New Zealand Beaches

Are you a Beach Bum? Here is a List of 20 Beaches in New Zealand that are Unlike Anything You've Seen Before

What do you think of when you imagine going to the beach? A few of us think of relaxing in the sunshades, some of us think of running straight into the water. Others, still, think of playing in the sand. The adventurous ones among us know it’s all about surfing, kayaking and diving. 

Imagine, going to a single geographical entity- the beach- that offers all of this, and much more! And now, imagine having so many varieties of this entity in one country! If just the sound of this is fascinating, then we’re pretty sure the following listicle about the must-visit beaches in New Zealand will not just fascinate you but will make you want to pack your bags right away!

1. Awaroa Beach:

How many times have you heard the public buying a beach to gift it to their country? No, this isn't a fabricated story. The 'people's beach', Awaroa, in the Abel Tasman National Park (South Island) was bought by the public after crowd funding from around 39,000 Kiwis. This beach was then gifted to New Zealand's Department of Conservation. Restoration work is regular here to protect the area's ecosystem and to help the coastal birds nesting in the surrounding areas.

This crowd funded beach is a people-pleaser not just because of the emotional attachment of the Kiwis, but also because of the pleasant solitary time it provides to its visitors.

There are rules against staying on the beach, but there are certain campgrounds in the vicinity.

2. Moeraki Beach:

Some go to the beach for a dip in cool water; others go for a relaxing sunbath. Then, some others go to sit under the setting sun and just unwind. For this third category of people, Meraki beach in northern Dunedin (South Island) seems to be the perfect choice entirely because of the mysterious, but useful spherical boulders. 

The surrounding areas of this rocky beach act host to a variety of seafood restaurants.

3. New Chums Beach:

This beach on the Coromandel Peninsula is famous as one of the few still untouched beaches of the country. Part of the reason for this is that this beach has no road access. New Chums Beach is a 30-minute clamber from Whanapoua, a nearby holiday settlement. This peaceful beach is home to gentle waves, creating a perfect ambience for some quality time with nature.

4. Gillespies Beach:

The landscape of this beach is all the reason anyone would need to visit it, honestly- to the east one can see the majestic Southern Alps, and to the west, there are miles and miles of the Tasman Sea. 

Gillespies Beach is around 20 kilometres away from the Fox Glacier township.

5. Wainui Beach:

It's common (and exciting) knowledge that New Zealand is the first place in the world to see the sunrise. However, do you know what this means for all you beach lovers? That you can literally swim at the crack of dawn at the Wainui Beach in Gisborne. A little further towards the north, one can reach Tolaga Bay to dive into the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere!

6. The Catlins:

If you're looking for a place that will take you back in time, then the Catlins is the place to go. In the south-eastern region of South Island, this place has the vibe of the 1950s and thrives on farming instead of tourism. 

As lovely as the prospects of this rugged coastline sound, it's also a little tricky to get here- The Catlins can be reached through a detour between the cities of Dunedin and Invercargill. Away from the mainstream settlement, The Catlins is perfect for a solitary getaway. Be mindful, however, of the sketchy cellphone coverage and the limited ATMs. But, one can spot the rare Hector's dolphins frolicking in the surf in Porpoise Bay. New Zealand sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins are also a rare, but not an impossible sight here.

Curio Bay has a fossilized forest in its vicinity. And the best part? Both of these have campsites in close vicinity.

6. Rarawa Beach:

Far North's Rarawa Beach is equivalent to taking a step into paradise. Its soft white sand will far surpass otherworldly pleasures of life.

This clean, non-crowded beach is not-so-frequently visited, and hence, is a treat for the eyes and the soul. The calm and quiet is, literally, unparalleled here. It also houses a fragile dune system that nests birds. So, be kind to the birds and keep away from the dunes.  

One of the less commercial beaches, Rarawa beach, does not have many facilities but has a basic camping ground in the vicinity. 

7. Karekare Beach:

This is a strange beach. And, when we say 'strange' we mean beautiful, peaceful, and majestic at the very least.

Despite attracting a lot of attention after its feature in the movie ‘The Piano’, Karekare Beach has stayed relatively unpopulated. The beach lies close to a cluster of residential settlements but has managed to retain its pristine and majestic vibe.

It is a good area to head to Karekare if one wants to explore and enjoy the local life of Auckland, for this beach is in close vicinity to the village of Tirirangi, where one can visit galleries, eateries and shops.

8. Matai Bay:

New Zealand is full of surprises, and Matai Bay is just another one of them! One would find this hidden jewel on the KariKari Peninsula in the Northland region. The clear waters, smooth sand and quiet ambience of this beach make it a perfect pick for spending a warm afternoon just swimming in the water or resting in the shadows.

