What are the Most Unique Beaches in New Zealand?
New Zealand has a hell of a lot of beaches. With over 15,000km (9,320 miles) of coastline and countless amount of beaches, it’s hard to pick the standout beaches to visit while travelling around New Zealand. To make the decision easier for you, we’ve put together this list of some of the most unique beaches in New Zealand!
Whether they are beaches where you can dig a hot pool or beaches with extremely diverse ecosystems, we have tried to add every unique beach we could think of in this list. Of course, we can’t include every beach, so take a look at 22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand for more sandy inspiration for your New Zealand bucket list!
1. Hot Water Beach
Top of our list of most unique beaches in New Zealand has to be Hot Water Beach. Hot Water Beach hides a hot spring under the sand that can be accessed at low tide. Mix this water with some cold seawater and you have the perfect temperature to lie in your very own hot pool! For more incredible natural attractions in the Coromandel take a look at this.
Location: Hot Water Beach near Hahei, Coromandel, North Island.
2. Farewell Spit
What makes Farewell Spit a truly unique beach in New Zealand is the fact that it’s the longest sand spit in New Zealand. Not only that, it’s one of the most protected areas of New Zealand. The only way to make your way down the spit is by taking a tour certified by the Department of Conservation. Farewell Spit is an ever-changing environment and home to a diverse ecosystem. That’s why we consider it one of the 19 Epic Natural Attractions in Golden Bay.
Location: Farewell Spit, Golden Bay, Nelson Tasman, South Island
3. Wharariki Beach
Just around the corner from Farewell Spit is Wharariki Beach with its unique off-shore islands, the Archway Islands. The beach has many caves, sand dunes and interesting wildlife to see including seals and oystercatchers. Check out walks to get to the beach in the 7 Best Walks at Farewell Spit.
Location: Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay, Nelson Tasman, South Island
4. Tatapouri Beach
New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to see the sunrise of the new day, particularly in the Gisborne region of the North Island. However, there are so many beaches along this stretch of coast that are well worth seeing the sunrise from. Nevertheless, we managed to narrow it down to Tatapouri Beach, not only for the sunrise but because you can feed wild stingray too.
Location: Tatapouri, Gisborne, North Island
5. Cathedral Cove
Another Coromandel beach that never fails to impress visitors is Cathedral Cove. Thanks to its white cliffs and huge archway going right over the beach, Cathedral Cove makes an awesome picture opportunity. Therefore, it has to make the list of the most unique beaches in New Zealand!
Location: Cathedral Cove, Hahei, Coromandel, North Island
6. Piha Beach
Piha Beach is awesome for a number of reasons: first of all, it’s a black sand beach only about 40 minutes away from Auckland city. Second, it’s one of the top surf spots in the country. Third, the impressive Lion’s Rock stands majestically in the middle of the beach. And finally, there are so many walks to do around the area from waterfall walks to open coastal scenery walks. Check it all out in the Waitakere Ranges – Guide for Backpackers.
Location: Piha, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, North Island
7. Ngarunui Beach
Speaking of surfing, Ngarunui Beach is often considered one of the best surf beaches in New Zealand thanks to its consistently good surf waves. There’s plenty of different brakes around the beach for beginners to pros. Find Ngarunui Beach in near the small North Island town of Raglan. Nevertheless, the are awesome beaches to surf all over New Zealand, so take a look at The Best Surf Regions in New Zealand if you are a keen surfer.
Location: Raglan, Waikato, North Island
8. That Beach at Milford Sound
Ok, so we don’t think this place has an official name, but some of the best photographs of Milford Sound come from this pebble beach at the Milford Sound waterfront. Just follow the loop walk on the Milford Sound foreshore for views like these.
Location: Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island
9. Kawhia Beach
The awkward moment when you realise that Hot Water Beach isn’t so unique. Yes, there is another hot water beach in the North Island which is a real hidden gem. Kawhia Beach is near the small coastal town of Kawhia. At low tide, walk over the sand dunes and dig your very own hot pool in the sand. Check out things to do on the road to Kawhia Beach in the 15 Free Things to Do in Waitomo.
Location: Kawhia Beach, Kawhia, Waikato, North Island
10. Ninety Mile Beach
And finally, on our list of New Zealand’s most unique beaches in Ninety Mile Beach. What makes this beach so special is that it is actually considered a highway in New Zealand. Yes, you can drive along this stretch of 88km beach (which, indeed, is only around 55 miles). However, it is recommended only with a 4WD or a tour company that actually know what they are doing.
Location: Far North, Northland, North Island