Summer might be over but it sure doesn’t feel like it! There is still time… Here at Ezi Car Rental we think that New Zealand’s beaches are beautiful all year round and these spectacular gems should not be missed on your kiwi roadie. Follow this guide to New Zealand’s best and must-see beaches.
90 Mile Beach, Cape Reinga
While it is widely known that Ninety Mile Beach is actually only 88km long, you will not feel short changed by this expanse of paradise. Ninety Mile Beach is renowned for beautiful sunsets and one of the most spectacular left hand surf breaks in the world, making this beach an irresistible spot for surfers.
Piha, West Auckland
Piha is New Zealand’s most famous surf beach. Situated on the west coast of the North Island, just 40 kms out of Auckland, this black iron-sand beach is wonderfully isolated and ruggedly beautiful with its crazy rolling surf for seasoned surfers. It is a great swimming spot over summer but don’t forget to be safe and swim between the flags! Piha’s swells are so famously dangerous that there’s actually a TV show about the surf life-saving club.
Long Bay, North Auckland
The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve lies 20 kms north of Auckland. It is easily accessibleand there is a regular bus service that operates from the CBD to Long Bay. It has something for everyone. The reefs at both ends of Long Bay offer some good snorkelling or you can explore the nearby bays by launching your kayak at Long Bay. If you head north, Karepiro Bay is worth an explore or heading South, you can paddle into Browns Bay. The ideal skim boarding conditions also make this a very popular activity at Long Bay and we recommend taking the cliff-top walk for beautiful panoramic views across the Hauraki Gulf.
Hahei, Coromandel Peninsula
Hahei is situated on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is located in Mercury Bay, not far from Hot Water Beach. Accessible only by foot or boat, it is the gateway to the spectacular and infamous Cathedral Cove. You’re bound to fall in love with this beautiful sheltered golden sand beach. The offshore surrounding islands sit on the boundary of the marine reserve, making it perfect for diving, snorkelling, swimming and kayaking.
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
Hot Water Beach is highly rated as one of New Zealand’s most renowned beaches and is an experiencethat should definitely be on your bucket list! This beach is located on Mercury Bay, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, just 5 minutes from Cathedral Cove. Within two hours either side of low tide, you can dig into the sand and hot water will emerge to the surface and bubble through the golden sand to form a geothermic hot water pool to relax in. The water, with a temperature as hot as 64 °C (147 °F), filters up from underground fissures. The beach also boasts a great surf, lovely cafés and art galleries.
New Chums Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
This stunning stretch of coastline is a secret coastal gem hidden away from the masses, discoverable only by those wiling to take on the 30 minute native bush walk. Getting there involves wading through the estuary at the northern end of Whangapoua Beach, following the shoreline and then you will find a track that crosses the low point in the headland saddle over to New Chums. This stunning stretch of white sand and turquoise ocean is fringed by Pohutukawa trees and native forest and is deserted for most of the year. It is a protected beach that has no buildings, no roads, no infrastructure or camping. New Chums is lovable for its mind-blowing beauty, peace and tranquillity and it’s clean beach which provides great fishing and shellfish.
Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty
The Mount is a bustling yet relaxed beach town on a peninsula at the southern end of Tauranga’s Harbour. The peninsula is actually a large sandbar, with a sheltered bay on the inner harbour side and a magnificent white sand surf beach on the ocean side which stretches as far as the eye can see. The main beach has been titled the ‘Best Beach in New Zealand’ by TripAdvisor, and ranks among the top 25 best beaches in the world, which explains the large number of tourists and locals flocking here on a hot summers day.
At the top end of the peninsula is a distinctive peak and iconic landmark – Mauao – which rises over 230 metres above sea level. With a choice of wide tracks leading to the summit, climbing up here is a must-do. It is one of New Zealand’s most popular walks, with numerous places where you can stop and admire the 360 degree expansive ocean views along the entire Bay of Plenty coastline, and out across the Tauranga harbour and beyond the Kaimai Range. It is an effort that is totally worthwhile and well rewarded with an ice cream on the beach afterwards!
West of Hamilton, Raglan is a lively surf town and adramatically scenic coast of black sand. ManuBay, 8km west of Raglan town, is renowned for the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand surf break in the world. Said to offer some of the longest rides in the world, Manu Bay featured in the 1966 surfing film Endless Summer and has since been extremely popular. Ride the waves or grab a grandstand view of the action from the shore.
