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Beaches

New Zealand Beaches – Where to Go for Classic Summer Holiday Activities

New Zealand

New Zealand where are the best beaches located?

New Zealand’s great beaches can be found in Auckland and Bay of Plenty. Explore the instantly familiar iconic Coromandel with Hot Water Beach; fun as you create your own impromptu spa. The South Island has the jewel in the crown, the glittering gold sandy beaches nestled within the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Surfers are spoilt for choice with the west coast of both Islands offering tantalising swells.

Overseas visitors are intrigued with the towering sand dunes in the Far North Te Paki and Hokianga Harbour. 

Brisk winter days encourage you to explore your wild side with the wind and iron sands whipping the air into a fury as the sea and sky merge into a blue / grey light at Muriwai, home of gannet bird colony. Ponder about your surfing credentials while watching lycra clad surfers in Raglan and Taranaki’s Surf Highway.

TIP

New Zealand beaches are a drawcard for Australians as the relatively mild summer temperatures create an ideal climate for a summer holiday.

WHAT MAKES A BEACH THE BEST PLACE TO THROW DOWN THE BEACH TOWEL?

 

 

  • Safety gets a tick here for a great beach 
  • How accessible the beach is for everyone
  • Beautiful fine sandy foreshore to comfortably sit on
  • Nearby things to do from roadside cafes, to galleries and interesting walks
  • Does high tide mean the beach foreshore effectively disappears under the waves?
  • Authentic, remote and free from the crowded well-known beaches
Sumner Beach, Sumner, Christchurch, Canterbury Region, New Zealand
Sumner Beach, Sumner, Christchurch, Canterbury Region
Aerial view of a Beautiful Bay with Sandy Beach near Nelson, New Zealand
Beautiful Bay with Sandy Beach near Nelson

TIPS FOR A HASSLE FREE DAY AT THE BEACH ARE

 

 

  • Toilets and changing rooms nearby
  • Playgrounds and outdoor showers
  • Cafes for parent’s coffee buzz
  • Ice cream vendors
  • Shady trees and an estuary and walk to explore

WHAT CAN YOU DO AT THE BEACH TO KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED?

 

 

The classic thing to do at the beach to keep kids entertained is to build a sandcastle. Let’s start with an oldie but goldie, sandcastle building tips and tricks. Sandcastles are a great family selfie moment. Transitory and energetic and remember lots of sunscreen as you are exposed.

 

What to do at the beach with the kids

Sandcastle joy at the beach
Sandcastle Joy at the Beach
Recycled driftwood Hokitika beach sculpture and town identity
Driftwood on the Beach at Hokitika, West Coast

WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR A GOOD DAY AT THE BEACH WITH THE KIDS?

 

 

Tips and tricks to summer beach activities for kids with ants in their pants is building a driftwood mansion. Sandcastles are for little kids with older children feeling the challenge of bigger things in life. Think driftwood and start looking.

Driftwood building is very satisfying with the option of flying a flag (T-shirt) from the parapets. The kids need amusing, that annoying brother / cousin is itching to do something.

Beach sports is always a goodie and you can obviously recruit complete strangers who see the cricket stumps being set up and volunteer to field.

Driftwood shelter, Collingwood, South Island, New Zealand Driftwood Shelter, Collingwood, South Island
INTERESTING FACT

A few rules around driftwood magic

Leave what you find at the beach. Driftwood is someone’s home, the habitat for marine life. Take down the beautiful fort and leave the beach as you found it.

Driftwood is wood washed ashore by the action of wind, tides and storms, do not use power tools to chop up the driftwood, use its natural found form. Do not disturb shorebirds, marine life while collecting driftwood. And definitely do not remove from the beach

Your structure is temporary, do not destroy the environment to build your driftwood fort.

TEENAGERS AND THE BEACH – WHAT TO DO WITH BORED TEENAGERS?

 

 

Bored teenagers at the beach can be invited to an impromptu spa massage. It’s glorious, the gentle exfoliation and rhythmic relaxation of muscles as heated oils soften and soak into the skin.

 

Try out your own DIY beach massage. The ingredients are simple, a day at the beach. The beach is the original wellness destination and the best bit, it’s free.

Sand massage
BEACH SAFETY

 

  • No intense wave action or currents, such as rip currents
  • New Zealand offers visitors fewer sharks, jellyfish and dangerous creatures
  • Safety for families and friends should always include lifeguards on duty 
  • Shady spots from the summer sun 
  • Facilities, toilets, changing rooms and access to fresh water

THE ULTIMATE SURFING HOLIDAY IN NZ BUCKET LIST IS…

Surf Highway 45: Taranaki - Things to Do

Are you ready for fun? Gravel roads lead to quiet beaches where the pounding surf is a place of joy.

Learn More Surf Highway 45
Aerial view on Taranaki coastline with a small river and New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki on the background. Taranaki region, New Zealand Surf Highway 45
Opunake beach at low tide, Surf Highway 45, Taranaki, New Zealand Surf Highway 45
Sunset over Oakura Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand Surf Highway 45

THE BEST BEACHES IN THE NORTH ISLAND

Weather is a summer plus in New Zealand’s North Island with reliable balmy temperatures in the mid-20’s (January through to early March).

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga, a #nzmustdo for many visitors is a Far North beach destination renown for its lighthouse, scenic coastline, Maori mythology and remote beaches.

Learn More
Cape Reinga Lighthouse at Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of the North Island of New Zealand
Te Paki Sand Dunes, enormous natural landscape, Cape Reinga, Northland, New Zealand
Cape Reinga Lighthouse 1 km path from car park, Northland, New Zealand

ANCHOR BAY rewards the Auckland city dweller with white sand, wildlife and walking tracks. Often called Auckland’s best-kept secret.

