Muriwai Beach and Regional Park
Muriwai Beach is a spectacular stretch of coastline running from Muriwai township in the South all the way to South Head (Kaipara Harbour) in the North. The Council provides a horsepark (parking area) at Muriwai and horses can use a strip of land behind the dunes called the Five Mile Block. This block is part of the Muriwai Regional Park and subject to all park rules. The Five Mile Block horse riding area consists of the trails (there are basically two with joining minor trails) behind the dunes to Coast Rd on the inland side (the very first road running parallel to the dunes) and Old Telephone Track on the Northern Edge. It is only accessed from the beach, via marked access points and fenced trails across the dunes.
All areas inland of Coast Road (toward the hills) are part of Woodhill Forest (Te Ngahere o Woodhill Kake Hoiho) as are parts north of Old Telephone Track. The gates at Okiritoto Stream\Grass Track Road are controlled by Hancock Forest Management you must be a registered rider with Kake Hoiho to use these gates.
The Muriwai Horsepark is off Coast Rd, Muriwai. Drive to Muriwai and head down Motutara Rd (just follow the windy road down the hill into Muriwai). Turn right at the fire station, onto Coast Rd. The horse park is past the golfcourse, near the end of the road.
This is a substantial parking area specifically for loading\unloading horses and includes tie up rails and a drive-through design (no reversing required).
Please keep the horsepark clean! There are manure bins available, do not clean out your horse float and leave the manure for others to stand in.
Access Across the Dunes
There are several places that you can get to the 5 Mile Strip trail from the beach. The first is just past Okiritoto Stream, on the beach as you ride north from the carpark. All others are marked, and often fenced trails that provide accesss across the dunes. DO NOT cross the dunes anywhere other than marked trails!
Access points are generally marked with a plastic marker which has an alphabet letter on it e.g. "A" If you are lost, hurt or stuck this gives you a reference point to relay back to the rangers or other help.
They are also set into the dunes at an angle to a) stop dune blowouts and b) help to dissuade motorbikes from using them. If you are riding north on the beach, keep and eye out for access points that are tucked into the dunes and appear to head back the way you have just come. These will lead you into the Muriwai Regional Park trail system.
Access points can be subject to change as the dunes change, but the rangers work hard to keep access open (and keep motorbikes out).
Check the tides carefully.
This beach is extremely dangerous!
High tide may leave you with NO BEACH, sand dunes that cannot be climbed (and fences to stop you doing so) , strong currents and waves that are over your horse.
Terrain and Trails
In the "Five Mile Block", all the trails are sand based (sometimes a little deep) and are mainly quite open. The trails which criss-cross between the two sides of the main loop cut through the little bits of forest and toe-toes.
Trails are marked with a simple home\away marker system. Note: these are different from the WFEP markers, which you will find if you ride north to Old Telephone Track road.
There is a dedicated track that takes you from the parking area to the beach, you then ride down the beach to one of the marked access points into the Five Mile Strip. There are several marked entry points across the dunes, however be aware that tides, dune movement and storms may change this area rapidly. Trails available one day may not be there the next, if a storm rolls through!
Share with Care
Other Beach Users
Muriwai is a busy public beach. All others have the same rights as you to use the beach.
You may have to deal with Kite surfers, land yachts, motorbikes, 4WDs, dogs, people fishing, surfing, or doing all manner of strange things, as well as racehorses in training.
Vehicles do have a speed limit on the beach, but use your common sense about staying alert and out of the way if possible. On a good day you may have the beach to yourself - in summer, don't count on it.
Stay calm, have a plan if things look too dangerous for you or your horse's ability to cope with. Take your cellphone with you, and if there are particular idiots on the beach - photograph them for vehicle IDs etc and report either to the rangers or the Kumeu police.
Don't be an idiot yourself!
- Be respectful of others right to use and enjoy the beach, and be aware that many novice riders and horses use the beach. Keep your speed down on the trail into\out of the carpark.
- Don't canter or gallop if there area is full of people, and don't canter at all until past the 30kph signpost.
- Don't pass the horse trekking operator unless you have asked. They will let you past, but please respect the trekking horses (and their novice riders) desire for 'order'.
A little history and a conservation message
Please help protect the dunes; stay on the offical marked trails.
The dunes are protected and highly unstable. Riding across them causes erosion and the dunes encroach upon the trails behind.
Woodhill forest is here because this area was a wasteland in the 1920's with the dunes rolling across the entire area and devastating the land. The government of the time had to purchase all the land and plant the marram grasses and pine forests in an effort to halt the dunes from taking over the entire area.