Exploring Muriwai: A Hidden Gem on New Zealand's Coastline


blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Welcome to our latest blog post where we're about to embark on a virtual journey to one of New Zealand's most spectacular coastal gems - Muriwai. Nestled just a short drive from Auckland, Muriwai isn't just a beach; it's a diverse and vibrant destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, thrilling activities, and serene landscapes. 

    Whether you're a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply in need of a peaceful escape, Muriwai has something special for everyone. In this post, we'll explore the wonders of Muriwai, from its famous gannet colony and striking black sand beaches to the exhilarating activities and breathtaking coastal walks. 

    So, let's dive into the magic of Muriwai and discover why this stunning location is a must-visit on New Zealand's travel map.

    Muriwai Beach

    What is Muriwai?

    Muriwai, nestled a mere 45 minutes from Auckland, New Zealand, is a coastal haven where the wild beauty of nature is on full display. Known for its expansive and unique black sand beach, stretching over 60 kilometers, Muriwai is a striking contrast of dark volcanic sands against the blue of the Tasman Sea. 

    This natural phenomenon, resulting from the area's volcanic past, offers a dramatic and captivating landscape. The beach is flanked by lush native bush, creating a diverse and rich environment where the land meets the sea. 

    Visitors to Muriwai are treated to a serene and spacious setting, where the vastness of the beach offers a sense of solitude and a deep connection with the natural world.

    What is Muriwai Known For?

    Muriwai's most notable feature is its remarkable gannet colony, one of the few accessible mainland colonies in the world. From August to March, these cliffs become a thriving hub of avian activity. 

    The colony is reachable via well-maintained trails leading to viewing platforms that allow visitors an intimate glimpse into the life of these seabirds. Observing the gannets as they nest, soar, and dive into the ocean is a mesmerizing experience. 

    These platforms not only provide a unique wildlife viewing opportunity but also offer sweeping views of Muriwai's rugged coastline and the vast ocean, making for an unforgettable natural spectacle.

    Muriwai in New Zealand

    How Do I Get to Muriwai?

    The journey to Muriwai from Auckland is as much a part of the experience as the destination itself. This scenic 45-minute drive takes you through some of New Zealand's most picturesque landscapes, transitioning from urban scenery to rolling hills, vineyards, and rural vistas. 

    The route is well-marked and offers several spots for travelers to stop and enjoy the views or a leisurely picnic. This drive encapsulates the essence of New Zealand's countryside, offering a peaceful and visually stunning transition from the city's hustle and bustle to the tranquil beauty of Muriwai.

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    What is the Best Time to Visit Muriwai?

    While Muriwai's allure is constant throughout the year, the period from August to March is particularly special. This is when the gannet colony is present, and the weather is generally more favorable, with warmer temperatures and less rainfall. 

    These months offer the best conditions for outdoor activities and exploring the area. The presence of the gannet colony during this time provides a unique wildlife experience. However, even outside this period, Muriwai's breathtaking landscapes and tranquil atmosphere make it an appealing destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat amidst nature.

    Best time to visit Muriwai

    Things to Do in Muriwai

    Gannet Colony Viewing

    The gannet colony at Muriwai is a spectacular natural attraction, drawing visitors from all over. Perched on the cliffs, these large seabirds can be observed up close from the viewing platforms. The colony is most active between August and March, when the gannets are nesting and rearing their young. 

    Watching these birds dive into the sea at high speeds to catch fish is a thrilling sight. The platforms are strategically placed to offer the best views while ensuring the safety of both the birds and the visitors. This experience is not just about watching birds; it's an opportunity to witness the raw beauty of nature and the cycle of life in a stunning, unspoiled setting.

    Surfing on Muriwai Beach

    Muriwai Beach is a surfer's paradise, known for its consistent and varied surf breaks. This beach caters to all levels of surfers, from beginners taking their first lessons to experienced surfers looking for challenging waves. 

    The beach's long stretch ensures plenty of room for everyone, and the consistent swell coming off the Tasman Sea makes it a reliable spot for good surfing conditions. Surf schools and rental shops are available nearby, providing lessons and equipment for those new to the sport.

    The surf culture here is vibrant and welcoming, making Muriwai Beach a great place to ride the waves and connect with fellow surf enthusiasts.

    Beach in Muriwai

    Blokarting, Biking, and Kite Flying

    Muriwai's wide-open spaces and strong coastal winds create the perfect conditions for blokarting, biking, and kite flying. Blokarting, a unique blend of sailing and karting, is an exhilarating way to experience the beach. 

    Biking along the coast offers a more leisurely but equally enjoyable way to explore the area, with trails suitable for all skill levels. Kite flying is another popular activity, with the beach's open space and steady winds providing ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced kite flyers. These activities are great for families and groups looking for fun, land-based adventures in Muriwai.

    Coastal Walks

    The coastal walks at Muriwai are a must for anyone looking to enjoy the area's natural beauty at a leisurely pace. The boardwalk and trails hug the coastline, offering stunning views of the ocean, cliffs, and the gannet colony. These walks range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, catering to all fitness levels. 

    Along the way, walkers can enjoy the fresh ocean air, the sound of the waves, and the chance to spot local wildlife. The walks are well-maintained and marked, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

    Golfing at Muriwai Golf Club

    The Muriwai Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience with its stunning location set against the backdrop of Muriwai Beach. The course is known for its challenging layout, with the sea breeze adding an extra layer of difficulty. The views of the Tasman Sea and the surrounding landscape make for an unforgettable round of golf. 

    The club welcomes players of all skill levels and offers facilities such as a pro shop, coaching, and equipment hire. Playing a round of golf at Muriwai Golf Club is not just about the sport; it's about enjoying the game in one of the most scenic settings in New Zealand.

    Things to do in Muriwai

    How Long is Muriwai Beach?

    Stretching over 60 kilometers, Muriwai Beach is one of the longest on New Zealand's coastline. This expanse offers ample space for various activities and ensures that the beach never feels overcrowded.


    Muriwai is more than just a beach; it's a destination that combines natural beauty, wildlife, and adventure. Its proximity to Auckland, coupled with its diverse range of activities, makes it a must-visit for anyone traveling to New Zealand. 

    Whether you're there to witness the gannet colony or to catch a wave, Muriwai promises an experience that is both enriching and exhilarating.

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