Andrew Lynch on Flickr© Andrew Lynch on Flickr
Andrew Lynch on Flickr

10 Best Beaches in Whangarei

© Andrew Lynch on Flickr

The Whangarei Beaches You Can’t Miss

If you are a complete and utter beach bum then Whangarei is an amazing place to be. The city is surrounded by magnificent beaches from the long sweeping beaches of Bream Bay in the south all the way to the hidden coves and inlets of the northern Tutukaka Coast. While there are around 20 beach destinations in the Whangarei area, we’ve picked out some of the best beaches in Whangarei right here!

This list of Whangarei beaches has something for everyone, from surf beaches to picturesque beaches to safe swimming beaches for families. The more popular beaches in Whangarei has lifeguards patrolling in summer, indicating where is safest to swim. Summer in New Zealand is between December and February. Find out more about the seasons in The New Zealand Seasons and Climate.

1. Langs Beach

Bream Bay, just south of Whangarei, is the ideal beach destination! One of the most picturesque beaches in Bream Bay is Langs Beach, fringed with pohutukawa trees and rocky headlands. Either surf or relax and enjoy the views of the offshore islands. If you want to spend more time beachcombing, seeing waterfalls and even caves, then check out more things to do in Bream Bay here.

Location: 45 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Cove Road.

Pxhere© Pxhere

2. Ocean Beach

With a 5km (3 miles) stretch of golden sandy beach backed with sand dunes and bashed by fun waves, Ocean Beach is definitely a Whangarei beach you’ll want to hit in the summer! It’s a popular surf spot and has lifeguards on patrol in summer for safer swimming. Whether you like to play in the waves or take a long stroll on the sand, Ocean Beach is a winner for everyone. Find this awesome beach in the Whangarei Heads area. For more beaches and some hikes in the area, check out 12 Fantastic Things to Do at Whangarei Heads.

Location: 45 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Take Whangarei Heads Road onto Ocean Beach Road.

russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr

3. Ngunguru Beach

One of the closest beaches to Whangarei city, Ngunguru has beaches along a sheltered estuary backed by the village with cafes and shops. It’s possible to surf at Ngunguru sometimes when the conditions are good. Ngunguru also marks the southern end of the Tutukaka Coast, packed with walks, beaches and more adventures. Check out what you can do along the Tutukaka Coast here.

Location: 25 minutes from Whangarei city. Ngunguru Road.

Phillip Capper on Flickr© Phillip Capper on Flickr

4. Pataua North and Pataua South

Get off the beaten track and explore these hidden gems of the Whangarei Heads! Pataua North is a long sweeping beach that is a fantastic surf spot. Pataua South has a sheltered estuary on one side of a long footbridge and an ocean-side beach on the other.

Location: 40 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Pataua South is on the Pataua South Road on the Whangarei Heads. Access to Pataua North is on the Pataua South Road then Whareora Road.

Andrew Lynch on Flickr© Andrew Lynch on Flickr

5. Ruakaka Beach

With 13km (8 miles) of sandy beach to enjoy, Ruakaka is definitely one of the top beaches in Whangarei! What’s more, it’s only 30 minutes drive away from the city! See vibrant blue waters off the coast on this beautiful surf and swimming beach. The beach is best seen at sunrise or sunset! Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer.

Location: 30 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Ruakaka Beach Road.

IIP Photo Archive on Flickr© IIP Photo Archive on Flickr

6. Waipu Cove

Another stunner along Bream Bay is Waipu Cove. Get the full Kiwi seaside experience with shops and cafes to grab an ice cream. The beach is ideal for swimming with lifeguards patrolling in summer. See more activities in the area in the 10 Brilliant Things to Do in Waipu & Bream Bay.

Location: 40 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Cove Road.

Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr© Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr

7. Whale Bay

With no road access, this beach on the Tutukaka Coast is free from road noise making it a little piece of secluded paradise! There are a couple of walks to get to this tree-lined bay, the shortest being a 10-minute walk. Alternatively, you can walk from Matapuri Bay (see below).

Location: 40 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Signposted off Matapouri Road at the roadside car park.

Jason Milich on Flickr© Jason Milich on Flickr

8. Matapouri Bay

This stunning and calm beach on the Tutukaka Coast is cradled by two headlands making it a safe swimming beach for the whole family. There are also walks to the neighbouring Whale Bay (see above) at both ends of the beach.

Location: 40 minutes drive from Whangarei. Matapouri Road.

pxhere© pxhere

9. Sandy Bay

If surf is what you live for then don’t miss Sandy Bay! This beach on the Tutukaka Coast is the best surf beach in the whole Whangarei area. Hire a surfboard from the nearby Tutukaka town and you even have the option to do some beach horse trekking with nearby operators.

Location: 55 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Matapouri Road.

Pixabay© Pixabay

10. Whananaki Estuary

For something a little different, explore the mangrove forests and the unique ecosystem of the Whananaki Estuary. What’s more, the estuary has the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere going right across it!

Location: 45 minutes drive from Whangarei city. Take the Matapouri Road until it reaches the Marua Road. Turn left then right onto Jubilee Road until it meets the Whananaki North Road. Turn right and follow the road all the way to the coast.

Phillip Capper on Flickr© Phillip Capper on Flickr


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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