Being North Shore dwellers and pretty lazy most of the time it’s a miracle that we made it out to this track (about an hour’s drive away) but we were so glad we did as the scenery is nuts.

Park up in the Bethells Road car park but make sure you find the signs to the Lake Wainamu track. The other track that has an entrance very nearby is called Te Henga and that is for serious hikers only.

We were ambitious and decided to take our five year old niece along with us which could have gone either way given that it’s a pretty substantial walk for small legs. Thankfully there’s enough interesting stuff along the way to keep little ones entertained. Namely, the gigantic black sand dunes that you’re faced with about 5 minutes into the track. These are truly incredible.

The stream near Lake Wainamu near Auckland's Te Henga otherwise known as Bethells Beach

We instantly regretted not having a boogie board so we could have surfed down them as there are some really steep bits perfect for it. If there’s one piece of advice you take from this post then make it that – BYO board/sliding device.

Apparently the dunes are actually private property but everyone walks over them to get to the lake anyway. We saw a bunch of fancy 4×4 vehicles out there and assumed it was some sort of photoshoot given how pristine they all looked. Turns out that it was just some rich Aucklanders learning how their massive vehicles are actually meant to function. Judging by the looks of them, most had never left the inner city until now but bless them for giving it a whirl.

Lake Wainamu near Auckland's Te Henga otherwise known as Bethells Beach

My favourite part of the walk is the waterfall that you get to past the halfway point of the loop around the lake. You need to take a slight detour off the path to appreciate the full beauty and serenity of the area with a beautiful Maori carving keeping watch.

Lake Wainamu near Auckland's Te Henga otherwise known as Bethells Beach

Once you’ve finished the loop around the lake you get to a point where you’ll most likely need to take off your shoes and wade through the river. That’s all part of the charm though and there’s an amazing place you can glamp at around this part – it comes with an adorable outdoor bath too.

Lake Wainamu near Auckland's Te Henga otherwise known as Bethells Beach

And because we are aaaaalll about the refueling when it comes to big walks like this, we were keen to try The Bethells Cafe that operates out of a converted trailer right down by Bethells beach. There’s picnic style seating around the area that the cafe is parked up in and I had maybe the best kumara fries of my life there. They also serve brekky baps, burgers, pizzas and baked goodies.

 

Cost: FREE

Toilets: Yes at the start of the track and by the cafe (see next point).

Good eateries nearby: Yes – The Bethells Beach Cafe.

Time needed: 2 hours (not including travel time getting out there).  

Difficulty: Easy – if a 5 year old can do it, you can too.

Must bring: A boogie board for the dunes!

Lake Wainamu near Auckland's Te Henga otherwise known as Bethells Beach