Muriwai Beach: What to See & Do and How to Get There

If exploring Auckland’s finest beaches is on your agenda, don’t miss a visit to Muriwai Beach! Located just north of Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, Muriwai is a popular getaway for Aucklanders.

The small coastal village sits upon Auckland’s rugged west coast. There’s a handful of great things to do around Muriwai from nature walks to outdoor sports. None is more popular, though, than exploring Muriwai Beach.

Muriwai Beach is famous around New Zealand for its gannet colony. Every year between August and March, thousands of gannets settle upon Auckland’s Tasman Sea coast. It’s quite a sight to behold!

The beach is also a popular destination for surfers, anglers, and hikers. (And even golfers!)

Ready to kick-off your trip to Muriwai? Get prepped with this Muriwai Beach guide including what to see & do and how to get there…

What to see & do at Muriwai Beach

Witness the majesty of the Muriwai Gannet Colony

The best time of the year to visit New Zealand is summer. This peak tourist season also coincides with the arrival of an important natural attraction: Australasian gannets.

Australasian Gannets

If you’re a nature lover, the Muriwai Gannet Colony is a must-visit on any New Zealand North Island trip itinerary. The gannets usually arrive in New Zealand from Australia between August and March. Their main stop? The clifftops near Muriwai Beach.

To catch the birds in action, there’s a short walking trail from the Maukatia (Maori Bay) car park. The track leads to a few viewing platforms, from which you’ll be able to watch the gannet colony. You’ll also get to marvel at spectacular views along the rugged Tasman Sea coastline.

Go surfing on Maukatia (Maori Bay)

Like Auckland’s other west coast beaches, the black sand beach at Muriwai is a premier surfing destination. The swells at Maukatia (Maori Bay) are among the best in the Auckland. (It’s up there with the likes of Piha Beach and O’Neill Bay.)

Just be aware: Surfing at Muriwai Beach is not the faint-hearted. The waves and the currents can get flat-out dangerous at times.


Need a refresher or are new to the sport? Visit the fine folks at the Muriwai Surf School. It’s located close to the Sand Dunz Beach Cafe. (You can also stop at the café to fuel up with a coffee and a bite to eat.)

Aside from surfing lessons, the Muriwai Surf School also rents wetsuits and surfboards. Gear up and hit the waves!

Enjoy the pleasures of the Tasman Sea

Surfing not your thing? Don’t worry: There are plenty of other activities on the water around Muriwai!

Maori Bay is a great place to try out paragliding. As you sail high above the water, you’ll enjoy dramatic views over the black sand beach and the coastline.

Paragliding on Maori Bay

Muriwai Beach is also a hotspot for anglers. Roaming around the beach, you’ll often see people fishing along the rocky shoreline.

Be sure to keep your wits about you. With the ever-changing tides, hanging out on the rocks can sometimes prove dangerous.

SEE ALSO: Best Day Trips from Auckland

The same warning applies to swimming. The beach is not well-sheltered from heavy surf; it’s not one of the best places to swim in the Auckland area. Take heed!

Stroll along the Muriwai Beach Loop Track

One of the best ways to experience the beach at its finest is on the Muriwai Beach Loop Track. The trail is just over five kilometres long, but packs in a punch.

Walking Track

The walk scrolls past varied scenery. Along the trail, you’ll walk between sand dunes and the beach, enjoying dramatic views of each. The entire loop should take you about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

RELATED: Top Places to See in Auckland

You can access the Muriwai Beach Loop Track from the southern trailhead. It’s located between the surf club and campground on Jack Butt Lane. In the north, the track ends at the 4×4 access road to Coast Road. From here, you can follow the Coast Road Track to complete the loop.

Stroll along the Te Henga Walkway

If hiking is on your radar during your visit, head for the Te Henga Walkway. This popular hiking trail starts a few kilometres south of Muriwai. It stretches ten kilometres north and south between Muriwai and Bethells Beach (Te Henga).

Clifftop Views

The Te Henga Walkway is challenging at times. It moves through uneven and often steep terrain as it scales the clifftops along the west coast. If you can tough it out though, you’ll enjoy some of the finest scenery along Auckland’s beautiful western coastline.

SEE ALSO: Best Hiking Trails around Auckland

The Te Henga Walkway forms part of the 70-kilometre-long Hillary Trail. It’s one of the only sections of this popular Waitakere Ranges Regional Park trail that are currently open to hikers. (Most have been closed due to kauri dieback disease.)

Play a round at the Muriwai Golf Club

The outdoor activities & attractions at Muriwai Beach don’t end at surfing or water sports. If you prefer your active pursuits on land, grab your clubs and experience the links at the Muriwai Golf Club!

Many locals consider the Muriwai Golf Club as one of the best places to go golfing in Auckland. Even if your golfing abilities aren’t up to par (pun intended), the coastal views at this golf course might make you reconsider playing a round. It’s surprisingly affordable, too!

Just passing through Auckland? No problem. The golf course offers equipment rentals for travellers.

Visit the sand dunes at Lake Wainamu

Completed the ten-kilometre trek between Muriwai and Bethells Beach? Carve out time to visit Lake Wainamu.

The beautiful lake is accessible via the Lake Wainamu Loop Track. It’s located just east of the Te Henga Walkway southern trailhead near Bethells Beach. The entire loop from the parking lot to the lake (and back) should take you about two hours.

Lake Wainamu

Lake Wainamu is famous for its massive sand dunes and the waterfall at its eastern shorelines. A little leery about surfing around Muriwai Beach? Bring along a bodyboard to carve the “waves” on the sand dunes around Lake Wainamu instead!

How to get there

Muriwai is about 39 kilometres from downtown Auckland via State Hwy 16 and Muriwai Road. By car, the journey should take about 35 minutes.

There’s no regular public transportation from Auckland to Muriwai. You’ll need to arrange your own transportation. If you don’t have your own wheels, renting a car in Auckland is a good idea.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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