Best Beaches of New Zealand

It’s widely known that New Zealand is a country full of natural beauty. From snowy mountains and glaciers, to the sun filled beaches. This stunning, albeit small, country has so much to offer a visitor. While New Zealand isn’t typically associated as a “beach holiday destination” there are plenty of beaches worth visiting while traveling.

For those of you planning a trip to this amazing country or just dreaming about visiting Middle Earth one day, here are some of best beaches of New Zealand.


Best Beaches of New Zealand - Hot-Water-Beach-New-Zealand


Hot Water Beach

Located on the Coromandel Peninsula, this interesting site has warm, mineral-rich water bubbling up from underground due to the presence of two volcanic hot springs. Visitors are advised to bring a shovel so they can dig a hole and enjoy the relaxing and completely free natural spa. Just dig around in the sand with your hands or feet to find a spot that is to your liking.

Those arriving late might not be able to find a spot right away, so be sure to come early, as like most popular sites, this one can get crowded at times. The water outside the thermal pool areas is clear and quite cool compared to the natural springs. This beach may not suit those looking for a classic New Zealand beach experience, but for those that don’t mind something a bit different, this is a fun stop. Free parking here is located a walkable distance from the beach. The parking area that does have toilets available for a small fee.


  Best Beaches of New Zealand - Piha Beach


Piha Beach

This dark volcanic sand beach is located about 60 kilometers from Auckland and is well known as haven for surfers. Featured in the film “The Piano”, this beach is more laid back in nature and less crowded than nearby Phia. You can swim here, but make sure to do so only in designated areas where lifeguards are present. Rip currents can be fierce at times and there is a local reality show based upon dramatic happenings at this beach. Piha Beach is definitely not a swim location for beginners or young children.

With that said, there are some excellent trails in the location as well as gorgeous scenery for those who don’t want to jump in the water. The hiking area is good for families as it has many short treks and public bathroom facilities. There are also a number of shops in the vicinity.

Look out for a popular horse race takes place at this location every April, but at other times the place is known for its wild, yet tranquil setting. Karekare Beach received a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and has a waterfall pool located nearby.  You should be aware that there is not a lot of shade (so bring an umbrella) and the beach can be windy at times. The black sand  can be tough on bare feet, especially so on sunny days.


Best Beaches of New Zealand - Karekare Beach @55069877@N00


Kaiteriteri Beach

With its sunny shores, it is no surprise that this beach is popular. Native wildlife such as seals, dolphins and penguins are common sights at this location. Close to the Able Tasman National Park, Kaiteriteri Beach is split in half by an estuary and the southern “little Kaiteriteri” area is the quieter of the two. The northern section is more crowded and may not be to everyone’s taste. Still, this beach is altogether a great area for families as well as anyone who enjoys either swimming or kayaking.

The trail out to Dummy Bay is a recommended hike. There are several cafes in the nearby area so visitors that forget to bring food and drinks along will not go hungry.


Best Beaches of New Zealand - Ninety Mile Beach


Ninety Mile Beach

Despite it’s name this gorgeous, albeit touristy, beach only measures around 55 miles long at most. Sand dunes and good breakers are among the beach features found here. Sand surfing on the dunes is another fun activity at this location. The waves here are generally good for regular surfers but, at times, even in the swimming area on the far southern side of beach can be a bit too unpredictable for visitors to risk going into the water.


Do you have any to add to the Best Beaches of New Zealand list?


Best Beaches of New Zealand - Map


Photos by Charlie Brewer, MickiTakesPictures, fletchy182, Heike_Quosdorf


Author: Michael

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  1. Great list, they are all fantastic beaches. I would add Sandfly Bay on the Otago Peninsula to walk down a giant sand dune, see giant sea lions and spot the endangered yellow eyed penguin.

    The wildly beautiful New Chums Beach which can only be accessed by hiking over from Whangapoua on the Coromandel Peninsula and ranked as one of the top deserted beaches in the world.

    Also, Cathdral Cove which is also only reached by boat or by hiking from a car park near Hahei.

    Cathedral Cove is where some of ‘The Narnia Chronicles: Prince Caspian’ was filmed and has beautiful white sand, caves and small islands just off shore.

    So many great beaches in NZ!

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  2. Interesting that there is no photo of Kaiteriteri beach, just the water. Kaiteriteri was a lovely place 30 years ago, but now it is just a suburb of oversized millionaire pads and apartments with a beach attached. Definitely not one of the best NZ beaches.

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