December 11, 2015
12.12.2015 - 12.12.2015 18 °C
So..we mentioned Sam one of the flight attendants on Air New Zealand. Well, we called her last night and her offer stood, to take us to see Piha Beach. So we left our hotel and walked to Grafton Station to pick up the train to Glen Eden station, where she picked us with her her flatmate Erin. The Trains are very clean and similar to the our LRT in Calgary. Cost was $6.50/person for approximately 7 stops or 15 km ride (EVERYTHING IS EXPENSIVE IN AUCKLAND). Then we had about a 45 minute drive to the west coast. Piha Beach is approx 40 km west of Auckland. The drive reminded us of Costa Rica - very lusch greenery - tons of ferns. We arrived in the small village and there was 1 coffee shop and a little cafe/pizzeria in town.
We parked our car and headed off towards the surf. The beach is black because of the heavy iron ore deposits. I had seen alot of photos of this beach but was overwhelmed by the beauty.... and besides a surf school, we had the beach to ourselves. This is the most famous beach in New Zealand. From the 1930s Piha was discovered by sportsmen who tested their prowess with Hawaian surf boards, surf boats and body surfing. Malibu board riding arrived in 1958 and Piha has ever since been a popular destination for surfers.
When the book indicated this is a locals beach only, they were not kidding. We may have seen 50 people on the beach for the entire morning.
We spent a good time watching the surfing school in action, and then figured out they were teaching special olympians how to surf. It was a great experience watching the smiles on their faces, for balancing on the surf board.
Nick even got into the action, trying to lay on one of the boards. He got frightened though, and asked Uncle to take him to the water instead.
We took our hosts to the little pizzeria where we enjoyed fantastic pizza. We drove back to their house and then took the train back into town. We checked out our pool for an hour, got changed and enjoyed some cocktails in our hotel executive lounge.
Then we set off for Ponsonby Road - about 5km from our hotel. It's a trendy street with lots of ethnic/fusion restaurants and shops. We had some Mexican snacks and sangria and then headed home, via Franklin Street which was lit up with Xmas lights