Nīkau is the Māori word for palm tree, and the word specifically refers to the palm fronds on the tree.
The nīkau grows up to 15 metres high and produces flowers ranging from lilac to pink between November and April. It is the only palm species endemic to mainland New Zealand. And it is often found in lowland coastal areas such as Piha on Auckland’s West Coast.
There is a sense of primordial beginnings when you walk through a nīkau grove such as this. It truly is stunning.
New Zealand Māori named these birds Tākapu and they were once highly prized for their plumage.
Tākapu are large birds whose powerful wings enable them to soar and glide gracefully around their colonies and over the coastal waters of Muriwai Beach. They are spectacular divers and can plunge into the ocean at high speed to catch fish. The birds lay just one egg, in October or November, in ground nests high on the cliffs of Otakamiro Point. By the fourth month after hatching the young birds leave for their westward migration to eastern Australia and will return to breed after their fourth year.
Exposed “pillow lava” cliffs are often a feature of this guided walk with Kiko Tours at Muriwai Beach. Take a leisurely walk along the rocks at low tide. A tour favourite with lots of options to walk under the cliffs and then up to the viewing platforms at the top. This stunning environment is a hidden gem on Auckland’s West Coast.
I was recently offered an opportunity to expand my business by taking visitors to the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Auckland Botanic Gardens (the Gardens) is an award-winning botanic garden based in Manukau. The gardens are unique with a distinctive South Pacific flavour. The Gardens covers 64 hectares with 10 hectares in native forest.
There is a very good Visitor Centre which provides a space for creative displays and exhibitions and Café Miko offers various food options with morning and afternoon teas plus lunches.
I think you would agree that the gardens and landscape is absolutely stunning.
We can combine your visit to the gannet colony with a scenic walk along Muriwai Beach. As we continue down the path to Muriwai Beach you will be astounded by the diversity of things to do.
We can explore the caves at low tide or view the pillow formations on the cliffs above or head northwards along the beach as far as you like.
Here you will often see an array of colourful kites in the air. Muriwai Beach is a popular destination for kiteboarding and is well known for big waves and strong steady winds and is located on Auckland's West Coast.
From the tranquillity of the inland forest of the Waitakere Ranges you will witness the raw power of pounding surf on Piha Beach, situated on Auckland’s West Coast.
Rugged majestic cliffs are on either side of the iconic Lion Rock which juts out from the black sand, between Piha and North Piha beaches. People who climb Lion Rock will have spectacular views in all directions.
There are several cafés close to the beach if you just want to relax, get a drink and a bite to eat, there is also a very good art gallery close by that sells local art and has exhibitions regularly. The laid-back seaside village of Piha is just 45 minutes drive from Auckland’s CBD.
At Ihumâtao, north of Auckland International Airport there is an ancient Kauri forest that was buried by tuff from the Maungataketake volcano which erupted thousands of years ago.
The fossilised forest has since been hollowed out by wave action from the Manukau Harbour and is now exposed at low tide. In the mudflats you will see the remains of these huge kauri trees, and other fossilised tree trunks are clearly visible standing upright in the adjacent eroding cliffs.
It is well worth a look if you are staying close to the airport and it is easily accessible at low tide.