9. Hot Water Beach:

Does the name of the beach excite you? Yeah, well, the thought of taking you here excites us just as much! 

There's something different about this beach- visitors to this place pack their best shovels and arrive two hours before (or after) the low tide. Why, you may wonder? Well, just imagine the joy of digging a hole at the tide line, and tada! You're in your personal hot spring spa. Well, it is yours till the tide comes up!

hot water beach

10. Piha Beach:

This is called New Zealand's surfing harbour, and rightfully so! Located on the wild west coast, just thirty minutes from Auckland, Piha has many prospects- surfing, exploration, walking, and picnicking. The waters here seem to have a life of their own, owing to their rips and currents. But the moody and misty waters are definitely an experience to cherish!

11. Torrent Bay:

Torrent Bay is one of the many long-stretching beaches of New Zealand and is a part of the Abel Tasman National Park. This beach is famous among locals as a warm swimming spot. For tourists, this is also a drop-off point for water taxis ferrying to the Abel Tasman National Park.

12. Kaiteriteri Beach:

This picturesque beach is famous among locals and tourists alike because of its almost magical golden sand and the long hours of sunshine. It is an idyllic beach experience, as many would agree. 

This beach is located at the top of South Island; this location allows visitors to conveniently hike and explore the area's walking tracks, while the options of swimming and sunbathing are also available. Among other things to do at the beach, there are facilities for hiring a kayak to paddle around the nearby coves and lagoons. 

The beach is also home to penguins, seals and dolphins.

13. Whale Bay:

This beach is a five-minute drive from Raglan, towards the south. The landscaped hills, lined with native trees, has made the beach just as popular as surfing has. Whale Bay has plenty of surf schools for those who want to hone their surfing skills and wish to spend a great deal of their vacation riding the waves.

Since this place is frequented by surfers majorly, there are plenty of food shops, cafes, restaurants, and resorts in the vicinity.

14. Mission Bay:

While New Zealand has many places meant for those looking for a quite vacation, it also has places meant for those who crave for the hustle and bustle of the city. Mission Bay beach is one such place. A short drive from the central business district of Auckland, this beach is home to several restaurants, ice cream parlours and even pubs! On any ordinary day, one is sure to find families and groups of friends playing, paddling in the ocean, or just lazing around.

What sets Mission Bay apart, other than its bustling feel, is its large grassy area with plenty of Pohutukawa trees that are a sight to behold with red flowers during the summer!

15. Ninety Mile Beach:

No, Ninety Miles Beach is not ninety miles long. However, it is beautiful, picturesque and definitely impressive. Its massive sand dunes are sure to remind one of the deserts, but its clear and cool water, alongside the Aupouri Forest, give it the perfect beach feel. Incidentally, this also happens to be the most famous and the biggest beach in New Zealand.

16. Medlands Beach:

Isn’t it the absolute dream to enjoy a peaceful, romantic lunch (with a view) with your partner, with water playing at your feet? Well, Medlands Beach in the Abel Tasman National Park guarantees a similar experience, amidst its golden sand and native forest.

This small, secluded beach is also famous among visitors for kayaking.

17. Bark Bay:

This beach in the Abel Tasman National Park is an absolute favourite among the kiwis and is gradually attaining the same reputation among the tourists. The reason? Well, imagine being able to camp on the beach and waking up to the sun rising from within the water. Isn’t that reason enough?

18. Matai Bay:

New Zealand is full of surprises, and Matai Bay is just another one of them! One would find this hidden jewel on the KariKari Peninsula in the Northland region. The clear waters, smooth sand and quiet ambience of this beach makes it a perfect pick for spending a warm afternoon just swimming in the water or resting in the shadows.

19. Okiwi Bay:

This one’s a little different from the kind of beaches one is used to, but is equally fascinating. The Okiwi Bay replaces sand with pebbles, and this variation has made this a very popular destination among the locals, especially during the holiday season. Located in Marlborough, South Island, this beach offers kayaking to coastal cliffs, long walks along the Goat Hill Track, and a scenic drive to the French Pass - there is something for everyone.

20. Wharariki Beach:

We’ve introduced you to the most famous beach, the longest beach and many other record-holding beaches… How about we also tell you about one of the windiest beaches? The Wharariki Beach in Golden Bay, South Island, is one of the windiest beaches in the world, and naturally so, is more popular for its scenic beauty than for other activities. Its stunning scenery, coupled with rock formations, makes it a super hit spot among tourists and locals alike! One can reach this via a 20-minute farm track from the end of the Whatariki Road.

Still dreaming of soaking up the sun on the soft sand? Don’t wait for the next summer, or the next appraisal. Get in touch with Thomas Cook, and be sure to turn this dream into reality, ensuring the best experience for you.

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