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The 15 best beaches in New Zealand in 2024

One of the best beaches in New Zealand is Torrent Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park. With its white sand and crystal clear waters that sparkle in the sun, it is paradise on earth. It is also the ideal place to get in touch with nature and discover its colors and unique wilderness.

Which beach to choose when traveling to New Zealand?

1. Torrent Bay, Rākauroa

Located in Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island, Rākauroa or Torrent Bay is made up of not one, but two sandy beaches. There is the main one, a curved stretch of sand that separates a large lagoon from the sea as well as a beach on the lagoon side. Torrent Bay is a beautiful place, surrounded by the lush wooded landscape of the national park. At low tide, cross the bay on foot to access this absolutely spectacular and isolated little paradise. No roads or electricity here: just nature and you.

View of Torrent Bay in the lush Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand.

2. Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Voted best beach by New Zealanders in 2018, this 6 kilometer long beach is renowned for its wave breakers and welcomes surfers from all over the world who wish to brave the wave of the Whangamata bar. If you are not yet experienced enough, there are enough gentle wave crests that even beginners can stand on. Whangamata Beach is also famous for its unique blend of beach and rainforest which offers many opportunities such as swimming, beach picnics, boating, fishing, diving, hiking, mountain biking and more. visit historic gold mines.

View of the sand and waves of Whangamata Beach, North Island, New Zealand with green rocks in the background

3. Koekohe Beach, Otago region

The long sandy beach of Koekohe is most famous for one thing: the Moeraki Boulders. These particularly large, spherical and hollow blocks of rock can reach a diameter of almost 3 m and most have a crack on the surface. So, they are reminiscent of some sort of giant dinosaur eggs. They formed from prehistoric mud more than 60 million years ago. Their spherical shape is thought to be due to the fact that they grew larger during a crystallization process. In addition to these strange rocks, Koekohe Beach is also home to some interesting wildlife. There is a sanctuary for yellow-eyed penguins, a colony of seals and Hector’s dolphins playing in the waves in front of the beach.

Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach, near Oamaru, New Zealand.

4. Cathedral Cove Beach – Coromandel Peninsula

Cathedral Cove is considered by many to be the jewel of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is a small sandy beach surrounded by white volcanic rock cliffs. Thus, it is considered by many to be the jewel of the Coromandel Peninsula. At the southern end of the beach there is a huge natural arch which gives its name to the bay. This cave forms a tunnel through the white cliffs to the neighboring bay of Mare’s Leg Bay and was notably one of the filming locations for the films « The Chronicles of Narnia ». Cathedral Cove Beach is part of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, which offers a snorkeling trail to view sponge gardens, reef systems and a wide variety of marine life.

View of Cathedral Cove beach, its natural arch, white sand and clear waters, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

5. Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

On the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula is the unusual Hot Water Beach. Contrary to what one might believe, it does not owe its name to the water of the Pacific Ocean that it encounters, but to two naturally heated underground springs which spring from the soft sand two hours before and after low tide . Borrow a spade on site and prepare your own spa. You can then relax in mineral water with a temperature of up to 64°C, just a few meters from the sound of the Pacific Ocean. You can also swim in the safety zone and practice surfing for the more experienced among you.

View of Hot Water Beach at low tide with its hot water thermal pool, Coromandel, New Zealand.

6. Awaroa Inlet Beach, Nelson/Tasman Region

Situated within the protected boundaries of Abel Tasman National Park, Awaroa Beach meanders for 800m across the fascinating shallows of an estuary. It is nicknamed « The People’s Beach » because it was purchased by New Zealanders from a private owner after a crowdfunding campaign. The fact that Awaroa is only accessible by foot or boat makes traveling through this landscape very special. If you want to go to the other side of the estuary, it will take you around 40 minutes to cross sandbanks exposed by the ebbing tide.

Golden sand at the edge of the blue water of Awaroa Inlet Bay in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand with green cliffs in the background.

7. Piha Beach – Auckland region

It is probably the most famous beach in the country. In addition to being considered the birthplace of surfing in New Zealand , it offers a landscape not to be missed during your tour of New Zealand . Located less than an hour’s drive from central Auckland, it has remained relatively untouched. Piha Beach adjoins the coastline of the Waitakere Ranges, a national park, so the area has not been overdeveloped. The sand on this part of the coast is quite unusual. Indeed, it is black and magnetic due to its high iron content, linked to its volcanic origin. So don’t wait any longer to swim and surf with all the amenities New Zealand’s most authentic and best surfing beach offers.

