Craving an epic Auckland hiking adventure? Venture west of city and take on the Te Henga Walkway with gusto!
Located in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges, the Te Henga Walkway stretches from Bethells Beach to Muriwai. As you roam along the walkway’s cliff tops, you’ll witness superb views of Auckland’s wild west coast on the Tasman Sea.
Ready for the ultimate Te Henga Walkway trek? Get planning with this complete guide including what to expect, what to see & how to get there…
What to expect on the Te Henga Walkway
The Te Henga Walkway runs along the rugged western coast of New Zealand North Island in the Waitakere Ranges. It traverses the route between Bethells Beach in the south and Muriwai in the north.
Along this 10-kilometre point-to-point hiking track, you’ll careen over varied terrain. The trail tracks along the cliff top, unleashing some of Auckland’s most impressive coastal views along the way.
The Te Henga Walkway is not always easy. The trail is rutted and steep in sections. If you’re visiting under less-than-ideal weather conditions, be careful. Certain areas along the walkway can become quite slippery after it rains. Be sure to wear robust waterproof hiking shoes with excellent traction.
Walking the entire Te Henga Walkway end-to-end should take most hikers approximately three to four hours.
The Te Henga Walkway also forms part of the multi-day 70-kilometre Hillary Trail. Although most of the Hillary Trail has been closed due to kauri dieback disease, the Te Henga section remains open.
What to see along Te Henga Walkway
If you decide to start walking the track in the south, be sure to throw in a detour to Bethells Beach. This west coast gem is one of Auckland’s finest beaches.
The black sands of Bethells Beach stretch out over two kilometres coastline. It’s particularly popular with local surfers who flock here for its strong swells.
For that same reason, the beach is not an ideal spot for swimmers. During the peak summer months, there is a lifeguard on duty. But if you’re not a strong swimmer, it’s a good idea to delay your seaside frolicking for more sheltered beaches elsewhere along the trail.
After admiring the beach, walk north along Bethells Road. Near the Te Henga and Lake Wainamu carpark, cross the Waitakere River via the footbridge.
From the river crossing the graded trail rises. As you approach the top of this section, you’ll get amazing views of the beach, lagoons, native bush, and the surrounding dunes near Lake Wainamu.
Your first stop along the route, about two kilometres into your walk, is O’Neill Bay. Like Bethells to the south, O’Neill Bay is a popular surfing spot for locals. Perhaps even more so!
Since O’Neill Bay is only accessible via walking, it’s a quieter alternative to the area’s other popular beaches. Even if you’re not low on energy yet, it’s a fantastic place to catch a breather and fill your lungs with fresh sea breeze.
From O’Neill Bay, the Te Henga Walkway rises steeply towards the cliff-top. The rest of the track mostly follows alongside the rugged coastline, peering upon both the Tasman Sea and private farmland.
Along the way, you’ll walk past several beautiful bays including Te Waharoa Bay and Kirikiri Bay. Stop leisurely along the way for awesome photo ops—and even a picnic if you decided to pack a lunch!
The southern trailhead is about eight kilometres from O’Neill Bay, ending with a final ascent upon the steep Devil’s Staircase. But don’t end your journey here. There’s one more stop for the books: Muriwai Beach.
Located four kilometres from the trail’s official end, Muriwai Beach sits among Auckland’s most popular day trips. It’s famous for its clifftop gannet colony, who fly over from Australia between spring and summer to nest.
Take a timeout to enjoy the scenery along sections of this insanely long beach before packing up for your drive back to Auckland.
How to get to Te Henga Walkway
There’s two main trailheads for the Te Henga Walkway. In the south, you can start along the trail at Bethells Road; in the north, at Constable Road in Muriwai, just south of the trailhead for the popular Goldie Bush Walkway.
Bethells Beach (Te Henga) is about 39 kilometres west of central Auckland. The drive to the trailhead should take about 50 minutes in normal traffic conditions.
The Constable Road trailhead is 50 kilometres from downtown Auckland. Expect about a 50-minute drive.