New Zealand is a beautiful country, full of lush countryside’s, reflecting lakes and mountains that frame all this beauty, but when it comes to beaches, we are simply spoilt for choice. If you have been able to travel around this stunning country, you would have noticed the impressive coastline, the energetic surf, and the smell of alluring salty air of the beaches, drawing you in to dive headfirst in all that these beaches have to offer.
New Zealand beaches are clean and clear, they stretch across an impressive 15,000km of coastline so there is plenty to explore and see. You will never get tired of looking out over the water, dreaming of the next place to stay, each beach is unique and with the raft of different beaches to visit, we have it narrowed down to what we believe are the top four beaches of New Zealand.
Hot Water Beach – Coromandel
Hot Water Beach should be at the top of your places to visit. Located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is approx. 30mins drive from Whitianga, 1 hour drive from Coromandel township, and 2 hours 20min drive from Auckland. It is a New Zealand must do. The landscape of Hot Water Beach is like nowhere else, from the biting hot sand underneath your feet to the waves ready to cool them off, this beach is full of atmosphere.
What makes this so special is nature’s natural jacuzzi bubbling just below the surface in low tide. You can bring your own shovel, or hire one from the local shop, and dig to create yourself your very own pool to sit and relax in. This water is very hot, the temperature can be up to 64 degrees, and you can stay in for as long as you like. The best time to visit these magical hot pools is 2 hours either side of low tide. The best part about Hot Water Beach is that on a cold and rainy day makes this place even more enticing to visit.
The main car park which is a Pay, and Display is located on the Southernmost end of Hot Water Beach. This carpark has upgraded facilities including showers, it is also 24 hours. From there your adventure begins just beyond the shallow stream, you will need to walk across this stream to get to Hot Rock which is 200 meters along the beach.
Mount Maunganui – Bay of Plenty
Perhaps the most iconic beach in New Zealand is the main beach at Mount Maunganui, sitting at the bottom of the extinct volcano called Mauao. Located in the Bay of Plenty region between Coromandel and the East Cape, and is a 10min drive from Tauranga, a 1-hour drive from Rotorua and a 2 hours 45min drive from Auckland.
From the base of this extinct volcano the beach stretches as far as the eye can see and has been crowned the best beach in New Zealand by TripAdvisor and ranks among the top 25 best beaches in the world. The locals often refer to this place as “The Mount” This beach is the perfect place to relax on the white sandy beaches, soak in the atmosphere, and people watch.
Before heading down to the beach why not take in the sights. There are walking tracks up the extinct volcano which provides 360-degree views showing the entire length of the Bay of Plenty. Breathtaking views and pristine beach – you can’t get better than that.
Ninety Mile Beach – Cape Reinga
Ninety Mile Beach is located at the top of the North Island and stretches just west of Kaitaia and goes all the way to Cape Reinga. Ninety Mile is a bit of a misnomer, the beach is only fifty-four miles long, but translates to eighty-eight kms – almost ninety miles. The accepted reason as to why this name has stuck comes from the days when they were riding horseback. When they would ride the horses down the beach it took three days, and the average horse could cover thirty miles a day – hence the name Ninety Mile Beach, plus it does have a nice ring to it.
From Auckland it is a five-hour drive to the settlement of Ahipara which is at the northernmost access point for the beach. You can also access the beach from Paihia which is only a two- and half-hour drive. The beach is officially a highway, but is only suitable for 4WD vehicles, and is impossible to drive on in high tide.
Ninety Mile Beach is renowned for spectacular sunsets and has one of the best left-hand surf breaks in the world. The beach is lined with high sand dunes which have been formed by the wind over time and resemble a desert landscape. It is also bordered by the dense, green Aupouri Forest. Also, if you are brave enough you can sit or lie on a plastic sled and go zooming down the dunes.
South Island Beaches – Hokitika
The South Island coastline are rugged and dramatic and hosts unscathed beaches. These beaches are truly something else and are a taste of how truly beautiful this country is. One of these beaches is in Hokitika.
This is a wonderfully wild beach, full of black sand and pebbles (including pounamu-jade) and driftwood. A place where you can take your photo in front of the famous driftwood-built town name, fossick through and build your own creation with driftwood, watch the sunset, surf or even swim (only experienced swimmers) You may even see the Little Blue Penguin as well if you go for walk later in the evening.
Hokitika beach is becoming an increasingly popular spot for locals and for visitors to the area, with mountain views, it really is beautiful combination of sea and mountains.
Now that we are heading into spring and summer, the days are getting longer and the nights staying warmer, why not use these recommendations of the top four beaches and start planning your holiday now!