Black sand, cliffs in the water of Piha Beach in Auckland, New Zealand

8. Ninety Mile Beach, Aupōuri Peninsula

Ninety Mile Beach is not the typical exotic attraction, but a long, majestic stretch of coastline waiting to share its secrets with adventurers. Although it is not close to 90 miles as its name suggests, it still measures almost 90 kilometers. This fascinating beach runs along the west coast of the Aupōuri Peninsula in Northland and follows the coastlines from Ahipara in the south to New Zealand’s northernmost tip at Cape Reinga. The most popular activities to do here are 4×4 rides, cycling, sand yachting, fishing, horse riding, surfing on the water or on the huge dunes. You can also swim, but always be careful not to take any risks.

Aerial view of green cliffs, sand dunes and blue water of Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga, New Zealand

9. Allans Beach, Otago Peninsula

Allans Beach is located among the lush hills of the Otago Peninsula on New Zealand’s South Island. It consists of a stretch of land covered with fine white sand several kilometers long, which separates the shallow waters of Hoopers Inlet from the Pacific Ocean. The beach is a haven for wildlife: a colony of sea lions can be found at the north end, while a few yellow-eyed penguins make their home at the other end. Situated directly on the deep blue waters of the South Pacific, during the winter months huge waves roll in from the Southern Ocean. In addition to its picturesque surroundings, wildlife and magnificent crashing waves, Allans Beach is just a stone’s throw from the city of Dunedin.

View of Allans Beach on a cloudy day, Dunedin, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

10. Oke Bay Beach, Bay of Islands

Oke Bay is near the village of Rawhiti in the Bay of Islands in the far north of New Zealand. Made up of nearly 150 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, this subtropical region is a water lover’s paradise. It is also renowned for whale and dolphin watching as well as the multitude of magnificent beaches it has, including Oke Bay. Indeed, it is worth taking the winding road to find this large white sand bay which offers the clearest waters for swimming and snorkeling making it extremely popular.

Boats in Oke Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

11. Onetangi Beach – Waiheke Island

Facing north, it is the largest beach on Waiheke Island with its spectacular 2km long stretch of white sand. The locals have taken advantage of this in particular to organize horse races there for many years. Thanks to its soft, shell-free sand, annual castle building competitions are also among the activities to do here. Additionally, Onetangi Beach is a popular and safe place to swim and enjoy all kinds of water activities. In addition, be aware that at the western end of Onetangi, this section is accessible to nudist enthusiasts.

View of Onetangi Beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand, with colorful vegetation in the foreground, cliffs, white sand and clear water in the background

12. Onetahuti Beach, Nelson Tasman Region

Onetahuti Beach in Abel Tasman National Park is a long, narrow strip of white sand that separates protected crystal clear waters from dense forest. Overlooking the island of Tonga, it is located in a marine reserve which guarantees an abundance of animals. Depending on your desires, you can access it either on foot or by boat. To the north, a walking path will take you to the Abel Tasman Coast Track to Awaroa, while at the opposite end you will discover the full splendor of the beach. There is also a campsite, the ideal place for those who want to watch the sunset and sunrise.

Golden sand at the edge of turquoise blue water surrounded by cliffs on Onetahuti Beach, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

13. Anchor Bay Beach, Tawharanui Peninsula

Anchor Bay is located about an hour and a half north of Auckland, in Tawharanui Regional Park, on the peninsula of the same name. Here, grassy dunes, shaded by pohutukawa trees, drop down to a wide expanse of light sand accessible by a staircase. The beach itself is large enough to accommodate everyone even on busy days like public holidays and is considered one of the best swimming and surfing beaches in the area especially for beginner surfers. You will find public toilets and changing rooms here, as well as barbecue facilities, however there are no shops to buy food or drinks.

Rock in turquoise water on Anchor Bay beach in Tawharanui Regional Park, New Zealand

14. New Chum Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

One kilometer long, the pristine white sand beach of New Chum is located in a remote location on the north-east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. To the north of the beach stands the 171m-high forested Pukenui Hill, while the southern end is dominated by the rocky Motuto Point, which serves as a divider from the neighboring beach. New Chum is only accessible by boat or a long walk on bush trails from the nearby town of Whangapoua. It is therefore not surprising that the beach is rather calm and even deserted. In fact, it was elected by the British newspaper “Observer” as one of the 20 most isolated beaches in the world.

Sand and clear water with vegetation on New Chum Beach, Coromandel, New Zealand.

15. Takapuna Beach, Auckland

Located just 10 minutes from Auckland city centre, Takapuna is a vibrant seaside resort with plenty to offer: designer boutiques, a thriving food scene with a wide choice of cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as stunning views on the white sand beach and the Hauraki Gulf. From Takapuna Beach, enjoy incredible views of the iconic Rangitoto, a large volcanic island that emerged from the sea only 600 years ago. And relax with your family on this beach with its many facilities such as picnic areas and play areas, and the possibility of safe swimming.

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