One of the top things to do when visiting the Waitakere Ranges is a visit to the famous black sand Piha Beach. While walking the beach and taking in the views from down below is an incredible experience, why not also enjoy the view from above? The Tasman Lookout Track is a short pathway on the south end of the beach that will give you a vast landscape view of Piha Beach, Lion’s Rock and the Tasman Sea. So read on to learn how to take part for yourself!
1) Where is the Tasman Lookout
The Tasman Lookout is located just at the southern point of Piha Beach, which is located in the greater Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. The Ranges expand from Piha Beach in all directions and are full of hikes, waterfalls, beaches and plenty of viewpoints.
To get to the Waitakere Ranges and the Tasman Lookout, you can easily make the quick 1 hour drive west from Auckland and be there in no time.
All you need to do is head to the Piha Beach parking lot (there are plenty of spots that line the beach), and you can walk to the lookout from there.
Quick Parking Tip: Try and park your car closer to the southern end of the beach to save some walking time. I pinned down on the map below one of the parking lot options that can work for you, along with the entrance to the trail and the viewpoint itself.
2) How to Get to the Waitakere Ranges
Although the Waitakere Ranges are pretty close to Auckland, there is no public transport between Auckland and the Waitakere Ranges. That leaves you with two main options to take part of a day there:
1) Rent a Car
If you plan on doing a New Zealand road trip, then you can easily add on the Waitakere Ranges to your plan. That is exactly what I did when I visited the country as I headed there as a day trip from Auckland. Renting a car is a pretty popular option in New Zealand since there are just so many cities to see and activities to take part of. Overall, it just will make your trip that much more seamless and enjoyable.
There are several companies that offer car rentals either from the airport or from the city center.
I recommend you take a look at the Driving in New Zealand Guide that goes into detail about the car renting process as well as the rules and regulations of the road.
Do note though that the drive down into the Waitakere Ranges can be a windy one. There are some tight turns and narrow streets to get you down there so just be super careful during the drive.
2) Join A Tour
Your second main option here would be to join a day tour from Auckland. There are a few companies that run these tours ranging anywhere around $60-$100+ NZD per person depending on how long and how much is packed into the day.
Each tour may be a bit different but the good thing is nearly all of them will have a visit to Piha Beach. This will give you the opportunity to visit the beach and head up to the Tasman Lookout for those expansive views.
It is nice to have everything taken care of for you from pickup to drop off but of course it does come with a price. There is also an option here to use the a shuttle service from Auckland that will drop you off at Piha Beach.
» You can check out some Waitakere Ranges tours on Viator to find one that works for you best
3) The Tasman Lookout Track
Before heading up to the Tasman Lookout, you can first spend some time enjoying Piha Beach, jumping in the water, catching some waves, and even climb Lion’s Rock.
Once you have had enough time enjoying all that the beach has to offer, head on over to the Tasman Lookout.
You will want to stay on the beach itself and walk all the way to the southern end (this should be in the same direction to where you parked your car).
Once at the very end of the beach you can head back into the parking lot towards the roundabout. You will see a “No Parking” gate with a staircase a bit further behind.
All you need to do is walk around the gate and up towards the staircase. As you approach the staircase you will see the Tasman Lookout Track sign indicating a 20 minute walk to the viewpoint.
Simply enough, it is just a bit of an uphill climb on some steps as you get closer and closer to the main lookout point. Along the way you should get some quick views in of Piha Beach and Lion’s Rock through the trees as well.
Once up top at the viewpoint area you will be able to see the vast view of the entire Piha Beach from north to south with the waves crashing down below. Right in the middle will be Lion’s Rock, making one beautiful landscape to enjoy.
After enough time taking in the view from up top, it is time to head right back down the same direction you came. Be careful as you make your way down the stairs as it will be all downhill.
Now that you have enjoyed Tasman Lookout, it is time to head off to your next Waitakere Ranges destination…
4) Waitakere Ranges Things To Do
The Waitakere Ranges have so much more to offer than just Piha Beach, Lion’s Rock and the Tasman Lookout. Whether it be waterfalls, hikes, or other beaches, there will be something out there for you. Below are the 5 other potential spots to stop by at when visiting the area.
» All of these spots are also covered in the 7 Best Waitakere Ranges Walks Guide up on the site:
1) Arataki Visitor Centre
The Arataki Visitor Centre may very well be your first stop of the day. Located just on the outskirts of the ranges, the visitor center is full of helpful information about the Waitakere Ranges and there are also some nearby trails to take part of as well.
2) Kitekite Falls Track
One of the most frequented hiking trails of the region is the one to Kitekite Falls. This 1.5 hour round trip trail will take you through the forest and to a beautiful waterfall. And if you are up for a bit of an extension, head up to the top of the falls to take in the view from above.
» Learn all about it in the Kitekite Falls Track Guide
3) Mercer Bay Loop
If you are looking for more coastal views, then the Mercer Bay Loop is for you. This circular trail will take you up along the coastline as you enjoy the vast Waitakere cliffs over the Tasman Sea.
» The Mercer Bay Loop Hiking Guide has you covered
4) Karekare Falls
Another waterfall worth the visit is Karekare Falls. Just a 10 minute walk from the parking lot you will find a serene waterfall out in the forest.
5) Karekare Beach
Lastly you have another black sand beach on the list – Karekare Beach. Although it is less frequented than Piha Beach, Karekare is just as beautiful and goes on for miles and miles down the coast.
» Check out the Guide to Karekare Beach and Karekare Waterfall to learn more about both
5) Where to Stay in Auckland
If taking the trip from Auckland you will need to spend the night there to take part of the day. Auckland offers its variety of accommodation options – from backpacker friendly to super luxury. Below are some highly rated options to choose from at different price points:
That about does it for a guide to the Tasman Lookout Track near Piha Beach! If you are interested in some other helpful content for your trip, check out the other New Zealand itineraries and guides up on the site. Feel free to ask any questions below and have fun out there!