Beachlands is a seaside settlement bound on two side by the sea, north facing, both gentle sloping and flat. Elevated sites and cliff-top properties get the spectacular sea vistas.
The settlement was first developed in the 1920s, subdivided into 870 sections and marketed as the "Marine Garden Suburb". To start with it comprised mainly weekend fishing or holiday baches. Today it boasts million dollar-plus luxury homes.
Beachlands Village offers a small but busy retail centre, and is the main centre for the Pohutukawa Coast. There is also a school, various pre-school facilities, a chartered club, with a cafe, a medical centre and pharmacy, a police station; and a much valued volunteer fire service and first response medical team. Nearby Pine Harbour Marina has a ferry service which operates to and from the city daily.
The lookout at the southern end of Puriri Road provides views of boats coming and going from the marina entrance. The shallow waters of the inlet lead into the Mangamangeroa, Turanga and Waikopua estuaries. Beyond you can see the beaches and coastal housing of Howick with the highrise of Auckland City offering a backdrop in the distance.
Motukaraka Island (Flat Island) guards the western end of Beachlands. At low tide it's an easy walk to the Island. If the vegetation allows, climb to the top and walk to the northern end for an uninterrupted panoramic view of the Tamaki Strait and many islands of the Gulf.
The long coastline of Beachlands supports many Pohutukawa trees, with their spectacular red blooms around Christmas time. Three small beaches – Sunkist Bay, Shelly Bay and Green Bay are all safe for swimming. There's a jetty, boat ramp and children's playground at Sunkist Bay, which is overlooked by the historic Log Cabin community centre.
Formosa Golf Resort offers a challenging PGA Standard International Golf Course while presenting breath-taking panoramic views of the inner Gulf. The resort offers accommodation, an international food and wine restaurant, along with conference facilities and sports complex all of which are available to the public.
Omana and Maraetai face north and are sited on either side of a headland, with the land rising quite steeply back from the foreshore thus offering spectacular views stretching from Auckland City to the Coromandel Ranges.
Maraetai was a very early European settlement dating back to 1838 and, like Beachlands, was subdivided in the 1920s. Omana's major housing developments followed after a large subdivision in the late 1950s.
The name "Omana" has been shortened from O-Manawatere, (meaning "the dwelling place of Manawatere") from the name given to the Ngai Tai pa site, now part of Omana Regional Park.
"Maraetai" means "meeting place by the sea". The settlement has been well named for the meaning still holds true today as many families flock to this beautiful part of The Pohutukawa Coast to swim, picnic, fish, or just walk the beaches.
Swimming is safe at both Omana and Maraetai, with grassed verges suitable for picnicking and relaxing. There is good parking and a grassed area supports a large children's playground. There's a public boat ramp beside the Maraetai Beach Boating Club. If you are early parking can be found alongside the length of the beach.
Maraetai has a school, pre-school facilities, a service station, restaurant/cafes, dairies, takeaway foods, boating and sailing clubs, and a volunteer Coastguard/Sea Rescue Organisation.
Before Omana and Maraetai is Te Puru Park, also north facing and supporting its own beach. This is another safe place to swim when the tide allows, and the park offers excellent parking, a children's outdoor playground, skateboard ramp and is the home to the local tennis club, Sea Scout Group and the Te Puru Community and Sports Centre.
On the eastern side and separated from Te Puru by the Te Puru Creek, lies Omana Regional Park" part of Auckland Council's wide network of parks. The main entrance is on the left at the Omana Beach turnoff. As well as being a working farm, it offers a camping ground, wonderful views of the inner Gulf, easy walks, a safe swimming beach at high tide, picnic areas, barbecue facilities and, a favourite attraction with children – friendly farm animals.