The Beach Guide

Piha beach

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.

Nearest city

Muriwai Beach

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Piha beach Weather Info

Current weather (Mon Feb 24th 12:00)

Clear sky

(Clear sky)
20°C / 68°F

Sea temperature
21.5°C
70.7°F
Wind S
Rain 0.0mm
Sunrise 07:12
Sunset 19:14
Current weather

Week weather forecast

Mon 24th
Clear sky 20°C / 68°F S

9 mph
15 km/h

Tue 25th
Clear sky 21°C / 70°F SSE

9 mph
14 km/h

Wed 26th
Rain showers 23°C / 73°F SE

4 mph
6 km/h

Thu 27th
Fair 24°C / 75°F ENE

8 mph
13 km/h

Fri 28th
Rain showers 23°C / 73°F SW

5 mph
8 km/h

Sat 29th
Partly cloudy 23°C / 73°F W

7 mph
12 km/h

5 Day Piha beach UV Index

UV Index scale

A UV Index reading of 3 or more means some precautions should be taken. For more information visit our guide to the UV Index.

Temperature Averages

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 light06:34
    Sunrise07:01
    Sunset20:09
    Dark20:36
  • 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 light06:35
    Sunrise07:02
    Sunset20:08
    Dark20:34
  • 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 light06:36
    Sunrise07:03
    Sunset20:06
    Dark20:33
  • 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 light06:37
    Sunrise07:04
    Sunset20:05
    Dark20:32
  • 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 light06:39
    Sunrise07:05
    Sunset20:04
    Dark20:30
  • 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 light06:40
    Sunrise07:06
    Sunset20:02
    Dark20:29

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