Te Arai lies at the furthest north east point in the Wellsford region. It offers pristine white sandy beaches at the end of picturesque rural roads and a glorious campground within the regional park.
It's an area well known by surfers for consistent and safe conditions and it's an utterly gorgeous spot for a day at the beach.
Te Arai straddles the line between Wellsford and Mangawhai and two beaches; Te Arai Point and Forestry sit on the Wellsford side while its northern beach Black Swamp sits in Mangawhai.
Getting to Te Arai
From SH1 in Wellsford, take Matheson Road at the top of the hill as you leave the shops behind. It's signposted to Whangaripo Valley, Pakiri and Tomarata. Continue on Matheson as it becomes Whangaripo Valley Road, then take Waiteitei Road to your left, signposted to Mangawhai.
At the end of Waiteitei Road, turn right into Mangawhai Road for 3.6kms then take Te Arai Point Road to your right and travel to the end. Much of Te Arai Point Road is gravel, so drive with care.
Walking and swimming
A brief walk to the top of the point will give you views right along the beach and you can choose from swimming in the surf or at the sheltered old quarry swimming hole. Make sure you explore the beaches on either side of Te Arai Point as well because Forestry and Black Swamp are even more beautiful.
Surfing and paddleboarding
Te Arai's licensed surf school Aotearoa Surf runs surfing lessons and has boards and wetsuits to hire, so you don't even need to bring your gear with you. They're at the start of Te Arai Point Road, so you can collect a board and wetsuit from them on your way to the beach.
Te Arai accommodation
Te Arai campground sits behind the sand dunes and is available only to motorhomes and vehicles that are certified as self-contained. For full information and bookings head to Auckland Council regional parks' website.
Te Arai's special inhabitants
The area is home to several species of bird and plant whose existence hangs in the balance, including the New Zealand Fairy Tern and the Northern New Zealand Dotterel. It's crucial for them that you take only photographs and leave only footprints… do not disturb them and let nothing harm them.