Best 25+ New Zealand Beaches

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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.

The Best Kiwi Beaches...

  • 1. Torrent Bay // Abel Tasman

    Torrent Bay

    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 landscape of Abel Tasman. If it… read more »

  • 2. Whangamata Beach // Coromandel Peninsula

    Whangamata Beach
    Simon Morris
    Great for:
    • Swimming
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    Recently voted the best beach in the country by New Zealanders, Whangamata Beach is also famed for its breaks, and welcomes surfers from across the globe eager to tackle the left hand break of Whangamata Bar. But if you're not expert enough on a board to try your hand at this just yet, there are plenty of gentle peaks for even beginners to stand on a board for the first… read more »

  • 3. Koekohe Beach // South Island

    Koekohe Beach
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    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

    The traditional M?ori explanation for the rocks existence is even… read more »

  • 4. Otama Beach // Coromandel Peninsula

    Otama Beach
    © Pseudopanax@Wikimedia / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Otama Bay lies 20 kilometres north of Whitianga, on the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Its white sands stretch for two kilometres, protected on the landward side by low dunes. At its northernmost end there is a small stream and a rocky outcrop with some shady trees. The sands have a pleasing squeak when you walk over them, and are as close to pristine as its possible to… read more »

  • 5. Cathedral Cove // Coromandel Peninsula

    Cathedral Cove
    © muha04

    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 rock, and like the cliffs small trees cling… read more »

  • 6. Hot Water Beach // Coromandel Peninsula

    Hot Water Beach
    Carsten Arsten
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming
    • Surfing

    Not your run-of-the-mill beach by any means, Hot Water Beach gets its name, not from the waters of the Pacific Ocean it meets, but from two underground naturally heated springs that well up through the soft sand two hours either side of low tide.

    Rent a spade from the onsite café and prepare your very own private spa, relaxing in mineral rich waters up to 64°C in temperature, just a few… read more »

  • 7. Awaroa Inlet // Abel Tasman

    Awaroa Inlet
    John M

    Located within the protected confines of the South Island's Abel Tasman National Park, Awaroa Beach curves magnificently around the mesmerising shallows of an atoll-like estuary. Meandering its way for 800 metres in length, it has been nicknamed "The People's Beach" since it was purchased by New Zealanders from a private owner after a crowdfunding campaign that received the support of some 40,000 people.

    A journey here is made all the more… read more »

  • 8. Mission Bay // North Island

    Mission Bay
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Mission Bay Beach lies on the southern coastline of Waitemata Harbour in Auckland's Eastern Bays region, roughly seven kilometres from the heart of New Zealand's biggest city. It is generally reached by enjoying the stunning vistas along Tamaki Drive. Those with an eye for landscapes will also want to visit Bastion Point, overlooking the expanse of the harbour, while even from the beach itself it is possible to glory in… read more »

  • 9. Piha beach // North Island

    Piha beach
    © Fyletto

    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 unspoilt. The beach backs onto the rugged and heavily forested coastline… read more »

  • 10. Mount Maunganui Beach // Bay of Plenty

    Mount Maunganui Beach

    Mt 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 lies the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula with its beautiful beaches, whilst… read more »

  • 11. Allans Beach // South Island

    Allans Beach
    © Tomas Sobek / CC BY

    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 colony, whilst the other end is home… read more »

  • 12. Medlands Beach // North Island

    Medlands Beach
    being grateful journal
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    Surrounded by lush forest, Medlands Beach lies on Oruawharo Bay on the east coast of Great Barrier Island, just off New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. It is linked to the North Island by regular ferry services to Tryphena, which last approximately an hour.

    Its pristine white sand is a favourite with both swimmers and surfers, with Medlands being the closest surf beach to Tryphena. Separated from the sands of Kaitoke Beach… read more »

  • 13. Sandfly Beach // South Island

    Sandfly Beach
    © Andrea Schaffer / CC BY

    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 seals.

    Curiously, the name of… read more »

  • 14. Takapuna Beach // North Island

    Takapuna Beach
    © Adam & Tess / CC BY

    Takapuna is sometimes referred to as the unofficial 'capital' of Auckland's North Shore - a series of coastal suburbs across Shoal Bay from the city centre. The Takapuna Beach area is the centre of the North Shore's nightlife, being home to many bars, restaurants, cafes and shops. It is also the main shopping centre of the North Shore.

    The beach here is a fine stretch of white sand looking out… read more »

  • 15. Little Palm Beach // North Island

    Little Palm Beach

    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 reputation as a naturist beach - in fact it is often referred… read more »