Mahia Peninsula, Hawkes Bay
The Mahia Peninsula is 13.5 miles (21.7 km) long and 7 miles (11.3 km) wide, located on the east coast of the North Island, between the cities of Napier and Gisbourne. The stunning Mahia Peninsula has long been a fishing and diving mecca and due to the mild climate, Mahia Peninsula has become an extremely popular holiday destination for holidaymakers and tourists all year round. With excellent fishing, a safe white sand swimming beach and great conditions for a range of water sports, Mahia is a great family holiday destination
Waimarama Beach, Hawkes Bay
Waimarama (Maori for ‘moon over shining water’) is a seaside village in HawkesBay, attractive for its vast golden sand beach. It is a 20 minute drive from Havelock North, past the well-known and simply spectacular Craggy Range winery and restaurant. Waimarama beach is a great swimming spot and is patrolled by the Surf Club from December until the end of March. This beach also yields an abundance of Pipi’s so don’t forget to take a bucket so you can cook these delicious shellfish on the BBQ later!
Alternatively, if you are looking for a slightly more undeveloped, secluded and expansive beach then Ocean Beach (the next beach along from Waimarama Beach) might be the spot for you.
Oriental Bay, Wellington
Oriental Bay is one of Wellington’s most popular beaches and is situated against the northern side of Mount Victoria, just out of the CBD. This is the start of the popular coastal route which continues all the way around past Hataitai around to Evans Bay. Over summer, Oriental Bay becomes a buzzing hive of activity with waterfront strollers and runners, picnicking families, beach goers and swimmers. The Bay is known for the distinctive Carter Fountain and the wooden barge which is often covered in swimmers. While in Oriental Bay, you can take a cruise in one of the infamous crocodile bikes, stop in at Kaffee Eis for a gourmet gelato or St John’s Bar & Restaurant to relax on a beanbag in the afternoon sun.
Golden Bay, Nelson
Golden Bay is a paraboloid shaped bay at the Northwest end of the South Island, where golden beaches, alpine valleys and tranquil fishing rivers share a close proximity to the sea. It is protected in the north by Farewell Spit, a 26 km long stretch of beautiful golden sand which is the country’s longest sandspit. It is a well-known popular tourist destination, well-liked because of its good weather and relaxed and friendly kiwi lifestyle. The bay was once a resting area for migrating whales and dolphins but now offers breathtaking scenery, arts and crafts and a vast range of activities for visitors.
Abel Tasman, Tasman District
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track. This is a coastal paradise to explore by foot or boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak. The Abel Tasman National Park is a perfect mix of physical exertion and relaxing beach life. Bursts of hiking or paddling are intermittent with sun bathing, swimming and spectacular snorkelling. There are luxurious lodges and camp sites but sleeping under the stars has to be one of the best ways to experience the spirit of the Abel Tasman.
Classed as one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track takes between 3 and 5 days to complete, climbing It climbs through native forest to a number of beautiful beaches. You will find few more stunning views than those between Torrent Bay and Bark Bay. At the northern end of Torrent Bay the track climbs to the beautiful inlet of Falls River. The track then meanders through scenic coastal forest towards Bark Bay. Tonga Island Marine Reserve spans between Bark Bay and Awaroa Bay, named for the island it surrounds which supports a year round Fur Seal population. The clear warm waters of the reserve make it extremely popular with kayakers and swimmers. If your lucky, you might even see little blue penguins along this coast or experience an encounter with a pod of dolphins while kayaking!
Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
Tunnel beach, just 2 kms south of Dunedin, is a scenic setting of sea-carved sandstone cliffs, rock arches and caves. It is named after the passage that was hand carved in the 1870s through a rock promontory to allow access to a secluded and sheltered beach at the base of the cliffs. The Tunnel Beach Walkway is an easy one hour return walk, best at low tide.
The Moeraki Boulders are a group of extremely large and spherical boulders on the stretch of Koekohe Beach, near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coastline. These boulders have become a spectacular attraction of the South Island and are concretions that have been exposed through years and years of shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs that frame the beach. These unusually large formations are definitely worth a visit if you are in the area – some weigh several tonnes and are up to 3 metres wide!