Wild coastline goes public
The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is 78 hectares richer in coastal land and means trampers will be able to safely walk the coast south of Piha.
The land, purchased by the Auckland Council, is off Te Ahu Ahu Rd between Karekare and Piha and unites two disconnected parts of the west coast parkland and the Hillary Trail.
Waitakere Ranges Local Board chairwoman Sandra Coney says the prime piece of land had been sought after for public ownership for decades.
‘‘It is a wild and dramatic piece of coastline which will offer visitors some spectacular views and will open up some great new walks which are bound to become favourites of the people of Auckland.’’
Before, people had to scale cliffs and walk on the busy, and sometimes dangerous Piha Rd.
‘‘It’s been a real worry for park staff and myself,’’ Coney says.
Waitakere Ranges Protection Society president John Edgar describes it as ‘‘the most beautiful piece of land’’.
‘‘I’m thrilled the land didn’t get developed and that it has been given to the people of New Zealand.
‘‘It’s fantastic. It’s the best bit of news that has happened in a while.’’
The creation of the Hillary Trail in 2010 added further motive for the council to buy the property if it came up for sale.
Mercer Bay Loop Walk (south of this block) can now be connected to the Tasman Lookout Track to form a safer and more diverse alternative route for the section of the Hillary Trail passing through Piha.
Other features of the property include blow holes and sea caves.
Former Waitakere city mayor Sir Bob Harvey says the connected land will ‘‘encourage both New Zealanders and travellers to embrace the wilderness of the west coast’’.
The property was purchased for $3 million using the council’s ringfenced park acquisition funding.