Must-visit Beaches in New Zealand

New Zealand boasts of numerous beaches, each having its unique characteristic. This Buzzle article brings to you a list of some of the must-visit beaches in the country.
Koekohe beach, New Zealand
Broadly speaking, the beaches in New Zealand can be categorized into two different kinds, depending on whether they are located on the county's east coast or west coast. The beaches on the east coast have white sand, and the sea is much calmer than that on the west coast, where the beaches have black or dark-colored sand.
One of the great benefits about being an island nation is that you get to enjoy the beaches and the various activities related to them. It is for this reason that New Zealand is a favorite destination amongst beach lovers. New Zealand boasts of having the ninth-largest coastline in the world, measuring 15,134 km, which means that the country offers miles and miles of beach fun. Most of the country's major towns and cities are located along the coast, and the further you go, the more isolated the beaches become. So, whether you want to spend a bustling beach vacation on a busy beach, along with other tourists indulging in beach activities, or holiday on a calm and serene coast, New Zealand seems to be just the perfect destination.

This Buzzle article brings to you a compilation of some of the best beaches in the country, which are definitely worth a visit.


No matter how far you go or how many beaches you visit, a true beach-lover always craves for more. We hope that this list makes you want to visit these awesome beaches and indulge in all the activities there so that you return with lovely memories of the sea.

Mission Bay Beach
Mission Bay

Location: Mission Bay, Auckland City, North Island

Coordinates: 36.8482° S, 174.8306° E

One of the most accessible urban beaches from downtown Auckland, the Mission Bay beach features a vivacious beachfront having some of the most stylish and classy eateries in the region. Located right in the middle of the city, about some 15 odd minutes from the city center, this beach is just the perfect place for a family picnic or a walk with the love of your life, or even a simple relaxing spree, doing absolutely nothing. This is an East Coast beach, and it boasts of beautiful golden sand.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: While the beach is safe for swimming all through the year, other guided activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing are also offered.

Bethells Beach
Bethells beach

Location: Waitakere, North Island

Coordinates: 36.8833° S, 174.4333° E

Known as Te Henga in the local Māori tongue, Bethells Beach is a small coastal community situated some 30 km northwest of Auckland city. This West Coast beach featuring nice, black sand, is calm and quiet through most of the year, but suddenly tends to come to life in summer, when domestic tourists make their way to this place. The black sand dunes that surround the beach give it a more dramatic look, and make it just the right spot for picnicking and other activities.

Best Time to Visit: From December to March

Activities: Adventure-seekers are seen indulging in surfing, parasailing, skimboarding, and hang-gliding. Fishing is also a popular activity; however, some spots have been declared as dangerous. Moreover, swimming and bushwalking are also encouraged.

Maunganui Beach
Maunganui Beach

Location: Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, North Island

Coordinates: 37.6430° S, 176.1850° E

Mount Maunganui is a very popular holiday resort town, and the beach, with its seemingly unspoiled golden sand, is simply mesmerizing. While this East Coast beach is frequented by tourists all round the year, summer tends to be the busiest time when watersport activities are in full swing. Interestingly, the Maunganui Beach is also home to New Zealand's first artificial offshore reef, which is being promoted as a surfing spot.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: People indulge in surfing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and jet skiing. Moreover, every summer, the city hosts competitions of beach volleyball, parasailing, and sandcastle building.

Mosquito Bay
Mosquito Bay

Location: Abel Tasman National Park, Tasman District, South Island

Coordinates: 40.8333° S, 172.9000° E

All beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park are beautiful, but the Mosquito Bay, in particular, is one of those unspoiled, less trodden gems. Situated in the Awaroa section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, the Mosquito Bay is nestled in the midst of a lush native forest, which is home to some of the most exotic, rare, and endangered avian species. Mosquito Bay is a great place for those who seek a peaceful refuge from the hustle bustle and monotony of city life. The beach can be accessed only by boat, and there is a small campsite which can accommodate only about 40 people at a time.

Best Time to Visit: From October to April

Activities: Kayaking is the most popular activity at Mosquito Bay; however, swimming and bushwalking is also encouraged in the area.

