Life’s a beach in New Zealand
The weather’s getting warmer and the days are getting longer, which means all over New Zealand locals and tourists alike are starting to hit the beach.
There are plenty of award winning beachy holiday attractions to choose from all over the country – and thanks to our relatively balmy weather you don’t need to wait until summer to visit. New Zealand is home to more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline, not to mention the lakes that are sprinkled throughout the North and South Islands, so wherever you happen to be it’s not too hard to enjoy a paddle – or a full-blown dip if you’re brave enough – whatever the season.
If you’re just traveling to the Shaky Isles this summer, though, it can be tricky to find a quiet safe beach that’s not overrun by humans. Want to be let in on a secret? Some of the best holiday attractions in New Zealand are the ones that are off the beaten track. Want to be let in on another secret? Here are New Zealand’s top five best secret beaches (shhhhhhh …). Be warned though: some of these secrets spots require a bit of forward thinking when it comes to travel.
New Chums Beach
The award winning Coromandel is famed far and wide for its clean and green outdoors and pristine beaches, and during summer it’s one of the most popular holiday attractions in the country. Everyone’s heard about the Coromandel’s major beaches, like Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, but you might not have heard about New Chums Beach.
New Chums Beach epitomises the quintessential Kiwi summer. Home to golden sand, pohutukawa trees, native forest and safe swimming for the whole family, New Chums Beach is only accessible by foot. Once you make it to the carpark, a 30-minute stroll across the estuary, over rocks, through bushland and around the coastline is what it takes to get to this stunning scenic spot. The effort is well worth it though. If you’re into hunting and gathering, New Chums Beach is home to great fishing and shellfish. If you’d rather do nothing, there’s plenty of room to soak up the rays.
Tapotupotu Bay, Cape Reinga
If you really want to travel off the beaten track, a drive to Tapotupotu Bay in the Far North is a must. Just five minutes’ drive from Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northernmost point, Tapotupotu Bay features white sand, green headlands and crystal clear sea. Keen to do more than just picnic? Book a few nights at the Department of Conservation campsite and become one with nature for a day or two. This hidden gem also offers great surfing, fishing and hiking, and if you’d rather swim in more settled water there’s a lagoon nearby for swimming and kayaking. To get there, head north – and keep driving north. Tapotupotu Bay is about 90 minutes’ north of Kaitaia.
Tawhitokino Beach, South-East Auckland
If you’re looking for total seclusion not far from civilisation this summer, a hike to Tawhitokino Beach might be right up your alley. Located north of the Firth of Thames, Tawhitokino is halfway between Ohere and Papanui townships, and is only accessible by boat, kayak or foot. Allow one hour to walk the track, and make sure you time your walk to coincide with low tide because you will be walking through several other beaches and over rocks to get there (leave the baby buggy at home). Once you’ve arrived, you’ll enjoy safe swimming from a beautiful stretch of white sand.
Anapai Beach, Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for being one of the most stunning spots in New Zealand, so it should definitely be on your must-visit list too. One reason is the remote Anapai Beach and adjacent campsite, located on the Waiharakeke to Whariwharangi section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. To get there, you either need to walk the Abel Tasman track which could take three to five days depending on how eager you are, or boat or kayak into this pristine bay. Mutton Bay, one of the Abel Tasman’s most famous beaches, isn’t far from here. Again, Mutton Bay can only be accessed via foot, boat or kayak, although if walking the track isn’t up your alley, you can hire a water taxi.
Awanah, Great Barrier Island
Surfing and summer go hand in hand, especially in New Zealand, so if you regard yourself as a bit of a surfer, Awanah Beach on Great Barrier Island (not to be confused with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or Little Barrier Island which is nearby the Greater version) is a must-see. An isolated yet picturesque spot in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island is well-known for its camping, fishing and other water sports. Ferries depart from Auckland to Great Barrier Island regularly; allow for about three hours. If you’d like more time surfing than getting there, you can also fly to the Barrier.