At Muriwai, the Tasman surf pounds the black sand just as
heavily as it does at the West Coast beaches of Piha and Karekare, a few
kilometres further south. But here the bush-clad headlands that hem in the southern
beaches give way to a massive sweep of black/gold sand running 60km northwest
to the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour. Technically the beach is a legal road, but
we don’t recommend driving on it unless you know what you’re doing.
Instead, park by the beach and follow the 10min walking
trail up to the headland that separates Muriwai beach from the surf beach of
Maori Bay to the Muriwai Gannet Colony. Here, the coastal cliff and the craggy islands just offshore are
slathered with nesting gannets. At least they are during the August to March nesting
season. Many cluster right under the viewing platforms barely a metre from your
Muriwai has more facilities the other beaches with a couple
of cafés, a golf club, horse riding and a shack renting surfboards, boogie
boards and wetsuits.