Sandy Scenery in the Hawke’s Bay Region
Every good bay has to have some mighty fine beaches, right? Hawke’s Bay is no exception! The region in the North Island might be more famous for its steep coastal cliffs and resident gannet colony, but it has a generous choice of white sand beaches for walking, jogging, swimming or whatever you choose to do at the beach. You’ll even find some surf on a good swell day.
Enjoy a beach to relax on in the city of Napier or make a day trip to the more remote beaches, which require a long but worthwhile gravel road journey.
So when travelling through or working in Hawke’s Bay, make sure you tick these beautiful beaches off your list!
1. Mahia Peninsula
Known by locals for its great surf, the Mahia Peninsula is home to many small beaches hidden between sand dunes and rocky formations. The latter provides a great background to the white stretches of sand. Most of the beaches in the area are safe to swim at. It will be rare to have to share the beach with anyone else as the peninsula truly off the beaten track. Don’t miss these 11 Mahia Peninsula Must-Dos.
Location: Between Napier and Gisborne.
2. Waipatiki Beach
The small settlement is nestled in a valley near the Hasting’s coast. Almost unknown to travellers, this is a vacation spot for locals in the district. The wide stretch of golden sand that creates Waipatiki Beach is surrounded by native bush. The nearest facility is the Waipatiki Holiday Park.
Location: In Tangoio, follow Waipatiki Road.
3. Tangoio Beach
Smaller and less populated than the bigger beach in the area, Tangoio Beach is truly what can be called “a hidden gem”. With nearby forest walks and waterfalls, Tangoio Beach has something for everyone. Seabirds are present all year long to provide endless entertainment.
Location: 20-minute drive north of Napier. From Tangoio, take Beach Road.
4. Westshore Beach
The Westshore Beach Reserve is shielded from Napier city and yet just a short bridge away from the centre. With a large grass park dotted with trees and shrubs, the vast area is a great picnic spot to spend an afternoon in. For the surf addict, the beach provides some decent waves when there’s a good swell.
Location: Westshore, northern Napier suburb.
5. Ocean Beach
Almost untouched, the beach is probably the most popular surf spot in the area. With no facilities but a parking area, the beach instantly feels like a lost world. Although in summer, it becomes more popular enough to bring in the lifeguards.
Location: 19.5km (12 miles) southeast from Havelock North. Take Te Mata Road then turn right onWaimarama Road, then onto Ocean Beach Road.
6. Waimarama Beach
Located next to Ocean Beach, Waimarama is easy to walk to in around 4 hours when the tide is low. The long stretching beach is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon or early morning with its stunning sunrise. When in the area, consider visiting the Hakikino Maori site where a fortress used to stand to protect the local settlement.
Location: 27km (17 miles) southeast of Havelock North. Take Te Mata Road then turn right on Waimarama Road and continue onto Waimarama.
7. Central Hawke’s Bay Coast
Featuring a series of beaches such as Blackhead Beach, Kairakau Beach, Mangakuri Beach and Pourerere Beach, the central Hawke’s Bay Coast is a vast area expanding along the ocean in a series of large beaches. Each of these beaches is about 45 minutes away from the main road (State Highway 2) so be prepared for quite the adventure getting there!
Location: All beaches can be accessed off State Highway 2. For Pourerere Beach, turn onto Tamumu Road then Pourerere Road. For Blackhead Beach, from Pourerere Road take Long Range Road. For Kairakau and Mangakuri Beaches, from Pourerere Road take River Road, Elsthorpe Road then Kairakau Road.
8. Te Angiangi Marine Reserve
The marine reserve is a thriving wildlife area. From a wide range of fish to a huge wild bird selection, you will see nature at its best. Want to see more? Wander over the rock pools to uncover octopuses, crayfish or anemones. Make sure to replace moved rocks to their original position to not disturb the local wildlife too much.
Location: Between Aramoana and Blackhead.
9. Freedom Camping Beaches
Many travellers are drawn to freedom camping for both budget and spiritual reasons. It is one of the best ways to connect with nature and truly be part of the New Zealand wilderness. For this reason, we decided to finish this list with our favourite three beaches for freedom camping in Hawke’s Bay: Kairakau, Pourerere and Porangahau! Learn more about freedom camping in our Freedom Camping Rules in New Zealand: Region by Region.
Location: All over Hawke’s Bay’s coast.