Hidden behind the towering black sand dunes near Auckland’s Te Henga / Bethells Beach is a freshwater lake, ideal for safe summer swimming.
Lake Wainamu can be reached on an easy stroll up a shallow stream bed, which keeps your feet off the scorching iron sand.
If it’s not too hot, the vast, desert-like dune system makes for an exhilarating walk through an otherworldly landscape, scrambling up and down the shifting slopes.
Although there is no real lakeside beach, plunging down the steep dunes to leap into Lake Wainamu is all part of the experience. Boogie boards are recommended.
If you’re feeling energetic, follow the Lake Wainamu Loop Track around the shoreline and discover the pretty Waitohi waterfall.