Piha is possibly New Zealand’s best known beach and for good reason. Not only is the scenery stunning but this is the birthplace of surfing in New Zealand. In addition, Piha is less than an hour’s drive from the centre of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city.
Despite being so close to the North Island’s main city Piha remains relatively unspoilt. The beach backs onto the rugged and heavily forested coastline of the Waitakere Ranges which is a national park meaning the area hasn’t been over-developed.
The sand along this stretch of coast is quite unusual in that not only is it black but is also magnetic. This is due to the high iron content which in turn relates to its volcanic origins. Piha’s black sand was produced by the eruption of the mighty Taupo volcano many milenia ago and is deposited along this coast by the Waikato River.
There are other hints to New Zealand’s volcanic past at Piha. Set towards the southern end of the beach is the towering, iconic Lion Rock or Whakaari in Maori. It gets its name from the fact it looks a little like a lying lion from some angles although it is actually “volcanic plug” which dates back 16 million years.
As the original and one of New Zealand’s best surfing beaches you can expect the sea to often be anything but calm. However, even on the calm days care should be taken as there can be strong, unpredictable rip currents at Piha. Despite being home to two of the country’s premiere surf lifesaving clubs the sea here has still claimed several lives over the years. During the summer months the bathing is generally safe and as long as swimmers stay between the flags put out by the lifeguards there should be no danger.
Piha is big enough to soak up the summer crowds. There is beachfront parking, public toilets, changing rooms and a takeaway serving food and drinks on the beach.
Submit a correction
More North Island beaches in New Zealand
Piha beach Weather Info
Current weather (Mon Feb 24th 12:00)
20°C / 68°F
Week weather forecast
Mon 24th20°C / 68°F
Tue 25th21°C / 70°F
Wed 26th23°C / 73°F
Thu 27th24°C / 75°F
Fri 28th23°C / 73°F
Sat 29th23°C / 73°F
5 Day Piha beach UV Index
A UV Index reading of 3 or more means some precautions should be taken. For more information visit our guide to the UV Index.
Average Water Temp
Piha beach tide times & sea state
Mon 24/02 »
Surf report for Mon 24/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 7:00 6ft 10s 16mph 13:00 5ft 9s 11mph 19:00 5ft 11s 11mph Tide times Low 5:44am (0.54m) High 11:47am (3.12m) Low 6:03pm (0.55m) Daylight First light 06:34 Sunrise 07:01 Sunset 20:09 Dark 20:36
Tue 25/02 »
Surf report for Tue 25/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 7:00 5ft 12s 9mph 13:00 5ft 17s 10mph 19:00 5ft 16s 10mph Tide times High 12:03am (3.06m) Low 6:16am (0.51m) High 12:20pm (3.14m) Low 6:35pm (0.53m) Daylight First light 06:35 Sunrise 07:02 Sunset 20:08 Dark 20:34
Wed 26/02 »
Surf report for Wed 26/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 7:00 5ft 15s 7mph 13:00 5ft 15s 4mph 19:00 5ft 14s 11mph Tide times High 12:34am (3.08m) Low 6:47am (0.51m) High 12:50pm (3.13m) Low 7:04pm (0.54m) Daylight First light 06:36 Sunrise 07:03 Sunset 20:06 Dark 20:33
Thu 27/02 »
Surf report for Thu 27/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 7:00 5ft 12s 11mph 13:00 5ft 12s 9mph 19:00 4ft 12s 10mph Tide times High 1:04am (3.07m) Low 7:16am (0.53m) High 1:19pm (3.09m) Low 7:33pm (0.56m) Daylight First light 06:37 Sunrise 07:04 Sunset 20:05 Dark 20:32
Fri 28/02 »
Surf report for Fri 28/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 7:00 4ft 12s 12mph 13:00 5ft 12s 14mph 19:00 5ft 12s 15mph Tide times High 1:34am (3.02m) Low 7:47am (0.59m) High 1:49pm (3.01m) Low 8:03pm (0.61m) Daylight First light 06:39 Sunrise 07:05 Sunset 20:04 Dark 20:30
Sat 29/02 »
Surf report for Sat 29/02 Swell Period Swell direction Wind direction Wind speed Swell Wind 4:00 6ft 11s 11mph 10:00 5ft 12s 5mph 16:00 5ft 14s 9mph Tide times High 2:06am (2.94m) Low 8:20am (0.67m) High 2:20pm (2.90m) Low 8:37pm (0.68m) Daylight First light 06:40 Sunrise 07:06 Sunset 20:02 Dark 20:29