As you twist down through the forested Waitakere Range, only
the presence of a few houses straggling
beside the road gives you any hint that you’re approaching Karekare. From the car park, the beach
is still half a kilometre away, reached either along a winding path through the
black-sand dunes, or by following the shallow Karekare Stream to the wild open
sea. With no shop or café, only the presence of the Karekare Surf Club gives a
human sense of order.
It is this elemental quality that drew Jane Campion here to
film the memorable beach scenes for her Palme d’Or winning 1993 movie The Piano.
While you’re here, take a short walk across the road to Karekare
Falls, and if you’re up for something more substantial, try come prepared
for the Zion Hill–Pararaha Valley–Tunnel
Point loop (4hr) which includes a beach, bush and a section of the
long-defunct Pararaha Tramway which once hauled massive kauri logs. A steam
loco sits slowly rusting at a point where it couldn’t fit through a short