22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© Unsplash
22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand

© Unsplash
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
NZ Pocket Guide is 10 years old. Thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade!

The Most Beautiful Beaches in New Zealand

With around 15,000km (9,320 miles) of coastline, it was hard to know when to end this list of New Zealand’s stunning beaches. Many beaches are known for their surf breaks, rock formations or for simply being pristine. You are spoiled for choice of sandy beaches in Abel Tasman, Stewart Island and the Bay of Islands, while regions like Hawke’s Bay, Fiordland and Auckland have some real hidden gems.

We try to cover all types of beaches on this list with tree-lined beaches, warm swimming beaches, rugged beaches, surf beaches and more. Everyone has a favourite beach in New Zealand so share yours with us on one of our social media channels! So without further ado, here are what we consider some of New Zealand’s most stunning beaches!

1. Cathedral Cove

Topping our list of the most stunning New Zealand beaches is Cathedral Cove. Let’s start with the beach that features of every brochure, every Instagram feed, everything you can think of to do with New Zealand landscapes. Cathedral Cove features in The Chronicles of Narnia plus other multiple music videos. The beautiful rock formations can be explored by kayak or simply walked to from the Pa Road car park (turn right just after entering Hahei).

Location: Coromandel, North Island

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© Pixabay

2. Ninety Mile Beach

Not actually 90 miles… more like 55 miles, Ninety Mile Beach has a lot to offer considering its size. First and foremost, this stretch of beach is used for driving on, as it’s actually a registered highway. Second, there are some awesome locations for sand dune boarding, most popularly at Te Paki Stream. Most travellers access Ninety Mile Beach through bus tours, by staying in Ahipara or via the Te Paki Coastal Track.

Location: Northland, North Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Mission Bay

Mission Bay is one of the closest beaches to Auckland Central. Either walk or take the bus to Mission Bay and enjoy the water features, barbecues and proximity to bars and restaurants after a long day bathing like a boss. Plus, this beach has a killer view of Rangitoto Island.

Location: Auckland, North Island

Pixabay© Pixabay

4. Medlands Beach

When talking about New Zealand beaches, it’s hard to avoid the Abel Tasman National park. Ok, it’s hard to pick out standout beaches in the Abel Tasman National Park – a national park famous for its golden sand beaches backed with native forest. One of the many mind-blowing beaches in the Abel Tasman National Park is Medlands Beach. It’s small yet often secluded making it a perfect spot for lunch when kayaking or doing the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.

Location: Abel Tasman, South Island

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Awaroa Inlet

Another Abel Tasman classic, Awaroa Inlet is a series of beaches that change with the tide. If you are doing the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, be sure to cross the Awaroa Inlet at low tide. Otherwise, water taxis are available (mostly in summer) to take you across the water.

Location: Abel Tasman, South Island

Brian Ralphs on Flickr© Brian Ralphs on Flickr

6. Sandfly Bay

And another Abel Tasman beach… This one is another accessed by water taxi or the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Water taxis into Abel Tasman National Park operate from Kaiteriteri and Marahau. Its unspoiled beauty makes Sandfly Bay one of the most stunning New Zealand beaches.

Location: Abel Tasman, South Island

Andrea Schaffer on Flickr© Andrea Schaffer on Flickr

7. Torrent Bay

This long-stretching beach in the, you guessed it, Abel Tasman National Park is a warm swimming spot and popular drop-off point for water taxis in the Abel Tasman National Park. Find out more about exploring this national park in the 6 Must-Dos in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Location: Abel Tasman, South Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

8. Bark Bay

… Ok, one more. We swear this is the last one we will mention in the Abel Tasman National Park. Bark Bay is particularly epic as it has a campsite and Great Walk Hut at the back of the beach. Imagine waking up to a sunrise on this beautiful New Zealand beach.

Location: Abel Tasman, South Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Onetangi Beach

Waiheke Island is home to many beautiful beaches. What’s more, it’s just a quick ferry journey from Auckland. Once you arrive at the ferry building in Waiheke, take the bus or hire a bike to reach Onetangi Beach in, well, Onetangi.

Location: Waiheke Island, North Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Piha Beach

With rugged coastal cliffs, “Lions Rock” and black sand, Piha Beach is a favourite with local Aucklanders. It’s also a super popular surf spot, but there are dangerous rips so if you’re new to surfing be sure to go out with an instructor. With all that in mind, Piha Beach is one of the most frequented beaches in New Zealand.

