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Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

San Antonio, Texas
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1,175 posts
38 reviews
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Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Hello,

I am really considering taking Bush to Beach tours for my trip this December to visit Waitakere Ranges but wondering if It would make more sense to rent car and self drive this area? Anyone done this before and if so, what should I not miss? The organized tour is $195 per person so of course I'm thinking of saving a few dollars.... but, with that being said I like the convenience of someone who KNOWS the area showing us too.... Decisions, decisions....

After Auckland we are driving a rental to Rotorua and Coromandel so we have no problem exploring on own :)

Thanks

Lorio

Auckland Central...
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1. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Hi Lorio

I have on several occasions talked to people on Bush and Beach Tours and they have all had good things to say. However like any tour you are in the hands of the operator and bound by where they choose to take you and perhaps more importantly their timetable. So it depends to some extent on how much time you have and how much you value the flexibility of self driving,

To drive out from the city to the Karekare and Piha area takes just under an hour. - I would suggest that you go via Titirangi and Scenic Drive with a stop at the Arataki Visitor Centre on the way (on Scenic Drive) where there are some fine views over towards the Manukau Harbour. They also show a short video in the theatrette which gives an interesting insight into the natural history of the ranges.

There are many places in the ranges not covered by tours but I suppose the flexibility is the main issue. For example you would be able to stay longer at the end of the day when being in December you can expect some lovely sunsets. Also you could linger in Piha for a meal either at the RSA (Returned Services Association), Bowling Club or Surf Club and meet the locals.

Hope this helps

Auckland Central...
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2. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Hi Lorio

At the cost of $195 per person I do think you should look at doing it on your own.

The Arataki information centre is very special, the name information centre is a misnomer, it has so much more to offer.

The Gannet colony at Muriwai black sand beach is very spectacular and you also have the wine country of Kumeu to visit.

Why not collect your rental car and head out west and stay the night. There are many bed and breakfasts in the area and by staying with one of them you will talk to the locals who love and know this area.

Kay

San Antonio, Texas
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1,175 posts
38 reviews
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3. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Thank you everyone - I'm very seriously considering touring the area on my own rather then paying alsmost $400 for the two of us. :) And I did want to see the Gannet Colonly and black sand beach..... is there anything else I should not miss?

I really do want to make it a day trip though - is that possible? Already assuming a early start and that it will be a full day..... we are only three days in Auckland before pushing on to Rotorua for two days and the Coromandel for two nights - unfortunatley that is all the time we have to see this country :(

Thanks

Lorio

Auckland Central...
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1,531 posts
47 reviews
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4. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Hi again

You will have plenty of time for a day trip could easily take in the Gannet Colony and the Waitakere Ranges.

I would be inclined to head out to Piha and Karekare first and then head on up to the Gannet Colony via Scenic Drive to SH 16 and then to Murawai. You would need to consult a map but it is not difficult. By the way I find Google Maps very useful for plotting routes.

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Thank you lonekaurilodge!!!! I will look at that route and I do feel much better about taking on this day trip :)

Lorio

Auckland
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124 posts
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6. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

Hi there, just to add another spin on the other comments above. I live in a the Waitakeres and travel to central city for work each day. A small village called Huia. That is also worth a look. Travels the shores of the Manukau Harbour and all left hand roads end on a beach. At the end of the road (20 min lose metal once past Huia) you come to Whatipu. This is a designated widerness area and worth a 15 min walk to the beach. can view the infamous Manukau Harbour Bar, old wharf and habitat in and around the wetlands. Very lovely, less people and considered more remote than the other populated beaches. especially if you like to "get away". There is also the lodge if you wish to stay the night.

Sue

7. Re: Waitakere Ranges - Organized Tour or Self Drive

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