Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Beaches In New Zealand

Here are 10 most beautiful and best beaches you may want to see when you travel to New Zealand: From the golden bays of Abel Tasman to the naturally heated waters of the Coromandel Peninsula, beaches in New Zealand pack as much sunshine and clean water as they do creative adjectives.

10- Koekohe Beach, Waitaki

Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Beaches In New Zealand

There's no better reason to visit Koehoe Beach than to skip along giant rock formations, carved out about 65 million years ago. Each of the Moeraki Boulders, scattered across the sand, weigh several tonnes and are up to two metres high.

Moeraki is now most famous for its boulders; mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach. Each boulder weighs several tonnes and is up to two metres high.Scientists explain the boulders as calcite concretions formed about 65 million years ago. According to Maori legend, the boulders are gourds washed ashore from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand hundreds of years ago.

9- Hokitika Beach, West Coast

Hokitika, so full of history, is the only West Coast town located on the beach. It might be wet and wild but you're sure to get a good sunset photo here. Go in summer to see the Driftwood and Sand Festival, where locals create art from materials found on the beach.

8- Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman

There are too many stunning beaches in Nelson Tasman to choose just one. Head to the popular Anchorage Bay for golden sand and beachside camping, visit the beach "New Zealand bought" — Awaroa Beach — or swim in the turquoise water of Torrent Bay. To truly get away from it all, kayak to Observation Beach and camp by the water.

Abel Tasman National Park is a wilderness reserve at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a long trail winding over beaches and across ridges between Marahau in the south and Wainui in the north. The headland at Separation Point is home to New Zealand fur seal colonies. Little blue penguins, bottlenose dolphins and seals inhabit the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.

7- Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach

At the other end of the spectrum, is the rugged, remote and wild Wharariki Beach. Perched on the northern-most tip of the South Island, you need to walk across rolling pastures just to get there. Once there, you'll find wildlife, caves, rockpools and huge sand dunes.

Wharariki Beach is a beach west of Cape Farewell, the northernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand. The north-facing sandy beach is accessible only via a 20-minute walking track from the end of Wharariki Road.

The track to Wharariki Beach travels over farm paddocks and through a section of coastal forest, before arriving a the beautiful windswept coast.

The best time to visit is at low tide, when you can walk the length of the beach and take in spectacular coastlines, caverns, islands, and enormous sand dunes along the way.

6- Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

The chilled-out surf town, shortened to "The Mount" by locals, is the perfect place to unwind in the sunshine. The main beach is consistently voted New Zealand's best for its surf, beachside cafes and seemingly never-ending white sand. Put on your walking shoes and head up Mauao for a spectacular view of the peninsula.

Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach has been crowned the ‘Best Beach in New Zealand’ by TripAdvisor, and ranks among the top 25 best beaches in the world. Often referred to as the Mount by locals.

Perhaps most iconic is Mount Maunganui, Mauao, which rises 232 meters from the sea. The walking tracks to the top of this extinct volcano provide 360 degree views which span the entire length of the Bay of Plenty.

Relax on white sand beaches, surf in the warm ocean waves, or swim in the relaxing waters of Pilot Bay. This is a great place to kick back and people watch. Numerous beach, ocean and multisport events are held here utilising the natural features of the Mount and people of all ages enjoy the Main Beach year-round.

Stroll across the road and choose a table at any number of beachside cafes and restaurants. This relaxed beach town can be likened to Southern California and Australia’s Gold Coast with the charm of New Zealand.

5- Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel

Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel

A must-do when in New Zealand, you can get to Cathedral Cove by boat, kayak or walking. Take a photo under the stunning, naturally-formed archway before finding a shaded spot for a picnic on the golden sand. If you have time, stop off at another favourite, Hot Water Beach, just 10 minutes drive away.

From beautiful Hahei Beach on The Coromandel you can walk to Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed archway deserves photographic attention.

From the north end of the beach, a one hour walking track leads along the cliff top and then descends to the Cove. Here a gigantic arched cavern passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves. The cathedral-like arch gives the whole area an air of grandeur. The beach is sandy with shady pohutukawa trees along the foreshore - a perfect place for a picnic and a swim.

Just off the beach at Cathedral Cove is a large pinnacle of pumice breccia rock known as 'Te Hoho'. Over centuries this has been sculpted by wind and water - it now looks like the prow of a large ship steaming into the beach.

4- Piha Beach, Auckland

Piha Beach, Auckland

One of Auckland's wild west coast beaches, Piha is known for its black sand, big waves and formidable Lion Rock, an island in the sea. Only an hour from the city, enjoy a picnic on the warm sand while watching experienced surfers tackle the thundering waves.

A laid-back seaside village 45 minutes west of Auckland city, Piha is popular with local kiwis - especially in summertime. The dramatic beach, which is marked at each end by rugged cliffs, is a popular surfing location. The water has strong and often dangerous currents. However, in summer, surf lifesavers patrol an area clearly flagged for swimmers.

You can take surfing lessons or try abseiling down the Piha canyon. Bring a picnic or visit the beachside surf club for a bite to eat.

In terms of accommodation, there are cottages and caravans for rent, a campground and a B&B home stay. It’s also possible to rent private beach houses. Remember to book ahead, especially during summertime which is high season.

3- Anchor Bay, Tawharanui Regional Park

Anchor Bay, Tawharanui Regional Park

Often called Auckland's best-kept secret, Tawharanui Regional Park is located at the end of a long gravel road, about 90km from central Auckland. Get here and you'll be rewarded with some of the country's most beautiful white sand, wildlife, walking tracks and rockpools to explore. Bring your tent and stay the night.

Once a large private farm, the Tawharanui Regional Park covers the end of a peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean just north of Kawau Island. The long, sandy beach on the northern side is considered to be one of the best swimming and surfing venues in the Auckland region. There are grassed areas above the beach furnished with shady pohutukawa trees - a picnic paradise.

2- Ninety Mile Beach

Ninety Mile Beach

If you're feeling a bit more energetic, head to Ninety Mile Beach (which is actually only 55 miles long) for some bodyboarding, blokarting or surfcasting. Officially a highway, the beach is only suitable for 4WD so catch a coach tour from Kaitaia or Paihia. 

Renowned for spectacular sunsets and boasting one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world, Ninety Mile Beach is an almost never-ending paradise.

Ninety-Mile Beach is the fabled strip of sand that stretches from Ahipara to Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen. Truth be told, it is actually 88 kilometres long.

This beach is officially a highway, but is really only suitable for 4WD vehicles and is safe to drive only at specific times of the tides. Rental companies won’t allow their cars on the sand, mostly for safety reasons. The easy way to drive along the beach is to catch a coach tour from Kaitaia. If you are short of time in Northland and staying in the Bay of Islands, coach tours and scenic flights up to Cape Reinga depart from Paihia daily.

1- Maitai Bay, Northland

Maitai Bay, Northland

Maitai Bay's clean, clear water and soft white sand make it the ultimate summer escape for many Kiwis every year. Swim, snorkel, kayak or simply relax on this remote Northland beach. Sleep under the stars in the nearby campsite, where the only thing obscuring your view will be the beautiful pohutukawa trees (otherwise known as the New Zealand Christmas tree).


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