The Best Beaches in the Coromandel
Travellers looking to do some beachcombing in the North Island should seriously consider heading to the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is one of the most breathtaking coastal regions in New Zealand, with an array of sweeping white-sand beaches fringed with lush native forest or sculpted white cliffs. The best beaches for swimming, surfing and feeling the sand between your toes lies on the east coast of the Coromandel. Surf lifeguards and volunteers only operate in summer, so note that for safe swimming. With all that out of the way, let’s get to the Coromandel beaches you can’t miss!
1. New Chum Beach
There’s plenty of space for everyone on this breathtaking white sandy beach accessed by a hiking trail. The beach is good for swimming, surfing and walking. Access to the beach begins from the north end of Wangapoua Beach, crossing a stream and walking over some rocky headlands – see directions on the Department of Conservation website. From the headlands, you’ll get stunning views of the beach before making your way down through the pohutukawa forest to the sandy shores. For more walks in the area, take a look at 16 Awesome Hikes in The Coromandel.
Location: North of Whangapoua Village
2. Cathedral Cove
This beach needs no introduction, as you have probably seen photos of this picturesque beach backed with white cliffs and split by a magnificent archway. From the northern end of Hahei beach, follow a one-hour walking track along coastal cliffside before descending into Cathedral Cove.
Location: Pa Road or Grange Road, Hahei
3. Hot Water Beach
Two hours on either side of low tide, bathe in your very own hot pool at Hot Water Beach thanks to a natural hot spring that the surface. Dig a hole with spades hired from the local holiday park or general store and mix the hot spring water with the cool ocean water for a comfortable little hot pool.
Location: State Highway 23, Whenuakite
4. Whiritoa Beach
A photographer’s dream Wiritoa Beach is a picturesque beach backed with the tiny town of Whiritoa mainly made up of holiday homes and small general store. Stop here to fish, surf, swim, snorkel and, of course, soak in the scenery.
5. Cooks Beach
This beautiful crescent-shaped white sandy beach stretches approximately 3km (1.9 miles). Cooks Beach is a popular destination for boaties, swimmers, surfers and walkers.
Location: Purangi Road, Purangi
6. Hahei Beach
Before visiting Cathedral Cove, stop by this stunning beach on the edge of a marine reserve. Hahei Beach is 1.5km (0.9 miles) long and offers good swimming, boating and surfcasting. Kayaking tours to Cathedral Cove also depart here.
7. Kuaotunu Beach
Pick up an ice cream from the cafe and walk across to the beach on the shores of Kuaotunu. With 2km (1.2 miles) of sandy shores, it’s a great place for a stroll, as well as swimming and fishing. Watch out for dotterels nesting here and keep an eye on the water for dolphins swimming by.
8. Otama and Opito Bay
These two quiet white sandy beaches are a great escape from the crowds. The beach has safe swimming areas and is popular for surfcasting.
Location: Black Jacks Road, off State Highway 45 between Matarangi and Waitaia Bay
9. Whangamata Beach
Further south on the Coromandel Peninsula is the cool little town of Whangamata. The beach here spans a whopping 6km (3.7 miles) with many entry points to the beach. Find cafes, ice cream shops, stand-up paddleboard and surfboard hire, kayak hire and much more. For more inspiration on what to do here, take a look at 5 Things to Do in Whangamata.
10. Opoutere Beach
Nature-lovers, don’t miss Opoutere Beach at the entrance of the Wharekawa Harbour. The shores and sandspit at home to endangered bird species like the New Zealand dotterel. You can enjoy the beach along a 45-minute return walk across the sandspit via a boardwalk.
Location: Oputuere Road, north of Whangamata off State Highway 25
[BONUS] Pauanui Beach
Last on our list is a beach recommended by our readers! Pauanui Beach spans approximately 2km (1.2 miles) along the coast of the seaside town, Pauanui. The beach has beginner-friendly surf breaks, as well as a right-hand break for the more experienced. There’s also safe swimming on the beach, which is patrolled by coastguards in summer (make sure to swim between the flags). For a great view of the beach, do the Pauanui Trig Track, as explained in 5 Best Things to Do in Tairua & Pauanui.