New Zealand’s Greatest Beaches

Do you agree with all of these beaches below? Do you know of any hidden gems that have been left off the list? Write your responses in the comment section below.

Ninety Mile Beach

Technically a highway, this is a great beach for driving on – but beware, many car insurance policies won’t cover you if you get stuck! Taking a coach tour from the Bay of Islands is probably your safest bet for a great day out. The tours usually carry boogie boards so you can go flying down the famous sand dunes.

Mission Bay, Auckland

A grassy reserve rolls into this busy but safe beach in the heart of Auckland. Cafes and restaurants line the road and in front of you rises the majestic Rangitoto Island.

Onetangi, Waiheke Island

Just half an hour by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island is studded with vineyards and surrounded by more bays and beaches than you could count. Onetangi is a 2km stretch of white sand just 10 km from the heart of the main centre of Oneroa. Oneroa beach is a few steps below the heart of the main shopping and dining village.

Piha, West Auckland

New Zealand’s west coast beaches are carpeted in velvety soft black sand thanks to historic volcanic activity. Piha is the home of surfing and awesome sunsets. Just beware of strong rips that can fool swimmers.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel

For a totally unique experience, bring a spade and dig yourself a Jacuzzi in the sand. Underwater hot springs bubble to the surface at temperatures of up to 65c, so bring a bucket to cool your pool when necessary! The best time to visit is one hour either side of low tide.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Two beaches on the Coromandel sounds excessive, but this one is stunning. You’ll walk (or boat) to this incredible rock formation in the marine reserve shaped like a cathedral. You may even find a wedding when you arrive. The track starts at the northern end of Hahei.


Drive an hour and half south west from Auckland to Raglan where this little artsy town is famous with surfers. Manu Bay has the longest, most accessible left hand break in the world. Whale Bay is for competent surfers who will have to do some serious paddling past a rocky shelf. Not for grommets!

Waimarama Beach, Hawke’s Bay

This quiet beach is a hidden gem popular with Hawke’s Bay residents. Located 20 minutes from Havelock North on the east coast, this long stretch of sandy beach has a deep low tide that creates wonderful warm swimming on the incoming tide and is a safe family beach.

Abel Tasman National Park

At the tip of the South Island, some of these picturesque beaches and bays are only accessible by kayaks. Expect photogenic white sand and turquoise water lapping against native bush and limestone cliffs. Experience the National Park from the water on a full day catamaran sailing trip.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland

Only the hard core will swim in the chilly waters of Doubtful Sound, but to get up close to the breathtaking Middle Earth scenery and soaring mountains, a cruise or kayak trip through this part of the South Island is a must.

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