Piha Beach
Piha Beach

Location: Piha, North Island

Coordinates: 36.9540° S, 174.4710° E

Lining the coastal settlement of Piha on the west coast of North Island, the Piha beach is, by far, one of the most popular day-trip destinations for local New Zealanders. Located at a distance of only about 40 km from Auckland, this beach is more than just the sand and the sea; it presents visitors with some of the most enchanting views of the surrounding areas, with a backdrop of the mighty Waitakere Ranges covered in a picturesque sub-tropical forest. The imposing 'Lion Rock' stands guard over the beach, thus, imparting a more dramatic feel to it.

Best Time to Visit: From December to March

Activities: For one, Piha beach is the most popular surf beach in New Zealand. Swimming and fishing is also permitted in certain areas, constantly patrolled by surf clubs. Boating is also permitted in some areas.

Koekohe Beach
Koekohe Beach

Location: North Otago, South Island

Coordinates: 45.3453° S, 170.8261° E

This is one of the most interesting beaches, not only in New Zealand but also in the world. The Koekohe beach is overlooked by numerous mudstone cliffs, but what grabs immediate attention are the large number of mysterious, unusually huge, spherical boulders, which are strewn along the entire expanse of the beach. These are the so-called Moeraki Boulders, which form the major attraction of this beach. Some of them lay partially submerged in the sand, while others have been cracked open by the continuous tidal action.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: The beach does not offer many activities; however, it is a nice place to sit back, relax, and have some great time with your near and dear ones.

Ninety Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach

Location: Cape Reinga, North Island

Coordinates: 34.7167° S, 172.9333° E

Known as Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē in the Māori language, the Ninety Mile beach is actually 90 km long (about 56 miles). What makes this beach special is the fact that it is lined by huge sand dunes―this beach features the longest expanse of sand in the whole country, thus, also making it New Zealand's biggest beach. One can access the dramatic Aupouri forest from the beach's northern tip, which also makes it one of the most sought-after beaches in the country.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: While people are allowed to swim, surf, and fish during the low tide, the beach hosts a five day-long surf fishing competition at the end of February each year. Moreover, sandboarding is also a popular activity on the beach.

Oriental Bay
Oriental Bay

Location: Wellington, North Island

Coordinates: 41.2910° S, 174.7950° E

Oriental Bay is Wellington's suburb, and is located against an awe-inspiring backdrop of Mount Victoria's northern slope. The Oriental Bay beach is one of the nearest beaches to the country's capital, and so, is a popular destination. While the beach is buzzing with tourists all year round, it is tends to be busiest during summer, when the climate tends to be most favorable. The beach, with its lively promenade, is more popular among families and party-lovers.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: Swimming, boating, and cycling along the waterfront are popular activities.

Kaiteriteri Beach
Kaiteriteri Beach

Location: Kaiteriteri, Nelson, South Island

Coordinates: 41.0331° S, 173.0167° E

The main gateway as you make your way to the Abel Tasman National Park, the small coastal town of Kaiteriteri is definitely worth a halt, especially for its amazing, golden sand beach. It is pretty common to spot penguins, seals, dolphins on the beach, and this is precisely why, the beach is also popular amongst bird and animal lovers. According to CNN Travel, with all its attractions, Kaiteriteri is the best beach on South Island.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: Guided activities like sea kayaking, paddleboarding, water skiing, and wakeboarding take place at the Kaiteriteri beach. People can indulge in some towable tube and banana boat rides, or can take one of the stunning sightseeing cruises in the Tasman Bay.

Whangamata Beach
Whangamata Beach

Location: Whangamata, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island

Coordinates: 37.2000° S, 175.8667° E

The Coromandel Peninsula is known for its numerous picturesque beaches, and the Whangamata beach is no exception. Also known as the Otahu Beach, the Whangamata beach is considered to be the safest beach in New Zealand for swimmers, and is lined by the lush greenery of the Coromandel Forest Park, which adds to its beauty. The beach is a great place to sit back and relax in the golden sand of New Zealand's east coast. Moreover, the town itself is home to the famous Whangamata Beach Hop, the festival celebrating the retro culture of the 50s and the 60s, which takes place in April every year.

Best Time to Visit: All through the year

Activities: Surfing is the most popular activity on this beach. In addition to it, deep sea fishing, diving, and windsurfing are also encouraged.
Published: February 10, 2014
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