Mercer Bay

Mercer Bay

The steep tramping tack down to Mercer Bay, south of Piha in the Waitakere Ranges, is the most adventurous walking option in the Auckland region. There is a reasonably obvious but unmarked worn clay track from Comans Track as you approach the north end of Mercer Bay.

You will see a warning sign as you start down the only flattish section of the track. After that, it is a series of steep drops (crumbly in places) until you reach the beach.

The good news. There is only one brief section where you may feel exposed to the cliff, and in several places ropes have been laid to make it easier. But best to do this in boots, with someone else in case of an emergency, and in dry weather. Make sure you have plenty of water as it is quite a slog coming back up the 200+ metre climb.

At the bottom of the walk is a lagoon which you need to cross to get to the black sand beach. Make sure you have protection for your feet if the sand is hot as it’s a bit of a walk over a low dune to the tide line.

On the right side there are some modest caves and an arch that are accessible at low tide. To the left in the surf is the unusual rock that you probably noticed from the top. From high up it looks like a handle but as you get closer it looks more like an uplifted head.

It is not safe to swim in the surf, so take extreme care if you find it irresistible and never swim alone.

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