Bethell’s Beach is simply a fun-to-explore playground…another Waitakere gem! It’s a lot less commercialized than Piha—no campground or Dairy or pubs. The surf is epic with surf lifeguards aplenty. Exploring Bethell’s is fun—there’s O’Neils Bay to the north or an array of sea caves at the south end. The Te Henga Walkway cruises 8km to Muriwai (but just going 4-6km is excellent).
The most intriguing “secret” that Bethell’s doesn’t tell the world about is unique Wainamu Lake. Hidden in back of Bethell’s are some vast blacksand dunes that dam up a stream canyon, forming a large freshwater lake. Wow, Wainamu is cool! And swimmably warm! Even the track to the lake is interesting….you have to zigzag through the blacksand stream for 25 minutes as it contours around the dunes to reach the edge of the lake. On the way back you can head over the dunes for a shortcut loop back. And, and…if the lake isn’t surprise enough, there’s a one-hour track that skirts the lake. The track is good, but best is going clockwise and in 20 minutes you’ll get to the Wainamu stream and its heaps of small waterfalls. Bring jandals so you can explore upstream to find your own personal waterfall skinny-dip oasis.