Whatipu is located on the wild west coast west of Auckland cbd, the beach is at the entrance to the Manukau Harbour or Manukau Heads northern side of the harbour. The heads produce extreme currents as the Manukau harbour narrows up between the north and south side if you fell in the water here on the out going tide you will be swept out to sea and over the infamous Manukau bar the bar position changes all the time as the strong currents produced here shift the sand around.
The bar was the site of one of our worst maritime disasters with the sinking of the HMS Orpheus on 7/2/1863, Of the 259 aboard, 189 died. It remains New Zealand's worst maritime disaster to date.
The walk out to the beach from the carpark takes around 15 minutes through soft sand, the first headland you see is Paratutae island which is still connected to the beach, there are parts of the old wharf here where the old sailing ships docked to transport Kauri logs out. There was a railway line around the rocks behind the beach that transported the logs from around the area to the ships if you go exploring you can still see parts of the track embedded in the rocks.
The second set of rocks are the Ninepin there is a beacon on the rocks to warn ships of the headland and this whole beach area is swept with strong currents and not safe to swim any where.
Following the beach around the corner takes you to Kare Kare beach about an hours walk, you can head inland to the cliff face and this whole area is a wetland there are birds and wildlife here as well, on a warm summers day this walk is really enjoyable but no so in a howling westerly so pick a good day for the weather and you will enjoy this walk.