The Secret Diary of Adrian Petford Aged 39¾

Bethells Beach

Posted in Uncategorized by Adrian Petford on August 14th, 2009

Chances are, if you’ve ever enjoyed a film or television production made in Auckland, at one time or another you will have seen one of the west coast beaches in the Waitakere ranges. Piha is the most famous and highest profile, but consequently busiest, so the others are often easier to film on. Karekare was the beach featured in the acclaimed film The Piano and Bethells Beach (or Te Henga to give it its Maori name) was first introduced to me as a very regular location in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys where it doubled for everywhere from ancient Greece to the shores of Ireland! Since then the beach has been revisited by many of my favourite locally produced shows such as Being Eve, Outrageous Fortune and the Martin Clunes film, The Man Who Lost His Head.

Bethells Beach is a really special place even without all these connections to popular culture. It has all sorts of interesting and spectacular scenery including a very distinctive headland, a large cave (only accessible at low tide), a couple of islands and some great spots for sitting, chilling out and just watching the waves breaking on the shore.

The cave, Bethells Beach. This can only be entered at low tide – 08-Aug-2009
The cave, Bethells Beach. This can only be entered at low tide – 08-Aug-2009
The island, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
The island, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009

I’ve been there so many times now I’ve lost count, but just never get tired of it. On the Saturday before I left on my road trip it was time for the obligatory return visit to Bethells, so Chris and I headed out at 3.00pm. We had to “get a wriggle on” (to use a local expression) as there were only a couple of hours of light left. We drove there via Swanson, one of my lesser travelled routes and then up Waitakere Road and Bethells Road.

Bethells Beach, looking north – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, looking north – 08-Aug-2009

The beach was busy that day – we saw a surfer, a kite flyer, lots of dog walkers and even someone flying a model aeroplane. There was also a fashion shoot going on as we arrived – a dark haired model in a long white dress was posing for photos up in the dunes. It was a really nice day with little wind. I got some great pictures of the waves breaking and of the sun above the north end of the beach.

We walked all the way down to the cave and back, although I kept my distance as there were some boisterous youths larking around there who I wanted to avoid. The sunset was largely obscured by cloud but still bathed the beach in a magical light and the walk back to the car at dusk was equally pleasant.

Bethells Beach, looking south – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, looking south – 08-Aug-2009
Sand dunes, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
Sand dunes, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, southern end – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, southern end – 08-Aug-2009
Chris at the cave, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
Chris at the cave, Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, looking north – 08-Aug-2009
Bethells Beach, looking north – 08-Aug-2009
Sunset at Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009
Sunset at Bethells Beach – 08-Aug-2009

As well as lots of photos, I shot some video on my phone of the beach, something I’m trying to do at all the notable sights this time. The route back was via Te Henga Road and Scenic Drive which is always an interesting journey. Personally, my visits to New Zealand are never complete without a trip to Bethells Beach so it was good to have an opportunity to go back to this old favourite.