Location: West Auckland, North Island

Pixabay© Pixabay

11. Hot Water Beach

What makes Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel so awesome is in the name: dig your own hot water pool! Yes, at low tide, a section of the beach becomes exposed where a hot water spring runs under the sand. Dig up the sand and find the hot water beneath. The best way to describe where the spot is is to take walkway from the Top 10 Holiday Park, turn left when on the beach, then dig between the small rocky island and the rocky cliff on the beach. Or just dig where everyone else is digging…

Location: Coromandel, North Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

12. Ngarunui Beach

Raglan (and New Zealand’s) most popular surf spot is Ngarunui Beach. It’s the surf capital of New Zealand with consistent waves. Find out where the best breaks are in 10 Places to Surf on the North Island.

Location: Raglan, North Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

13. Waimarama Beach

Enjoy warm swimming with a deep low tide at Waimarama Beach. Waimarama Beach is one of the many hidden gems of Hawke’s Bay. There are some many good beaches in this North Island region that we put together this whole other list of 10 Beautiful Beaches in Hawke’s Bay.

Location: Hawke’s Bay, North Island

Brian Taylor on Flickr© Brian Taylor on Flickr

14. Matai Bay

Considered one of New Zealand’s jewels, Matai Bay is hidden on the Karikari Peninsula in the Northland region. Relax in warm swimming waters in this sheltered bay perfect for any true beach bum. This white sand beach is a local’s favourite and in fact, if you ask around Kerikeri and Paihia, it is the “best beach in New Zealand”.

Location: Northland, North Island

itravelNZ on Flickr© itravelNZ on Flickr

15. Okiwi Bay

Swap sandy beaches for pebbly beaches at Okiwi Bay which is a super popular destination during the Kiwi holidays, but otherwise, it’s a quiet and isolated bay for the rest of the year. Kayak to the dramatic coastal cliffs, walk the Goat Hill Track or follow the road to French Pass for one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.

Location: Okiwi Bay, Marlborough, South Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

16. Dead Man Beach

Don’t be put off by the name. This is one of many beautiful beaches within walking distance of Oban on Stewart Island. Take the eastern coastal track and follow for about 2 hours to reach this usually deserted beach. More info can be found on 10 Free or Cheap Things to do in Stewart Island.

Location: Stewart Island

© NZPocketGuide.com

17. Bathing Beach

Exactly what it says on the tin. This is one of the quiet beaches just minutes away from Stewart Island’s only town, Oban. Just walk over the hill on the east side of town and tah-dah!

Location: Stewart Island

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

18. Ohope Beach

The locals will kill us for telling you about this place, but Ohope Beach is one of the most popular beaches for a Kiwi holiday. The ridiculously long beach has many beachfront accommodations to choose from, so if you fancy yourself as a flashpacker, then this is your place.

Location: Bay of Plenty, North Island

Pixabay© Pixabay

19. Moeraki Beach

This beach is famous for one thing and one thing only, the Moeraki Boulders. The perfectly spherical boulders are best seen at low tide. Plus, there are loads of cracked and open boulders to make for some pretty interesting photos. Find Moeraki Beach between Dunedin and Oamaru on the South Island. Find out more about visiting this beach in The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Moeraki Boulders.

Location: Moeraki, South Island

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com

20. Wharariki Beach

More stunning scenery attributed to rock formations, Wharariki Beach is often seen as among some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Arguably, it is also one of the windiest, so it’s best to come here for the scenery rather than the bathing. Access is via a 20-minute farm track at the end of Wharariki Road.

Location: Golden Bay, South Island

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© Cape Farewell Horse Treks - www.nelsontasman.nz

21. Mt Maunganui Beach

The main beach of this seaside resort town of the same name. Find out more in The Complete Guide to Tauranga.

Location: Tauranga, North Island

22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand© Unsplash

22. Wainui Beach

Popular amongst surfers, Wainui Beach is surrounded by reserves and protected land which makes it a must-stop in the Gisborne area.

Location: Gisborne, North Island

© Imgur

If New Zealand’s Beautiful Landscapes Appeal to You…

… perhaps you should feast your eyes on these articles:


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

Was this article useful?