Drop down off the Scenic Drive halfway between Swanson Village and the Piha Road turn-off on this 1.4km of tarseal track and you are instantly transported into the heart of the Waitakere Ranges.

Visitors can walk both across and below the dam to connect with a large network of bush walking tracks that connect the Waitakere Dam to the famous Cascades Kauri Park as well as Bethells Beach. A fantastic ramble through Auckland's wilderness, just 30 minutes from the central city.

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One of the Waitakere Ranges hidden gems, the Waitakere Dam is one of Auckland's largest reservoirs.


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I used to live a stone's throw from this fantastically untapped trail that winds down into the depths of the verdant bush of Auckland's rainforest - the Waitakere Ranges. Even though you need to be prepared for a hike back up the hill, the road down into the Waitakere Dam is tarsealed so is great for walkers and kids on bikes. Don't miss the side trail halfway down that takes you to the largest Kauri tree in the whole of the Ranges - you can even see this big daddy from the ridges of Piha and Karekare because he's so massive. I also believe that mystical forest fairies like to live in and around his gnarled, gigantic roots. If you're looking for a whole day of activity instead then use this 1.4km walk as your starting point and head either across the top or below the rushing waters of the dam to connect with a host of trails that take you either to Bethells Beach or down into the jaw-droppingly beautiful Cascade Kauri Park, which is one of the only areas of unlogged forest left here. This kind of walk makes you realise why New Zealand is so special!