Top 10 New Zealand Beaches
When people think of New Zealand, many conjure up images of impressive mountain scenery, crystal clear lakes and rivers, rugged costline and rolling countryside.
But New Zealand has 9000 kilometres of coastline with glorious beaches including the world-class surf in Raglan; the golden sandy beaches of the Bay of Plenty; the secluded coves of the Coromandel; the wild untamed beaches of the West Coast; sandy turquoise waters of Abel Tasmen National Park and the warm waters of the stunning Bay of Islands.
Everybody will have an opinion, but our personal favourites form our list of 'Top 10 Beaches in New Zealand'.
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel
A must see spot in the Coromandel Pennisula. A 45 minute walk from the scenic lookout near Haihei Beach rewards you with a truly beautiful spot. This iconic and much photographed beach, with its smooth sandy beach and stunning arch, is more than just a beach.
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel
Two hours either side of low tide is the time to take your shovel and dig into the sand to experience a free hot spa! Along with golden sand and a tranquil setting in the Coromandel Pennisula, it's a big pull for travellers. A 30 minute drive from Whitianga.
Mount Maunganui Ocean Beach, Bay of Plenty
A 45 minute climb up the Mount is the best way to admire the long sandy curved beach that's a jewel in Bay of Plenty's crown. The clear waters, surf, soft golden sand and views of The Mount are the right ingredients for a perfect day under the sun.
Piha Beach, Auckland
Situated on the west coast, just 30 minutes from Auckland, Piha's wild and rugged beach is one of the country's most famous and best for surfing. Lion Rock stands majestically on the beach, dominating the landscape. The surrounding Waitakere Ranges complement the setting with chances for hiking and exploring.
Onetangi Beach, Waiheke Island
A 30 minute ferry from Auckland takes you to the 'Island of Wine' and some cracking beaches. Our pick of the bunch is Onetangi beach for it's wide stretch of golden sand and captivating views. On clear days you can stare at Great Barrier Island's steep pinnacles and even catch sight of the Coromandel Pennisula in the distance.
Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
Well known not just for the sand and surf, but the massive sand dunes, Ninety Mile Beach is actually 'only' 55 miles long. Situated on the extreme northwestern coast of Northland, the desert-type landscape also makes it ideal for bodyboarding – a funny sight for the non-initiated!
Kaiteriteri Beach, Abel Tasman
The summer warmth attracts the crowds to this small but popular beach. The holiday houses and nearby campgrounds generate a holiday buzz to the place but it's the Nelson sunshine and inviting waters that warrants a top 10 place.
A 20 minute drive out of Auckland and you find 3km of golden sand in the seaside town of Orewa. The beauty of this beach (apart from its beauty) is the convenience of the short drive from the city that makes it a great day out.
The clean water, surf and large flat beach attracts sports enthuisasts and those simply seeking relaxation.
Coopers Beach, Northland
Just one hour's drive from the Bay of Islands, Coopers Beach is a secluded stretch of beach that's shaded by pohutukawa trees. The beach is close to the old fishing village of Mangonui, where old buildings now offer visitors restuarants, cafés and small shops.
Haast Beach, West Coast
The wild and untamed Haast beach is situated on the rugged West Coast. There's a real feel of isolation as you travel through the dramatic forest and mountain scenery. It's not a sunbathing spot, but a place to see the raw beauty of nature. A good stop-off if you're driving to Wanaka and Queenstown.