We visit Lion Rock on the Piha Karekare Rainforest Wine Tour. Lion Rock is Piha’s most iconic and treasured landmark. Its silhouette at sunset famous for appearing like a Giant Lion looking out to Sea. Situated between Piha and North Piha beaches it offers intrepid adventurers who climb it, spectacular views in all directions.
At the end of the short, steep climb, there is a pou to a Te Kawerau a Maki ancestress, Ngati Tangiaro Taua, who loved this spot. There is a stone seat, a great place for a rest and to enjoy the breathtaking views v\in ever direction. There is interpretation on the way up about the rock and its former inhabitants.
To Te Kawerau, Lion Rock was known as Te Piha, the name now given to the beach. Te Piha referred to the patterns of waves separating and breaking on the front of the rock, as on the prow of a canoe.
The important defensive pa, Whakaari, was on Lion Rock, and middens and terrace can be found on the buttocks and right shoulder. On the very top are terraces and pits. This was the last bastion of this citadel.
Geologically, Lion Rock is the eroded neck of a volcano which erupted 16 million years ago. The orange scarp on the south-facing slope clearly shows the continual erosion.