Waterfall chasing and sand dune jumping at Karekare

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Lazy Sunday afternoons spent exploring waterfalls and beaches at Karekare, followed by lunch on top of the Waitakere Ranges – it’s a recipe for a perfect family day out.

After being cooped up in the house all weekend we wanted to go exploring.  The criteria;

  1. Somewhere the kids could play
  2. Somewhere I could take photos
  3. Somewhere we could escape the city but not drive all day
  4. Somewhere different
  5. Somewhere beautiful
  6. Somewhere with a bit of adventuring and exploring

Karekare ticked every one of these things.

It was my first time visiting Karekare.  James however knew it well, citing many a teenage party on the banks of the small settlement with a wistful look in his eye so he drove out there.

The drive itself is beautiful.  For James and I there were many memories as we wound through familiar West Auckland haunts of our teenage years before we turned off the steep and unforgiving road down to Karekare.  It is in most parts just one lane wide, with low hanging branches framing the road that would turn away most trucks.  For the kids this was one of the most exciting parts of the drive debating wether you would survive driving off the side of it (let’s hope we’ll never test that).

We decided to visit the waterfall first.  It’s a super easy walk down to the waterfall with heaps of things to explore on the way like a little cave to crawl through, rivers and water holes to bath in and trees to climb.

Karekare Falls

The waterfall itself is stunning.  Framed in green and big enough to satisfy most waterfall hunters (and of course the selfie seekers).

Karekare falls

There are also lots of smaller waterfalls and streams leading up to the main waterfall which are equally stunning.

Karekare Falls

After exploring the waterfall we headed off to the beach (just down the road).  There is not much parking in Karekare so if you get one keep it and walk from spot to spot.

The beach itself is stunning and certainly worthy of being the backdrop to Jane Campion’s The Piano.

Karekare beach

The kids waded through the stream leading out to the ocean…

Karekare beach

And ran and jumped over the rolling sand dunes that covered the beach.

Karekare Beach

I had briefly thought about taking a family photo while we were out there but as happens every time I try to do this everyone suddenly had an overwhelming urge to make funny faces or wander away.  Don’t you do this for a job James asked.  Hmm, I do but for some reason it’s easier with other peoples families than it is with mine!  So I resorted to my normal stalking my family members and taking photos of them as they played and took a quick selfie of myself so that at least they would know I was there (blog post coming about Mum’s getting in the photos).

Karekare Beach

By the time we had finished exploring James and the kids were ravenous so we decided to head to Elevation for a bite to eat.  Sitting on Scenic Drive and overlooking the Waitakere Ranges it’s a great spot for the view alone.  Add to that a reasonably priced, kid friendly menu and it was definitely a winner.Elevation Brasserie Scenic Drive

So, for a Sunday exploring with the kids – head on out to Karekare and get your fill of views, dunes and waterfalls.



Cat is one half of Getting Lost. She met James (the other half of Getting Lost) when she was 12 when she was camping over summer holidays. They were best friends for 25 years before finally getting together and now they live together with her 2 daughters and his daughter. Getting Lost is their story of the amazing spots they discover around this beautiful country of ours - both together and with the kids, as well as how they are making their way through blended family life. They would love it if you would join them for the ride.

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