Auckland’s West Coast beaches are beautiful but can be dangerous. Each year several people drown here and hundreds have to be rescued.
Visitors must be aware of the dangers and take steps to ensure their own safety.
Time and distance
The Bethells Road to Raetahinga Point section is categorised as Easy: Walking track.
From Raetahinga Point to Constable Road the track is Intermediate: Easier tramping track.
The track follows coastal cliffs and is rutted and steep in sections. It becomes slippery after periods of rain. Take care around old slip sites.
From Bethells Road the Te Henga Walkway crosses the Waitakere River by footbridge, rising along a graded section, to superb views of lagoons, dunes and the west coast surf down to O’Neill's Bay, where you can return along Bethells Beach.
To continue along Te Henga Walkway, the track climbs steeply then follows along the cliff-top where you may see gannets diving for fish. The track exits through a farm valley and another steep climb to Constable Road. Care is needed on this track, which traverses coastal cliffs and is uneven and muddy in places.
This track is part of the Hillary Trail which connects a network of existing tracks and basic backpacker campgrounds in the Waitakere Ranges.
It takes trampers through the Waitakere Ranges, past the Arataki Visitor Centre, Huia, Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Anawhata, and either winding north to Muriwai via the Te Henga Walkway, or through Cascade Kauri Park and onto Swanson.
Bethells Beach (Te Henga) is 37 km from downtown Auckland, on the west coast. From here the track is signposted near a bridge 1 km before the end of Bethells Rd opposite Lake Wainamu carpark.
The northern entrance to Te Henga Walkway is from Constable Rd, off Oaia Rd, Muriwai. The northern entrance is 46 km from downtown Auckland.
Unfortunately there is no public transport available to either end of the track.
Dogs are not permitted on the tracks because of the threat they pose to stock and wildlife with the exception of certified assistance dogs.
Track crosses private land. Keep to the track and be careful around stock.
Parts of the track may be overgrown with gorse and flax.
Be aware of dangers on the tracks and surrounding areas.