Beginning of main content

Bethells Beach


Bethells Beach

Known for Sea, Lakes and Relaxing

With plentiful trails through coastal forests, amid sand dunes and alongside dramatic waves, this isolated beach is the perfect place to get back to nature.

How do you get to Bethells Beach?

Located 30 kilometres north-west of Auckland at the mouth of the Waitakere River, Bethells Beach, or Te Henga to give it its Maori name, offers a vast, wild landscape teeming with birdlife and tramping trails.

Black sand, high surf, sand dunes and bushland provide the perfect environment for the proliferation of birdlife. In fact, the area is so well-suited to our feathered friends that there is an ongoing breeding programme here involving the New Zealand dotterel – a threatened species of bird which nests in the dunes above the waterline. Bethells Beach is now one of the rare places this bird can be seen in the natural environment.

However, these are not the only birds in the area; there's actually a wealth of birdlife that call Te Henga home, including harriers and petrels. Sometimes blue penguins even put in an appearance on the beach at night time.

While the beach is quite an isolated location nowadays, there is plentiful evidence to suggest that humans have lived at Bethells Beach, and made use of its significant attributes, for over 1,000 years. Such evidence includes cave shelters and an inland "pa" (or fortified village) used for crop storage.

While the water may seem appealing, particularly on a fine day, it's important to note that swimming and surfing conditions along the beach can be dangerous, with frequent riptides. On the other hand, this is a great spot for tramping at any time of year. So, bring a picnic and hit the trail to Lake Wainamu or Waitohi Falls. The trails here also form part of the well-known Hillary Trail covering 75 kilometres of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

In good weather, there's often a food truck at the beach, but it's best to bring your own supplies as, once you get here, it's quite a journey to get anywhere else. To reach Bethells Beach, you'll need to rent a car. Fortunately, there's more than enough free parking at the beach, mostly behind the dunes.

Activities in Bethells Beach

Once the site of an active volcano, Auckland Domain is now home to a wealth of exotic plantlife, sculpture and a wide-ranging museum.

Pull on your walking boots and follow a trail that takes in a volcanic crater, a 19th-century prison and a quirky, creative village.

Ascend the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand for stunning views over Auckland. Dine in the rotating restaurant or take a dive from a height of 194 metres.

Not just a landmark structure in the Waitemata Harbour, this box truss bridge also provides a thrilling experience for climbers and bungee-jumpers.

Despite what you might think, there's more to this museum than guns and warplanes (though those are pretty impressive too).

Just eight minutes from Auckland city centre white rhinos and a pride of lions roam. Wander safely and at your leisure amid tigers and elephants at Auckland Zoo.

Take to the black sand and rolling surf of Piha Beach for epic surfing and serene rainforest walks.

Tickets & Tours

Connect with the underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium featuring 13-themed zones, 30 live animal displays, and more than 80 marine species. Designed by renowned diver and all-around adventurer, Kelly Tarlton.

Tickets & Tours

Step into the world of Middle-earth, the Shire, and Hobbiton as you head to the movie set where acclaimed director Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books to life. Find out how this once-sleepy sheep farm was turned into a movie set and take an up-close look at real sets and props.

Tickets & Tours

Venture inside the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and enter a magical world shimmering with thousands of tiny glowworms. After discovering the incredible acoustic properties of the chamber known as the Cathedral, board a boat and glide beneath a dazzling ceiling illuminated by living lights.

Tickets & Tours

Cruise your way around Waiheke's highlights with a bus pass that makes navigating the island a snap. With the freedom to hop on and off the bus at conveniently located stops, discover the island's vineyards, restaurants, beaches, and shopping spots entirely at your own pace.

Tickets & Tours

The Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters as an icon of Auckland's sky line for 20 years. It's an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, superb dining and breathtaking views from three observation levels. If you're visiting Auckland for just one day, then a trip up the Sky Tower is a must.

Tickets & Tours

We start our day travelling from Auckland to Hobbiton through Waikato, where you will take in the gorgeous scenery of Dairy Farms and the Hauraki Plains.