Muriwai located a mere 50 minutes from Auckland is a wonderfully preserved and nature sighting area.
Amidst the rocky sea cliffs of the mainland and the rock pinnacle just opposite, gannet colonies build their nests between September and March. Follow the trail to the viewing platform on the cliff and watch them as they actually soar in concert with the hand-gliders.
Fur seals can also be spotted basking in the sun just off Motutara Island or in the waters of this wide stretch of beach, bordered by a pine forest.
The dramatic cliffs of Maori Bay just next to Muriwai offer interesting examples of lava formations called pillow lava, shaped by erupting volcanoes.
The entire area is a paradise for nature and outdoor lovers, with horse riding facilities, plenty of trekking paths, mountain bike trails and all sorts of water sports activities, surfing being amongst the more popular.
The Muriwai Regional Park, which extends for 8 kilometres from Maori Bay to Muriwai Beach, is a magnificent example of New Zealand native bush land and also the home for gannets.
Kumeu is the nearest town; at about 17 kilometres from Muriwai Beach, and other nearby popular holiday destinations are Karekare and Piha, which can get quite crowded during the summer.
Although the population of full time residents has grown over the past years, Kumeu and the neighbouring Muriwai area has remained relatively preserved from overcrowding.