Have you ever been on New Zealand’s amazing west coast? If your answer is ‘no’, you should go to these lovely places as fast as possible. I’ve been to three of these beaches. I’d like to describe them and give you some impressions.

The easiest thing to recognise, and also the most exciting fact is that there’s black sand, which gets its unusual colour from the volcanic stone, on the west coast. I’ve never seen a beach in this style before. Usually the coastline at these spots is quite rough and huge waves reach the coast. Be careful swimming! There are strong rips and currents. You’d better ask your guide before you enter the water.

Piha beach is the most famous of Auckland’s west coast beaches. There are two lookout points, which you can reach by a 15-minute walk. One of them, called Lion Rock, is famous for its shape that looks like a resting lion. Piha beach is a surfer’s paradise; paradise with the meaning of a nice surfer spot located in a beautiful landscape. What I never will forget is the breathtaking sunset we saw at this beach. 

Bethells beach is rougher than Piha beach and it might be the roughest of these beaches. I loved the noise of the waves smashing against the rocks. All the surfers I saw were wearing  helmets; I’ve never seen this before. We needed to cross a little creek at the beginning of our two-hour walk along the beach. I took off my shoes while others tried to jump over the gap. Some of them had success but others ended up with wet shoes. What I want to express with the previous sentence is that I suggest taking off your shoes! But it was worth doing this, because we visited the caves, which are at the other end of the beach. You can walk through them and take some interesting pictures. 

Last but not least, there is Karekare beach, which is located next to Piha beach. The road down to Karekare is steep and windy. So when you reach the end of the valley you feel like you are hundreds of miles away from Auckland. There are only a few houses and thousands of trees. We did an hour-long bushwalk up the hill and through the rainforest which is thick and filled with tropical plants. There are a couple of lookouts on the way from where you can enjoy a nice view over the beach. After this amazing walk did we go down to the beach. There is a sand dune in front of a rock face. You should have a competition who is able to climb it as the fastest. That’s funny and a good entertainment. 

The beach walks are in my opinion the best social programme activities. You can do speaking practise while you enjoy an incredible landscape. It’s a must to visit these spots! If I hadn’t seen these beaches I wouldn’t know the real New Zealand. Book it and enjoy it!

by Marius Buehlmann  a student at Languages International Auckland