September 13, 2014

Bethells Beach: girls go wild out west of Auckland

It’s been a year since my cousin an bestie, Kate, visited me in Auckland, so to celebrate the occasion we decided to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. Out west.

Ara station balcony

The view from our balcony at Ara Station over the sand dunes

Auckland’s wild west coast is a bit of an undiscovered gem. Well to me at least. It’s spacious and rugged. The sand is volcanic black and the Tasman sea washes the dog prints and horse hooves away as surfers armed with their boards make their silent way out to the breaks.

Bethells Beach horses Bethells Beach surfer
Bethells Beach surf lesson

Ready for a surf lesson on the beach?

It’s September, barely spring and the rain was falling intermittently as we set off towards the view from our window for a walk along the beach as the tuis sang of their love for the kowhai trees.

Bethells Beach tuis

There are more tuis out here than in a brewery!

Bethells Beach river

The river that we can see from Ara Station winds its way down here

Bethells Beach

Take a left and wander down to this cave – before the tide comes in!

West Auckland

Mist, boulders, waves and sand. You’ll blow the cobwebs away out here!

Where to stay at Bethells Beach

Ara Station stands halfway up the bush-covered hill facing the sea at the end of the silver slither of river that runs past the road below.

I must admit we cheated and took the car as far as we could, but if we’d felt so inclined, or the weather was more reliable, we could have walked across the Lake Wainamu sand dunes draped towards the east and running down to the beach.

Ara Station Bethells

The timber is all ecologically sourced. Lovely to flop on a couch and listen to vinyl on the old-fashioned turntable.

It has a rustic farmhouse feel, Ara Station. Named for its position on the Hillary Trail, this is a great spot for walkers and hikers – or those like us who just fancy hunkering down in front of a roaring fire out in the wops. Ara means a traditional Maori pathway and the ‘station’ denotes the style this timber house is built to replicate: an old railway station.

Ara Bethells Beach

Pick a spot and curl up with a book

If you have the run of the place, there is one huge master bedroom upstairs with a bathroom and large living/dining room with a balcony edged in party lights to signify a good night. Or when the owner is in residence (she was in Spain when we stayed, as you do!) you can take the ground floor and she’ll provide breakfast.

Ara Station shower floor

I love this tiled shower floor!

Downstairs there are 3 double rooms and another bathroom. About $400-$450 a night gets you the whole place.

Tip: You can’t buy wine from supermarkets out west, so a separate stop at a bottle store is required. Or do what we did and stock up with happy hour nibbles, dinner ingredients and wine before you hit the motorway.

I reckon this would be a great place for a group of friends who want a week far from the madding crowd, and in summer the burger caravan is open at the bottom of the road which sounds like such fun!

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About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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