Karioitahi, situated near Waiuku in South Auckland, is a beautiful west coast beach. It is one of two beaches within Auckland that you are legally allowed to drive on, making it a great place to visit.
As you come down the road to the beach entrance, you have the option of turning left to go to the Southern access or right to go to the Northern access. The Northern section of the beach consists of lots of small bays, formed by big cliffs that fall to the high tide line. There’s lots of nice sheltered coves with small waterfalls which make a great place to park up for a picnic. The further north you drive, the more rugged the landscape is. The rocks around the area make for some awesome exploring opportunities, as well as endless entertainment for the kids. The sand is generally nice and hard along this part of the beach, making it easy for driving along, so watch out for the general public in their road cars!
The Southern section of the beach is a bit more like Muriwai, with flatter land and some forest behind the (very small) sand dunes. There’s a few creeks which flow to the sea along this stretch, which generally make nice places to park up if you’re there for the day. Driving this part is a little bit more difficult, with some softer sand putting off most of the road cars.
Karioitahi is a very popular beach, especially with fisherman and horses, so it makes sense to take care when you’re driving on the beach. Its awesome when vehicles and 4wds can occupy the same spaces peacefully, so let’s keep it up on this beach – slow down and give a friendly wave if you’re passing any of the horse riders.
As with Muriwai, a permit needs to be obtained to drive on the beach, which can be applied for online at: https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/licences-regulations/driving-on-beaches/Pages/apply-for-beach-driving-permit-muriwai-karioitahi-beaches.aspx
– Louis Prouting