A Not-So-Pretty Postcard From Piha


As you wind your way down the never ending road to Piha, you’re soon welcomed by the open expanse that is Piha Beach. With Lion Rock standing proud over the village, the rocky coastline in the distance and all your hopes for a good day, packed into one car, Piha Beach is definitely one of the many wonders of New Zealand.

Yes I wound my way down the never ending road, yes I was welcomed by the incredible views of Piha and yes I sort of had all my hopes for a good day packed into my car. However, I also had my realistic hat on that day. Auckland was hit with some pretty torrential wind & rain, with trees falling down and power lines being taken out, it really didn’t feel all that different to being at home. However, me not wanting to waste a moment, I decided to brave the weather and head out to explore.


I knew my day of exploring wasn’t going to be easy. Dodging the showers, avoiding the sand storms but overall, trying to make the most of what this weather had to throw at me. I arrived early doors, the beach was empty. Literally not a soul in sight. This jurassic-park-style coastline lay bare. I zipped shut my bag, locked the car and I made my way across the small sand dunes and down onto the beach. The wind was lethal, nearly taking my hat right from off my head. The sand storms stinging my legs as if a thousand bees had attacked me.

The camera came out and as I snapped the first couple of images, so did the rain. The heavens opened. The waves crashing behind me, I ran (yes ran) back to the car to avoid being drenched the whole way through. I jumped in the car and sat silent. Never had I ever seen rain quite like it. The car shaking, the winds howling and little old me, sat there sopping wet. Welcome to Piha!


The great thing about the Auckland weather, it literally changes its mind like the weather. One minute I’m taking shelter in my car, the next a peep of blue sky is making its way through the clouds, showing promise of a semi-sunny day. Quickly, all hope is taken away as another rain storm hits. But still, there’s enough breaks in the weather to be able to get out and capture some of this incredible coastline.

I drove on a bit, making my way along the shore-lined road, meandering my way through the pretty luxurious houses and onto another part of the beach. The rain had stopped, I made my move and head down onto the sand. Snapping away I was greeted by a rather unusual looking dog. For anyone who knows me, knows I was attacked by a dog a few years ago and ever since, they’ve never really been my best friend. This little guy (actually not so little), seemed pretty friendly. He had a sniff around and then wandered off. Throughout my entire day down at Piha, I kept bumping said dog. Yet no owner. Apparently, that’s just what they do in Piha… Let their dogs roam free.


I carried on snapping away, in-between rain showers, jumping in and out of my car for shelter. My legs became increasingly red, my lips became more and more filled with sand (I think I had too much lip balm on… whats new?) and my hair became more and more dishevelled. A few more people had arrived at the beach, taking a leaf out of my book and trying to dodge the storms. From above I bet we looked like a right bunch of weirdos. Running to & from the beach, jumping in and out of our cars. I bet they were British. It’s such a British thing to do, head out even if it’s raining.

There was no sign of this weather letting up. The rain got heavier, the wind got stronger and I became increasingly worried that I would leave my car and come back to find it rolling off down the road. There’s something quite thrilling about being down the beach in a storm, so open to the elements and the waves crashing on the shore. Even the rain couldn’t stop this Brit from enjoying his day out.


However, soon the novelty wore off. The pictures were captured, the legs were red and the clothes were sopping. It was time to head back home. But first, I had to get my car back up that hill. Now I kid you not, the road down into Piha is at a 45 degree angle (okay, little dramatic) but it was freakin’ steep. I was slightly worried that my car wouldn’t actually make it back up. Nevertheless, I’m here to tell the tail so you guessed it, the car made it.

I can’t wait to go back when the sun is out and I can enjoy it a little more. There are steps that take you all the way to the top of Lions Rock, so that’s definitely something I want to do. I also plan to take the family here when they come over in a few months.

So there you have it, my Not-So-Pretty Postcard From Piha.

| By Harrison |


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