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Muriwai Beach, Auckland

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Stretching from the cliffs overlooking Maori Bay and the Gannet Colony north to Kaipara Head, Muriwai Beach with its fine black sand is popular with surfers, families, surfcasters and dune buggies. You can drive all the way north, some 40 kilometres, at low tide, but the northern sector is sometimes used as a bombing range by the New Zealand Air Force, so make sure the red flag is not flying! The shop near the main car park has excellent coffee and burgers. There is a camping ground, many pleasant grassy picnic spots with shade, a playground and even a golf course at Muriwai. The beach opens daily at 7:30 a.m.