When it comes to the beaches surrounding Auckland, there are really only two kinds: The white sand stretches of the Hauraki Gulf that face the city skyline, and the wildly scenic, black sand beaches of Auckland’s moody West Coast. Bethell’s Beach is one of the latter, where tempestuous storms off the Tasman Sea have carved a landscape ruggedly dotted with cliffs, sand dunes, and caves. Surfers flock to the vast stretch of sand for the pounding offshore waves, while fisherman scale the slippery rocks to cast their reels to the sea. Since the currents often make swimming unsafe, most beachgoers opt instead to swim in Lake Waimanu, which is accessed via a 30-minute hike leading back through the dunes.
Other hikes include Te Henga Walkway, which weaves for nearly five miles north towards Muriwai Beach. Fom the top of the bluffs, visitors are met with sweeping views of Bethell’s Beach below, as well as the Waitakere Ranges that rise behind the coast.
Bethell’s Beach is located 27 miles and 40 minutes west of Auckland. The beach is located north of Piha south of Muriwai Beach, and is popular with locals on warm weekends—particularly during the summer.