The Top 8 Beaches In New Zealand

As an island nation, you can expect there to be plenty of stunning beaches in New Zealand. Here are the top 8 beaches in New Zealand you have to visit.
Top 8 Beaches in New Zealand. Photo: David Tip | Unsplash

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New Zealand is a beautiful island nation home to dramatic landscapes, from mountains to rivers and stunning beaches.

One of the best times to visit New Zealand is during summer (December to February) when the sun is shining, and the temperatures are high.

Summer is the favourite season for many New Zealanders as it allows them to spend their time at the beach. And with so many beaches in the country, there are plenty to choose from.

So, here are the top eight beaches in New Zealand you must visit on your next holiday. 

Maitai Bay, Northland 

Maitai Bay. Photo: Teepa W | TripAdvisor

Located in the far north of the North Island, Maitai Bay’s clear, turquoise waters and soft white sand make it one of the top beaches in New Zealand. 

There are so many things to do at Maitai Bay, including swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, diving and camping. 

Often compared to the pristine beaches of Fiji, Maitai Bay is a must-visit while in New Zealand. 

Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Ninety Mile Beach. Photo: Grace Caadiang | Unsplash

If you want to visit a beach that allows you to experience a bit of everything, head to Ninety Mile Beach in Northland.

The coastline of the beach begins just north of Kaitaia and stretches 88km (55 miles) towards Cape Reinga. 

Here you can go bodyboarding, horse riding and surfing. A unique fact about this beach is that it’s officially a highway, so you can drive along the sand in a 4WD. 

Since the beach is located so far north, staying there for a few days is a must to experience everything it offers. There are plenty of accommodation options around, including Rarawa Beach Campsite and Hukatere Lodge. 

Anchor Bay, Auckland 

Anchor Bay. Photo: Venture New Zealand | Venture New Zealand

Tawharanui Regional Park is one of north Auckland’s best-kept secrets and is where you can find one of the best beaches in the country, Anchor Bay. 

Once a large private farm, Tawharanui Regional Park covers the end of a peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean.

Anchor Bay, found on the peninsula’s northern side, is one of the best places to swim and surf in the Auckland region. There are also plenty of walking tracks and rock pools to explore.

With grassy areas above the beach and beautiful pohutukawa (native New Zealand) trees, it’s the perfect place to spend the day. 

Since the beach is so beautiful, you’ll definitely want to stay for a few days. So, pack a tent and camp at the Tawharanui campground. 

Related: This is the ultimate guide to Auckland.

Piha Beach, Auckland

Piha Beach. Photo: Lean Xview | Unsplash

While many of the beaches on the east coast of Auckland are sheltered, providing calm swimming spots, the beaches on the west coast are entirely different. 

All of the beaches on the west coast of Auckland are known as the “wild west coast beaches”, and Piha Beach is one of them. 

Unlike other beaches on this list, Piha Beach is known for its black sand, big waves and breathtaking Lion Rock – an island in the sea. 

While Piha isn’t the best beach for swimming, you will love it if you’re a seasoned surfer. However, Piha Beach is a must-see while in New Zealand because of how beautiful and unique it is. 

You can spend the day on the beach having a picnic or walking through the native forest surrounding the beach. However, if you do, check out the stunning KiteKite Falls. 

Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel 

Cathedral Cove. Photo: marina | Unsplash

Cathedral Cove is probably the most popular beach on this list for a good reason.

Located on the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove is one of the top beaches in New Zealand and is a must-visit. 

Accessible by boat, kayak or walking, the most recognisable spot on the beach is the naturally-formed archway seen in the Chronicles of Narnia films. 

The best things to do at this jewel of a beach are swim, snorkel, jump off the big rocks and soak in your beautiful surroundings. 

Maunganui Beach, Bay of Plenty 

Maunganui Beach. Photo: Ethan Dow | Unsplash

Maunganui Beach is a favourite for locals in summer. 

Located in the surf town, “The Mount”, as it’s known by locals, Maunganui Beach is consistently voted New Zealand’s best for its surf, beachside cafes and never-ending white sand. 

Some of the best things to do at Maunganui Beach include swimming, surfing and relaxing in the sand. 

If you want to see the beach from a different, more jaw-dropping perspective, head up the mountain (Mount Maunganui) on the beach’s northern end. While the hike up may only take 30-minutes, it’s very steep. But once you get to the top, you’ll be blown away by the beach and never-ending coastline. 

Related: Check out this ultimate two-week New Zealand itinerary.

Torrent Bay, Nelson Tasman

Torrent Bay. Photo: Nelson Tasman Air | Nelson Tasman

Located on the northern tip of the South Island is where you can find Abel Tasman National Park. 

Home to many stunning beaches, Abel Tasman National Park is a must-visit in summer. One of the best beaches in the national park is Torrent Bay.

An exclusive stretch of white sand, Torrent Bay is bound to take your breath away. Home to some of the whitest sand you’ll see in New Zealand and the glistening turquoise waters, it’s no wonder that Torrent Bay is one of the best beaches in New Zealand. 

While it may be worth a visit, getting to the beach can be tricky. You can get dropped off at the beach via water taxi (but only before noon), but you can’t get picked up at all. Instead, you must go through the park to a different location to get picked up. But the challenge is half of the fun, right? 

Whale Bay, Tutukaka Coast 

Whale Bay. Photo: dandeluxnz | TripAdvisor

Located on the Tutukaka Coast on the North Island, Whale Bay is one of the best beaches in New Zealand because of its pristine white sand surrounded by lush forests. 

This beach is a fantastic place for picnics, swimming and snorkelling – a favourite for many New Zealand locals. 

You can only access the beach by boat or walking. If you’re walking, you can only get there from the car park on Matapouri Road (30-minute round trip) or via Matapouri Bay (40-minutes one way). 

From glistening white sand to fantastic snorkelling spots, there are so many beaches in New Zealand worth visiting. 

Which beach will you head to first on your next holiday? 


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