Sandwiched between the city of Auckland and the westward-facing beaches, the Waitakere Ranges are forested hills which separate the beach from the city. These hills provide a forested escape from the urban bustle of Auckland, and the best place to begin such a journey is at the popular Arataki Visitor Center.
Located 30 minutes west of downtown Auckland, the Arataki Visitor Center is the official gateway to the surrounding Waitakere Ranges. Not only does this informative stop offer views looking east towards Auckland, but there are numerous bushwalks which depart from the center and explore the surrounding forest. Stare in wonder at towering kauri trees which explode from Earth towards sky, and soak in the simplicity of getting back to nature despite being so close to Auckland.
Inside the center itself, visitors can peruse the informative placards to learn about the region’s history, and various displays also discuss the park’s unique flora and fauna. This is also the stop to get the latest trail info as well as inquire about backcountry camping. From here, it’s only a short drive to the wonders of the park from waterfalls and trails to the fog-lined coast.
The center itself is set conveniently on the side of aptly-named Scenic Drive, and the Arataki Visitor Center is a must-stop destination for anyone exploring Waitakere.