We recently visited the Tasman Sea for the first time at Piha (which I am told is pronounced pee-ha). Another beautiful beach with beautiful scenery on the way as we go through the Waitakere Ranges National Park. The sea is much rougher on this West coast than we have seen on the East and as such attracts that interesting breed of hobbyists we call surfers. Did you know that at its narrowest, in Auckland, the distance between the Tasman and Pacific is only around 1.5km?
The sand at Piha and at Karekare just down the coast is very dark indeed (see the photo of my feet!), indeed at Piha it is part gold and part black which will be related to volcanic activity I dare say. The area is famous for people getting into difficulty due to the strong ocean currents in the area (they even have a TV show about Piha Rescue!) and having had the chance to frolic in the Tasman Sea (you will be pleased to know there are no pictures of me in mid-frolic!), I can confirm that my calves were aching the following day just from trying to stand up in the surf – fair to say that there isn’t much between here and Australia if you get swept away!
Piha beach is split into two by the enormous presence of Lion Rock which looks very much like a lion when you view its profile – a little like the Egyptian Sphinx I thought. Lion Rock is a sacred Maori site and historically was used as a fortification – you can walk part of the way up but not all of the way due to safety concerns over falling rocks.