Access to Karekare in the Waitākere Ranges, Auckland, is from a turnoff from the main road to Piha. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from the central city and you will need a vehicle.
Everything about Karekare is entrancing. There is the name, the drive down through native forest from Piha Road and Karekare Falls. The falls are just a few minutes walk from the parking area. Then take pretty Pohutukawa Glade or the lagoon walk which are the main access points to the beach. Once you are on the beach, the surf patrolled safe swimming area is towards the cliffs to the north.
If you prefer walking for a while, head south for an hour and you will get to Tunnel Point and campsite. Tunnel Point is one of the few relics of the industrious settlers that mostly wiped out the areas ancient kauri forests.
The good news is that the forest is recovering and there are large areas of young to 100 year old trees throughout the region. Hence the concern about Kauri Dieback Disease.
If you do hike south, consider this. Over the last hundred years, the beach has become much wider as sand has collected along the coast!
Due to Cyclone Gabrielle, there have been road closures in the Waitākere, and the road to Karekare was closed in early 2023. For updates on closures, check the Auckland Council website.