Tāwharanui Regional Park is found 90 km from Auckland at the end of a gravel road so it’s not convenient and belongs in the day trip category for locals and visitors alike. 

 

 

In Tawharanui Regional Park, north of Auckland, New Zealand, a top view of the strip of land between the lake and the bay
Tawharanui Regional Park, North of Auckland
Cathedral Cove incoming tide sunset, Hahei, New Zealand
Cathedral Cove, near Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula

A must-do when in New Zealand, you can get to Cathedral Cove (Coromandel) by boat or kayak. The beach rock formations are stunning with lush bush making for a great setting for a selfie. 

 

Plan your low tide visit to another favourite beach spot in the Coromandel, Hot Water Beach with its natural hot water springs welling into your instant spa (you need a spade to visit this beach).

 

 

BAY OF PLENTY

Ohope Beach is a very popular camping beach with nearby cafes, an estuary to explore and the charms of the Bay of Plenty. The expansive 14 km of sandy beach guarantees a place all by yourself. There are beachside cafes and ice-cream shops and a number of accommodation options all within a five minute walk from the beach.

The Mount, or Mount Maunganui is spectacular with its lifeguards, buzzing social life, kilometres of sandy beach and the promise of salt-water baths nearby. Head up the adjacent Mauao for a sweeping view.

 

Statue of Wairaka, at the mouth of the Whakatane River, Bay of Plenty
Statue of Wairaka, at the mouth of the Whakatane River, Bay of Plenty

NORTH ISLAND WEST COAST BEACHES –  SURFING MECCA

Raglan Wharf @curatedbyciara

Raglan is a veteran beach destination for surfers and swimmers alike. Spend a day exploring the North Island remote west coast beaches, Raglan day trips to Kawhia and Aotea Harbours inland route.

 

Find your surfing credentials at Ngarunui Beach.

Taranaki boasts its own SURF HIGHWAY with towns such as Oakura, signboard is a truly massive surfboard.

Discover the Top 7 things to do in New Plymouth as you explore the North Island’s west coast.

Sunset over Oakura Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand
Sunset over Oakura Beach, Taranaki

SOUTH ISLAND BEACHES GALORE

Rock star, insta famous Wharariki Beach to the idyllic Abel Tasman National Park showstopping glorious swaths of gold tinted sandy beaches is summer joy.

Awaroa beach in Abel Tasman National Park
Awaroa Beach in Abel Tasman National Park

There are too many stunning beaches in Nelson Tasman to choose just one. Head to the popular Anchorage Bay for golden sand and beachside camping, visit the beach “New Zealand bought” – Awaroa Beach. Awaroa beach swaths of deep gold sand with clear blue riverlets at low tide is breathtakingly beautiful. 

 

 

Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe beach is where visitors flock to photograph round massive boulders littering the sandy beach.

 

Geological oddities and rock formations are the makings of a great day. Embark on Geological trails Oamaru and Waitaki Valley places to visit and where to go, find extraordinary karst landscapes where elephant rocks roam and badlands framing nearby grazing sheep grazing.

 

More about Moeraki

Moeraki boulders, Otago, NZ
Moeraki boulders, Otago

WHAT IS THERE TO DO AT A BEACH OTHER THAN SWIMMING AND SUNBATHING?

The kids have the right idea, wellness treatment
The kids have the right idea, wellness treatment

There is plenty to do at a beach which does not involve swimming or sunbathing. 

Beach sports is always a goodie and you can obviously recruit complete strangers who see the cricket stumps being set up and volunteer to field. Let’s start with an oldie but goodie, sandcastle building tips and tricks. Sandcastles are a great family selfie moment. 

 

 

Hokitika is the only West Coast town located on the beach. It might be a tad damp, even in summer with wild surf yet sunset photos will look awesome. Make sure to check out the summer Driftwood and Sand Festival.

 

More about Hokitika 

 

 

 

Dunedin is surrounded by beaches, coastline and the Otago Peninsula is the centreplace. Find a wetsuit and join the locals surfing remote beaches. Relish the solitude and splendour of  Dunedin, ‘cold water Bali.’

 

More about Dunedin 

Hokitika Gorge, West Coast, New Zealand. Beautiful nature with blueturquoise color water and wooden swing bridge.
Hokitika Gorge, West Coast
TIP

A bit chilly, then hang out in the nearest cafe… Plenty to pick and choose from. 

Dunedin, its local wildlife frequenting the beach, the pounding surf and fascinating rock caves and arches offers an interesting alternative to the idea of a beach holiday.

INTERESTING FACT

Dunedin beaches’ local inhabitants are wild. Enjoy the sheer delight of sharing a beach with seals or sea lions. The possibility of viewing (at a safe distance) the local wildlife is an undeniable attraction.

 

Find out More about Dunedin Beaches

 

 

More Dunedin Beaches

Surf in Cold Water Bali, Dunedin - Where the Waves Reign

Dunedin Tunnel Beach - Things to Do

Dunedin St Kilda Beach - Things to Do

Dunedin: The Pyramids at Victory Beach

Dunedin Sandfly Bay

Dunedin, Otago Peninsula Aramoana Beach

Dunedin Whareakeake (Murdering) Beach - Things to Do

Riverton street art whale mural, New Zealand
Riverton Street Art Whale Mural

RIVERTON – GEMSTONE BEACH

 

The deep south of New Zealand has a gem of a beach. Riverton’s gemstone beach is awesome. While it might be a bit chilly for a dip, explore the beach for a gem or two.

 

More about Riverton

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