What an amazing sight; so mnay people on this beautiful beach. It didn't matter, because the beach is more than one kilometre in length. The only issue was the parking which is limited to 4000 vehicles. One way around that is to take public transport, but I suspect that it may have been a bit limited on a public holiday. There are many other beaches within an hour of Auckland; north, south, east and west, so there is no need for you to fell overcrowded. The Regional Parks are amongst the best, but even the inner city beaches are fine. Generally there is no pollution issue, except after a storm, when some nasties flow into the water. That is when the wild West Coast beaches come into play. For those one must only ever swim between the flags. My overseas readers may have seen the famous 'Piha Rescue' programme on TV. I believe that it has been widley dispersed. I love the beautiful views of Piha, but I am way to wimpy to swim there. People don't drown when they swim between the flags, but there are always those who think they are God's gift to swimming. Unfortunately they learn the sad hard way. Come on over tourists and expericne our wonderful Auckland beaches and then go on to find your very own deserted beach further afar. We are indeed blessed!