Whatipu is a remote beach located on the west coast of the Auckland Region. The whole area is a scientific reserve owned by the Department of Conservation. Personally I don’t know what scientific activities are being done there, but what I do know that it is a very beautiful place.
A magnificent area of coastal dunes and wetlands, and also the breeding ground for some of New Zealand’s endangered species, so the dogs are not permitted at Whatipu.
Gibbons Track. Photo by Greg Brave.
The beach is great and demands a swim, but Whatipu has no surf patrol, and as with all the beaches west of Auckland, swimming is not safe due to rips. But walking along them is highly recommended – one of the famous features of the area is the volcanic black sand
Walking Tracks at Whatipu
There are also some walking tracks in the area. For example Whatipu-Gibbons track. It begins at the car park at Whatipu and leads up the hill to the right of the parking. The track follows the top of the cliffs to the Pararaha Valley where it descends to the beach at Pararaha point. It then follows the beach back to Whatipu. There is a swamp near the beach, but don’t try to take shortcuts through it!
I tried but eventually got stuck and had to return to the beach and continue along the coastline.
Flower at Gibbons track. Photo by Greg Brave. Click on the photo for larger preview
Place to stay
If you want to spend the night at Whatipu you can stay at Whatipu Lodge, which is nested against the steep hills at the back of the beach flats. This “lodge” is really a collection of old buildings, the oldest being the Gibbons homestead, built in 1867 by mill manager Nicholas Gibbons, with its characteristic steep-pitched roof. There is also a camping ground available at Whatipu Lodge.
Take the North-Western Motorway to the Great North Rd Exit. Follow Great North Rd onto Ash St which leads onto Rata St. Take Titirangi Rd right through Titirangi Village to the roundabout, take Huia Rd through to Huia. Continue on to Whatipu Rd for access to Whatipu at end of Whatipu Rd. From Auckland it is a 40 minutes drive.