Top 10 beaches in New Zealand

The twin islands of New Zealand have over 9,000 miles of coast much of which forms some of the world's finest, unspoiled beaches. From the city beaches of Auckland to the secluded natural beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park there is plenty of sun, sea and sand to go around in New Zealand. There's plenty of variety in the land of the Kiwis too with a fair few curiosities thrown up by the country's volcanic nature; black sand beaches are not uncommon and there are plenty of weird and wonderful rock formations for added interest.

As you travel from north to south in New Zealand the beaches become no less spectacular but far more remote and wild. It is also possible to distinguish the beaches on the east and west coasts; those on the east tend to feature golden sands and calmer seas whilst the west coast is known for its wild surf and often black sand.

The beaches below represent some of the finest in New Zealand and whilst they are all unique we think you'll love them all.

  • Allans Beach, New Zealand Tomas Sobek / CC BY

    Allans Beach // South Island

    Allans Beach is set among the lush rolling hills of the on the Otago Peninsula, on New Zealand's South Island. It consists of a kilometre long spit of fine white sand which separates the shallow waters of Hoopers Inlet from the Pacific Ocean.

    The beach here is something of a haven for wildlife; at the northern end there is a small sea lion... read more »

  • Moeraki beach boulders, New Zealand

    Koekohe Beach // South Island

    The long sandy beach at Koekohe is famous for one thing - the Moeraki Boulders. These particularly large spherical boulders are technically known as septarian concretions. Some of the rocks measure nearly 3 metres across and most have a cracks in their surfaces making them appear like some sort of giant dinosaur eggs. The fact that they are hollow... read more »

  • Cathedral Cove, Coromandel, New Zealand muha04

    Cathedral Cove // North Island

    Cathedral Cove is considered by many to be the gem of the Coromandel Peninsula, which is quite an accolade given the stunning landscapes here. Set amongst the lush rolling landscape of the Coromandel Cathedral Cove is a small sandy beach backed by cliffs of white volcanic rock. At one end of the beach stands a towering sea stack of the same white... read more »

  • Beach at Abel Tasman National Park Martin Maun

    Abel Tasman National Park // South Island

    Set in the far north of the South Island, Abel Tasman is the smallest national park in New Zealand. But small is beautiful and this certainly holds true for this beach-lover's paradise. Abel Tasman is not a single beach but a number of beautiful bays, all of which feature pristine, golden sand and forest backdrops. Now I could have probably picked... read more »

  • Piha beach, New Zealand Fyletto

    Piha beach // North Island

    Piha is possibly New Zealand's best known beach and for good reason. Not only is the scenery stunning but this is the birthplace of surfing in New Zealand. In addition, Piha is less than an hour's drive from the centre of Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city.

    Despite being so close to the North Island's main city Piha remains relatively... read more »

  • Little Palm Beach, Waiheke Island

    Little Palm Beach // North Island

    Little Palm beach sits next door to Palm beach in a relatively sheltered bay on Waiheke Island's north coast. It is yet another of the island's pristine beaches with a white sandy shoreline facing into clear blue sparkling waters.

    What makes Little Palm well known amongst a plethora of other beautiful beaches of Waiheke Island is its... read more »

  • Ninety Mile beach

    Ninety Mile Beach // North Island

    Ninety Mile Beach is not your typical exotic tourist attraction, but rather a long stretch of majestic coastline waiting to share its secrets with the adventurous. Don’t be fooled by the name either, because this stretch of wild coast is nowhere near 90 miles in length, 90 kilometres (55 miles) would be closer, but it still remains an awesome... read more »

  • Torrent Bay / Rākauroa, New Zealand

    Torrent Bay // South Island

    Set within the Abel Tasman National Park, Rākauroa / Torrent Bay consists of not one, but two sandy beaches. The main beach is a curving spit of sand which goes some way to separating a large lagoon from the sea. However, there is also a beach on the lagoon side of Torrent Bay.

    Torrent Bay is a lovely spot, backed by the lush, forested... read more »

  • Maunganui beach, New Zealand

    Maunganui Beach // North Island

    Maunganui beach is a beautiful, long stretch of pristine white sand in the holiday resort town of Mount Maunganui, less formally known as "The Mount". Together with Matakana Island, a massive sand bar to its north, Mount Maunganui forms the main entrance to Tauranga Harbour in the Bay of Plenty on New Zealand's North Island.

    Just to the north... read more »

  • Sandfly Beach - New Zealand Andrea Schaffer / CC BY

    Sandfly Beach // South Island

    Sandfly Bay lies on the Otago Peninsula on New Zealand's South Island, not far from the city of Dunedin. This beautiful, wild beach is backed by high dunes.

    At the northern end of the beach is a bird watching hide constructed to watch the yellow-eyed penguins that are found in this area. The beach is also a good spot to see sea lions and fur... read more »

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