A nation of beaches varying from the white sandy suntraps of the far north and east coast to the wild fury of the West Coast. The beach is attractive for many reasons, the sound of the water lapping/the surf crashing, sun, sand and tepid water/the awe inspiring wrath of a stormy wrath. New Zealanders consider it their right to have access for recreation, yet the lack of overcrowding is a treat for overseas tourists. Visitors should respect the Maori custom of ‘Rahui’ which prohibits access when there has been a drowning or when shellfish should not be harvested in an effort to allow species to regenerate.
It is advisable to swim between the flags and respect the power of the ocean and the intensity of the sun.
Eastern North Island
This region offers countless beaches, both on the west and east coasts, some secluded bays some with little settlements. The most famous, Ninety Mile Beach (it’s really only 55 miles) stretches from just west of Kaitaia to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand.
With its bustling feel, vibrant restaurants, ice cream parlors, cafés and pubs, Mission Bay is definitely a city beach blessed with golden sands, an expansive grassy area with plenty of picturesque Pohutukawa.
Piha is located on the wild west coast, a half-hour drive from Auckland, it’s also a quintessential black, iron-sand destination, moody and misty. Rips and currents abound. Swim only in areas patrolled by lifesavers.
Eastern North Island
Coromandel The most famous beach in this are is Hot Water Beach earning its name from the coastal mineral springs which reveal themselves at low tide, dig a hole at the tide line and relax in a personal, natural hot springs spa.
Renowned Cathedral Cove is an easy 40-minute hike away.
New Chums Beach is one of the last undeveloped beaches in New Zealand a bit of a mission to access but worth the effort.
Mount Maunganui is something of an oddity in that it has both an ocean beach and a harbor beach, Pilot Bay.
East Cape is endowed with innumerable white sandy beaches a high profile one is Wainui near Gisborne.Hawkes Bay too is well endowed.
Both the Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast are popular for their beaches, Castlepoint and Riversdale and Raumati, Paraparaumu, Waikanae. Oriental Bay in Central Wellington buzzes on a lovely day as does Days Bay, a ferry ride from the CBD.
Nelson / Marlborough
The gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, Kaiteriteri, is the most picturesque in the south island and is a very popular holiday destination with walking tracks, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking the many coves and lagoons. Golden sand and the most sunshine hours in the country add to its attraction. Nelson’s Tahunanui is a popular focus for the area.
Christchurch’s well known suburban beaches Sumner, New Brighton and Taylors Mistake attract locals and visitors alike.
Otago / Deep South
Dunedin’s St Clair and St Kilda beaches offer sun and surf, the local climate often maligned unfairly.