakere. Everyone who sells alcohol must be registered by either one. It is not possible to buy beer or wine in the supermarket unlike the rest of Auckland. The trusts are non-profit organisation that reinvest the taxes on alcohol back into the local communities, schools, parks and sports teams. Although this is obviously less convenient, the local referendum always supports the trusts as they would prefer money going back into the community and not into supermarkets profits (lower prices, lower margins, less levied for the community). This does not mean that its more expensive to buy alcohol, but it is more controlled and hours are more restrictive. Another argument made for this is that there is more control over young people buying alcohol and in attempt to reduce under-age drinking.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Eibsee Cottage, Beach Valley Rd (oppsite Piha Beach), 021 969924, [4]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Accommodation in one of the finest examples of Piha's holidays homes.  edit
  • Tanahlot, Beach Valley Rd (opposite Piha Beach), 021 969924, [5]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Directly opposite Piha Beach this beautiful Bach is available for holiday rental. Tanahlot, named after the owners favourite place in Bali, is beautifully furnished, has every kitchen gadget a holiday home needs, beautiful bedding and off street parking.  edit
  • The Kauri Suite, 9 Sylvan Glade, Piha, [6]. A nice suite, close to the beach, suitable for two people.
  • Tui Suite, 9 Sylvan Glade, Piha, [7]. A slightly smaller suite also in Piha.
  • Beach Cabin, 9 Sylvan Glade, Piha, [8]. Budget suite just two minutes from the beach.

Get out[edit]

Most parts of Waitakere are close to the rest of Auckland. Auckland Airport can be reached in off-peak times in about 40 minutes. The North Shore can be reached via Upper Harbour drive without the need for the Harbour Bridge. The Waitakere City Council Offices can reach Downtown Auckland Off-Peak in around 20 minutes only being 18km away from Union Street via the North-Western Motorway.

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