Exploring the Milford Beach Reserve

Adventure Family Fun

Located in Auckland's North Shore, a beach that is not too close, and yet not too far away from the city buzz.

Have you ever wondered how is to have a wonderful beach in an urban area, heaven next to civilisation? A place where one moment you can swim in the beautiful wild ocean and the next moment go to a modern shopping mall? I know it sounds great and yet it is possible. 

These kinds of places I have found on the North Shore in Auckland, starting from Takapuna and up to Long Bay Regional Park. However, if I had to choose one beach to be exceptional and most suitable for my needs and tastes, it would be Milford beach. 

Milford is located about 12 km from downtown Auckland and has a very convenient location. It is not too close, but not too far away from the city buzz. Usually takes a 15-minute drive from CBD. There are two ways to access the beach. One is from Milford Road and it has a smaller street car parking, maybe for up to 20 cars. Another access is at the Reserve. The car park is bigger, but be careful on weekends. You might not find a spot available if you are late. 

This beach is very popular all year long. You can see people having their morning run, watching the sunrise, taking short or long walks, walking dogs, having fun with kids, taking a sunbath, reading, enjoying a glass of wine in a sunset, swimming or practising other sports. 

If you are into walking, there is a great 2 - 5 km long beach walk path between Milford and Takapuna. It is really pleasant to walk there while enjoying the sea breeze and watching ships sailing to or from Auckland. In the summertime, there will be a beautiful cruise ship sailing past volcanic Rangitoto Island like a giant white seagull every day. 

One of the big game-changers at Auckland North Shore beaches are tides. Therefore, be aware that these beaches, including Milford, are part of the Pacific Ocean, meaning they are larger than at a regular sea. As a consequence, high tide will cover most of the beach areas and you won't be able to sit there, maybe even walk or do some other activities. Luckily, most of the beaches have a grassy area next to it so you can still enjoy the same things. 

When it comes to Milford, I believe that high tide is better for a long swim, maybe even a small surf or snorkelling. Otherwise, if you don't choose to do some walking, picnicking, beach sports at the beach you will need to visit when low tide is on. Of course, another option for all these activities is to the reserve area. 

Milford Beach Reserve Area is very funky, lively, and family area with a great picnic ground right next to a beautiful Marina. If you happen to visit the beach on the weekends, you will find lots of families doing barbeques, enjoying music, playing sports, walking, and having fun there. Sometimes it seems like a family fair. People are friendly and talkative. If you find yourself lost, everyone will help you with directions. 

On top of that, there is an ice cream truck every day in the summertime. Believe me, it will make you go back to your childhood, that careless time in our lives, where everything was good, beautiful and you felt free. 

So, grab an ice cream and enjoy the beautiful view of the Hauraki Gulf! 

Practical Information
  • If you are planning on spending the whole day on the beach, please be aware there are not lots of tree shades. You will need to bring a sun umbrella with you. Otherwise, get a spot under the trees at the reserve. 
  • Always bring a hat, sunscreen and jandals with you – sand can get very hot in the summer
  • Car parks are free
  • Dog-friendly 
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Be aware of the tides
  • Be aware of the Auckland traffic (you need to cross the bridge if coming from the CBD) – Morning rush 8 am – 10 am and afternoon rush 4.30 pm – 6.30 pm.
  • Shopping Mall with supermarkets and stores is 200 – 300 metres from the beach
  • Local cafes and restaurants – 300-400 m from the beach

Photos by Maja Krstic