The weather around Auckland was quite unsettled when we visited in March, with rain and sun trading places intermittently and causing us to skip a few of our planned hikes. However, we did get to see a few nice waterfalls.
Located northwest of Auckland, the Waitkere Range area was said to have beautiful beaches and some nice waterfalls, so we decided to start our Thursday there. The whole area was hilly and quite lush, so it made for some fun scenic driving and beautiful vistas along the way:
Lion Rock overlook
Our first stop was Kitekite Falls, which was a fairly easy 30 minute (one-way) hike through lush forest and ended at the base of the falls.
From here we drove back down the road to Piha Beach, including a closer view of Lion Rock.
The beach was not crowded at all on a Thursday morning, quite peaceful.
Next, we drove ~20 minutes to Karekare beach, during which it started to drizzle. Leandra was tired so she stayed to take a nap in the car while I did the short 10 minute hike to Karekare Falls. There is a smaller falls on the way, followed by the much larger falls just down hill.
If you drive past the beach parking lot up the road and around the curve you can get a quick view of the falls too.
Once I got back the rain became harder, so we scrapped further waterfalls and switched to wine tasting for the rest of the day.
The Hunua Range is south of Auckland, and made for a pleasant detour on the way to Hamilton for the day. Our first stop was for Hays Creek Falls, located directly alongside the Hunua Road. The parking lot is just upstream of the top of the falls, so I walked along the road to get the following shot.
Continuing down Hunua Road we came to a sign for Hunua Range Regional Park, where we stopped for the famous Hunau Falls (conveniently framed for easy instagramming!) which was a 1-2 minute walk from a large car park.
The park had several other day hikes available, plus a nice picnic area too. We couldn’t find good directions for Wairoa Falls, so we decided to skip it and continue on our way to Hamilton.
Later, as we returned from Hamilton to Auckland, we tried to do Vivian Falls but were running out of light and hit a gravel road so we ended up saving it for our next trip.