Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Short Tour to Piha

I decided to get out of town again this weekend. Even though the locals warned me against it, I was set on an overnight bike tour to Piha. So Saturday by around noon I was packed and on the road. Getting out of Auckland is a mess of cars and streets I don't know, but this time I actually checked a map before heading out the door. Soon I was lunching at Titirangi, a nice set of shops and stores west of Auckland.

Piha is on the other side of a set of hills called the Wiatakere Ranges; they provide a frame for your photos at the visitor center:

A short climb later I turned from Scenic Drive to Piha Road and climbed some more. Eventually the road turned steeply downhill and Piha came into view:

Fantastic! Piha is a small beach community regularly run over by crowds from Auckland. They have managed to keep most big-time development away, hence, not all accomodation is as fancy as the built-in campers at the motorlodge where I set up a tent:

It's the early season so the campground was not crowded. I went and flew a kite, watched some local lawn bowlers (not everyone was wearing white this time, whew), hiked a bit, and then watched the sun set:
Beautiful! Dinner was a burger (the "Blair" burger - complete with a fried egg and some kind of strange condiment, mmmm) and chips (plus tomato sauce, at NZ$2 for a tin!). Have I mentioned it yet? Burgers are a real deal in NZ - it's NZ$8-10 for a kebab but only NZ$3-5 for a burger. Just bring your own ketchup.

The next morning I got up, hiked around the beach, found a nice track up the hill and got a picture of Te Piha, also called "Lion's Back" for obvious reasons once you get to the right angle:

Here is photo of me reflecting on anenomes:
All in all it was a great trip. Even the punk-in-a-car that buzzed me and sprayed me with water (I hope) on the climb back out of Piha couldn't take away from a wonderful quick getaway. The locals also seemed to be enjoying themselves. If this is an undesirable beach I can't wait to visit the good ones.

Here's a bikely map of the ride:


Marlene said...


dafydd said...

Hi - Great report - looks inviting. I'm in Auckland for a week in December. Thinking of hiring a touring bike / road bike from somewhere like 'Bike Central' then cycling around the Waitakere Ranges, stopping in somewhere like Piha. Any thoughts ? How many cycling hours did your trip take ? thanks, Dafydd.