The Mercer Bay walk is an easy 45 min loop along the highest sea cliffs in Auckland offering panoramic ocean views. The north looks out towards Piha all the way to Muriwai while the South overlooks Karekare and Whatipu. There are many great spots to stop for a scenic snack or if you’re up for it you can descend down an unofficial 160m high cliff track to secluded Mercer Bay.
The climb is well worth it, rewarding you with a sheltered shallow beach nestled between the forested cliffs. If the tide is out you can explore Cathedral Cave which features a natural sunroof allowing sunlight to pour down onto the jagged rocks below. Bring a torch to checkout the sides of the cave which are alive with life with multicoloured sea creatures adorning the walls.
38km from Auckland CBD No lifeguards Little to no reception No cafes, pack snacks
From Auckland central take the SH16/North Western motorway and turn left at the Te Atatu exit. At the first roundabout take the second exit onto Edmonton Rd, follow this to another roundabout. Turn right at the first, left at the second and then take the second exit at the third roundabout (effectively going straight through). Keep following the road straight ahead as it takes you down Henderson Valley Rd. From here, follow the signs to Piha Rd, following Forest Hill Rd, Scenic Drive and Piha Road.
Drive down Piha Rd until about 5 minutes in you’ll see the sign for Anawhata Road on the right. From here on it’s a narrow, gravel road for about 20 minutes through dense forest. You’ll know you're close once you’re hit with the stunning views overlooking the coast of North Piha. There is a small parking lot at the top of your climb down with a spectacular view of your destination. A 20-30 min walk (depending on how keen you are) downhill through the bush will take you to the beach.
There is a secret spot that you can find off the beaten track with 3 cascading rock pools high above the beach. Taking your kids to this particular spot is not recommended due to open cliff faces but if you’re up for an adventure it’s definitely worth finding.