Photography at Piha Beach, New Zealand

Photography at Piha Beach, New Zealand

Piha Beach is known for its wild surf. The first I'd ever heard about this beach was from my dad who grew up not too far away from this iconic black iron sand beach (yes I am part kiwi). He would tell me stories of waves over 20ft and about countless swimmers and surfers who had been taken to its depths never to return. I remember around 10 years ago it was NRL player Sonny Fai, who was rescuing other family members who were caught in the Piha rip, only for him to never return and never be found.

It's these haunting stories that give Piha its reputation. But these stories only tell part of the story. Piha has a beauty that not many other beaches have. 

Getting to Piha, we had to drive down a winding narrow(ish) road (the kids literally felt sick by the drive!). You then arrive at the lookout where you can get your first glimpse from a height. Views come from the south side and stretch right through to the north side.

We decided to go in the late afternoon so to catch the sunset, as this beach faces west. I'd have to say this was a good move! Just beware of the mosquitos after dark! There are millions of them!

The reason I love this beach

It is a huge flat black sand beach, which also has a high level of iron so it'll stick to any magnets you bring here. But because the sand is flat and dark it makes for very beautiful reflections. Add the frame of towering cliff faces, rock formations like Lion rock, which you can also climb and you have the perfect recipe for beautiful photographs.

Lion Rock

I didn't manage to get many shots of Lion rock as I was too mesmerized by everything else. There so many areas to explore, including the Lion itself. Climbing the rock is easy and takes about 5-10mins (depending on your level of fitness) to get halfway up. You can only get halfway as the rest has been closed. I took my 6 year old, Harper, and we did it barefoot, so it's relatively easy. But this little climb will give you some incredible vistas to take some shots from so it's worth checking out.

Here are some of the shots I took from the incredible Piha beach. Hope you enjoy.


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Love the shots of surfers in black and white as well as thy first photo, lovely combo of depth and vastness. Thank you


Amazing photos. Such talent Ben.

Helen petterson

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