Our Favourite New Zealand Beaches

With daylight savings in full swing, we’ve found ourselves daydreaming about those warm summer days spent at the beach. The quick ocean dip when the sand was too hot on our feet or the evening strolls by the water when the air was warm and the sky was pink and red. It’s fair to say we all miss summer. So we thought why don’t we talk about some of our favourite sandy spots in New Zealand and why we think you should visit them if you haven't already. After talking to a few kiwi beach goers, we bring to you this list (in no specific order) of the best New Zealand beaches you absolutely must venture to at some point in the near future.

#1 Wainui Beach
Wainui Beach is a humble but beautiful spot in Gisborne which fittingly enough is the first place in the world to see the sunrise. Known for its golden sand and the odd wave or two it may attract a few surfers throughout the year. It’s also set on a reserve and has a number of walking tracks through the dunes that run down to the beach. 

NZ Photographer: Ellen Taylor // @ellenmarytaylor

#2 Piha Beach
This place is pretty well known as a surf town with some huge waves. It's pretty close to our biggest city too. This spot has everything, walks, waterfalls, surf, and sun! You can also climb the famous lion rock if you're feeling a little adventurous. The black sand on the shores of Piha gets extremely hot here in summer so make sure you remember your sun block.

#3 Bark Bay
Bark Bay is located right at the very top of the South Island. If you’ve ever walked the famous Able Tasman Track then you would have stopped here; one of the most scenic spots you may ever come across. The water is crystal clear with the odd stingray to be seen. And greenery is just as breathtaking. There’s no road access so you can only get here on foot or boat making Bark Bay a nice get away far from any city.

NZ Photographer: Ellen Taylor // @ellenmarytaylor

#4 Punakaiki Beach
Punakaiki is pretty well known for its seriously cool pancake rocks. They literally look like stacks of delicious grey pancakes. This spot sits on the West Coast of the South Island so the sun sets right over the ocean. The beach next door to the Pancake rocks is pretty spectacular. It is home to some very peculiar and striking rock shapes such as a headland in the shape of a boot and the round pebbles on the shore. It's a fun place to explore and the warm humid weather of the West Coast makes this a pretty magical spot. 

#5 Ninety Mile Beach
In Northland, Ninety Mile beach is known as a never ending paradise and it has pretty much everything that a beach should have. It has the waves for surfing and lots of sand..so much that it's actually considered a highway and you can drive along it! This beach is amazingly quite empty so if it’s not too windy and you're not looking for a whole lot of people to watch you swim and sunbathe then this is probably a good place. 

Photographer - Amos Chapple

#6 Aramoana Beach
Aramoana is a beautiful beach down south in Otago that is set in front of a very cute village with rustic kiwi batches. It’s also home to lots of wildlife - sometimes even sea lions. This spot is probably one of the best beaches to go for an evening stroll when the sun sets the light is incredible and it’s pretty spectacular to see the heart shaped hole in the rocky headland.

NZ Photographer: Ellen Taylor // @ellenmarytaylor

#7 Sumner Beach
More than just a beach, the Sumner village is an epic wee location that is home to a very cool surfing community. It’s about half an hours drive from Christchurch city and it’s pretty great for swimming and surfing. To the left of Cave rock you can sunbathe and enjoy the beach and to the right, you can surf. Not only that there is a nice cluster of boutique shops and small beachside bars and restaurants that will make you never want to leave.

#8 Purakanui Bay

In the heart of The Catlins coast, Purakanui provides the most exceptional summer camping spot with unreal sun rises huge looming cliffs. The trees make you feel like you're on the set of Jurassic Park and the wildlife contributes to that too. A little hard to find, this place is down a gravel road and has no cell phone reception. But if you can manage to be away from social media for a day or two it's the best camping spot to venture to with a bunch of mates.

NZ Photographer: Ellen Taylor // @ellenmarytaylor


#9 Cathedral Cove
Another beach in the North Islands’ famous Coromandel. This one is known for its breathtakingly beautiful arch naturally carved into a rock. It’s a short walk to a very romantic place. Sometimes you can even see stingrays in the shallows.

#10 Hot Water Beach

Ahh, the Coromandel. I'm sure you’ve heard of this one. Hot water beach is a magical spot that everyone should go at least once in their lifetime. YOU CAN DIG YOUR OWN HOT POOL! HOW COOL IS THAT?! Or should I say warm.. But seriously it’s unreal. Put it on your bucket list immediately. 

Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to go and visit some of these amazing beaches or maybe sparked some happy memories from your summer spent in the sun. Either way, that feeling of the salt on your skin and sand everywhere is just around the corner for your next summer beach experience.


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