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Piha is small settlement in West Auckland located on the rugged western coastline facing the Tasman Sea and north of Manukau Harbour. Entrance to Piha requires a drive through the scenic Waitakere Ranges and provides great views of Piha before descending toward the settlement.
The area is surrounded by native bush and provides some good walks and treks including the a short walk to the picturesque Kitekite Falls. The coastline is covered in iron sand which is black due to its volcanic origin. The beach is actually divided into two beaches by a volcanic plug called Lion Rock which divides North Piha and South Piha beaches. This rock is immediately visible to visitors and is iconic of Piha and the western coastline of Auckland in general. It features heavily in travel brochures and has appeared on some stamps as well as the phone book.
Piha is the birthplace of New Zealand surfing and still holds significance in national and international surfing championships. The beach is however considered the most dangerous public beach in New Zealand as dangerous and unpredictable rip currents shift regularly. The Piha Surf Life Saving Club is responsible for saving lives at this beach and their work is even televised in real time in a popular television reality show called 'Piha Rescue'.