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Bethells Beach, Auckland Overview

Located 30 km away from central Auckland, Bethell's Beach is a small seaside settlement on northern Auckland, on New Zealand's North Island. The beach was renamed in 1976 from Bethell's Beach to Te Henga, meaning 'sand' in Maori, to better reflect the Maori heritage of the beach.

The valley surrounding Bethell's Beach is historically significant as it shows clear signs of human habitation reaching more than a millennium into the past. These signs of human settlement include archaeologically important artefacts such as walkways and canoe landings, amongst others. With the advent of the first European settlers, Bethell's Beach underwent drastic changes in the nature and physical makeup of the beach. Land was cleared to make way for timber felling and for farmland, and the further addition of a dam on Waikatere River ensured that the riverbed's elevation had changed, changing the river's outflow to the sea. 

The beach was known as Bethell's Beach until 1976 in recognition of John Bethell, who negotiated with the city council and convinced them to sell the land to the public domain.

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Things to Do

1. Surfing 


Since the beach has been commercialised, a lot of shops have popped up serving various facilities for the tourists. Muriwai Surf School is an excellent place to start surfing. Regardless of whether you’re a professional surfer or just an amateur, the school has something in store for all. Besides teaching surfing, they also rent out surfboards. They also provide personal instructors to people who are scared of going into the water to surf for the first time. You can also pay a visit to Lake Wainamu.

2. Black Sand Beaches

Black sand beaches

There’s plenty of black sand around, and there’s where the black sand tours come in. But these tours aren’t for those who are there only for the pictures. You really need to roll in the mud, jump off cliffs, and swim if you want to complete this tour. Lucky ones even get to catch a glimpse of a whale or a dolphin. The KiteKite falls are also a significant attraction although they’re based at a nearby beach called Piha beach. You might want to go there if all the water around you has not satisfied your appetite of it. You can come here for a picnic and even dive deep into the water of the fall.

3. Sand Dunes

Water isn’t the only thing worth surfing here. Bethell's Beach is filled with sand dunes, and if you’re into it, there’s nothing like rolling down a sand dune. Be careful out there when the sun is shining to avoid suffering burns. The beach water may also be turbulent, and it is possible that the day you decide to visit this beach you can’t go for a swim.

How To Reach Bethell's Beach

As a result of the concerted effort on the part of New Zealand's government to boost its tourism industry, popular attractions such as Bethell's Beach has been revitalised. Hence, there are multiple transit options available to reach this location. If you’re visiting New Zealand as a tourist, it’s recommended to rent a car. If you rent a car then you can travel to many places at your own convenience without having to worry about changing bus schedules. However, if you’re simply not up for the hassle then you can always choose the bus to get to Te Henga at any bus stop. There are also a few trains which go up to that location.

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