Why You Should Visit Piha Beach & the Beautiful Kitekite Falls

Piha Beach

Piha Beach is often regarded as one of the most beautiful in New Zealand. With black sand, rolling waves, and the nearby Kitekite Falls, we had to see what the hype was about for ourselves! We traveled from Auckland to Piha Beach in our camper van and spent the weekend soaking in the surf and sun. From epic Piha sunsets to to hiking to the stunning waterfall, here’s why you should make a trip to this amazing beach!

Auckland to Piha Beach 

One thing that makes Piha Beach so attractive is that it’s less than an hour drive from New Zealand’s largest city. The quick trip from Auckland to Piha Beach makes it extra popular during weekends and summer months.

If you are planning an overnight visit in peak season make sure to book your accommodation well in advance. Below are some of our favorite hotels to check out around Piha Beach!

→ New Zealand North Island Itinerary: 4 Awesome One Week Routes

Where to Stay Near Piha Beach

Fun Vacation – Romantic Piha – Overlooking the coast, this wonderful accommodation is just a quick drive from Piha Beach. However, it might be hard to ever leave your room with sweeping views from the balconies!

Hostel Life – Piha Beachstay Accommodation – This budget homestay is perfect for solo travelers as well as couples looking for a beach escape. Set inland near the lush river, Piha Beachstay Accommodation is a short walk or drive to ocean and close to the waterfall hike. 

CampingPiha Domain Motor Camping – This the best campground in the area and just a quick walk down to the beach. 

Piha Beach New Zealand

What Makes Piha Beach So Unique?

To start, Piha is a massive black sand beach! While New Zealand beaches come in all shapes and sizes, there are only a handful of black sand beaches across the country.

This one is particularly extraordinary because of the landscape that surrounds it. Undoubtedly, the star of the show is the humongous Lion Rock that sits directly in the middle of the Piha Beach. 

When you’re not relaxing on the sand, throw on your hiking boots and take in the scenery from some epic viewpoints such as Tasman Lookout! If it’s crowded on a hot summer day you can also head down to the far ends of the beach to get some more space to lay out.

Auckland Piha Beach

Lion Rock at Piha Beach

This epic mass of stone is one of the most iconic images on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s shape which resembles the fierce animal is actually the eroded neck of a volcano which erupted over 16 million years ago! These days you can explore around Lion Rock, and even climb up the manmade steps to get a better view.

Piha Beach Lion Rock

Piha Surf History

Piha Beach has become internationally known for its surfing and has hands down some of the best waves in New Zealand. You will find countless people enjoying the Piha surf from morning to night. Just note that the waves are definitely more for experts and not beginners.

Coincidentally, this is actually the site of one of New Zealand’s first surf clubs started in 1934! So just know you’ll be surfing in a very special and historic place when hitting the Piha surf.

Piha Surf

Hike to Kitekite Falls 

Just a 20 minute walk from Piha Beach is the gorgeous Kitekite Falls. This is probably the one thing that’s well worth leaving the beach area for!

The jungle hike will take you through some of the North Islands lush flora on an easy loop to the waterfall. Once you make it Kitekite Falls take your time to explore around the magnificent waterfall. The 40 meter high spectacle consists of 3 different tiers, each of which you can climb up the stairs to get a view above from.

We recommend going early in the morning so you’ll have a chance to swim under the falls with no one else around. The entire loop will only take you about an hour so take your time to enjoy it! 

Kitekite Falls

Piha Beach Sunset 

No matter how you spend your days there is no better time to be at the beach than sunset. For a few moments each day, the entire coast lights up as the sun dips below the South Pacific Ocean. Even visiting mid-week during busy season we felt like we had the beach to ourselves.

Most of the day trippers going from Auckland to Piha Beach must have already headed home! After our magical stay we’re convinced this is one of the best places for a sunset beach walk in all of New Zealand. 

Piha Beach Sunset 

Have any questions about visiting Piha Beach or want to share your own experience at Kitekite Falls? Let us know in the comments below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar



New Zealand Travel Planning 

Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.

 Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.

 Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also,  Hostelworld should be your go to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

North Island New Zealand

Travel Tips & Guides:  10 Helpful NZ Travel Tips – South Island Itinerary25 Beautiful BeachesWellington to Picton Ferry15 Freedom Camping Tips27 Delicious Food & Drinks

Auckland & Northland: Cape Reinga LighthouseRussellMangonuiMount EdenDevonport Day TripWaiheke Island Guide9 Best Waiheke Wineries

Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to DoMount Tauhara HikeBest Street ArtTaranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk14 Tongariro Crossing Tips 

New Plymouth: 10 Fun Things to DoDawson FallsTe Rewa Rewa BridgeParitutu Rock HikeEgmont National Park

Wellington: 10 Fun Things to DoMount Victoria HikeBest BreweriesCable Car & Botanical Gardens

Bay of Plenty:  TairuaHot Water BeachCathedral Cove Walk8 Maunganui Things Not to MissMount Maunganui HikeEast Cape Road TripHow to Find Tua Tua Clams 

Rotorua & Raglan: Kerosene CreekRedwoods Treewalk8 Raglan Things to DoBridal Veil Falls

Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides

North Island New Zealand

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