O’Neill Bay

O’Neill Bay

O’Neill Bay is one of the prettiest beaches on the Waitakere west coast. It is bounded by spectacular Raetahinga Point to the north and dunes covered in bush, backed by orange rock-topped cliffs. For photographers, it is particularly good for reflection shots, as there is a large relatively flat section in the middle of the beach. It will be tempting to go for a swim. But take care as it is not patrolled and like all these surf beaches can be dangerous. It is especially dangerous as the tide goes out.

Walk along the beach towards the far end. About two-thirds of the way along, there is a rocky outcrop called Tangihau Point. This has quite a large cave, with a small exit to the rear. At low tide, keep going to the rocks below Raetahinga Point and start poking around. You’ll probably be delighted at what you find and can even collect a few legal-sized mussels.

The bay is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Te Henga Bethells Beach. Walk across the Waitakere River as it runs down the beach into the surf. Continue past Waitākere Bay to the top of the sand dune. Immediately in front of you from the top of the dune is a conical island connected to the O’Neill Bay beach – Kauwahaia Island. After that is the main section of the beach.

You can also access Te Henga Walkway from O’Neill Bay. There is a marked short access track through the dunes just beyond Kauwahaia Island. Another alternative is to walk into O’Neill Bay along the Te Henga Walkway from the track access on Bethells Road.

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