Best New Zealand Seaside Escapes

Best New Zealand Seaside Escapes

Ready to hit New Zealand’s beaches? With 15,000 kilometres of coastline you won’t be short of options. Stunning beaches are one of the things New Zealand does best. The harder choice is knowing which ones to put on your itinerary. Whether you’re seeking Insta worthy sunsets, time to chill or an active adventure, there’s a beach out there for you. Many of them offer all of that in one place. Need some help to point you in the right direction? Check out our best New Zealand seaside escapes and plan your trip today.

1. Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
First things first. Ninety Mile beach is actually only around 55 miles long, but don’t let that put you off. This epic expanse of beach is one of New Zealand’s most famous, and runs from Apihara to Scott’s point. A seemingly endless stretch of sand as far as you can see. If you’re in search of jaw dropping sunsets this is a good choice. You can surf, horse ride, go blokarting, surf casting and more. Drive along the beach in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle or take a tour. For the walk up to Scott’s point, park at Te Paki Stream car park.


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2. Hot Water Beach, Waikato
This beach has its own unique attraction. You’ve guessed it – hot water. It’s not the sea itself that’s warm though. You need to visit in a 4-hour window of low tide – and come prepared. Get out your shovels and dig a hole to expose a thermal pool. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the heat and the view. The water in the pools is packed with calcium, magnesium and potassium so has great health benefits too. When the tide comes in the cold water washes away the springs until the next time.


3. Piha beach, Auckland
A wild beach on the West coast, Piha beach has black sand and is a favourite in Auckland for picnics in an untamed atmosphere. Swim in the white waters – make sure you stay within the safe zone- or sit on the hot black sand and admire the incredible surfers. Piha is one of the best known surf spots in the country.  When you tire of the sand, water and views (if that’s possible), head off on one of the walking tracks and check out the iconic landmark, Lion Rock. Piha beach is a one-hour drive from the city of Auckland.

4. Awaroa Beach, Abel Tasman National Park
Affectionately known as The People’s Beach, this has to be one of the best New Zealand seaside escapes, simply because a group of New Zealanders crowdfunded to buy it for the country from a private owner in 2016. It is one of many breath-taking beaches along the coastline of the National Park. This beach is about crystal-clear turquoise waters and an unspoilt strip of sand. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and coastal birds nest nearby.

5. Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel Peninsula
A not-so-hidden gem, Cathedral Cove is just a 10-minute drive from Hot Water beach (to the nearest parking spot), or two and a half hours from Auckland. You can only access the cove by foot or by water, so take a boat trip, kayak or hit the walking trail. If you want to avoid the crowds, we suggest an early morning visit. The gigantic stone arch is perfect for photos and there’s a natural waterfall shower to cool off in. Have a picnic breakfast on the golden sand and soak up that incredibly scenic view, then head on as the crowds start to arrive.



6. New Chums Beach, The Coromandel Peninsula
If you want to get off the beaten track and potentially visit a beach without anyone on it, then New Chums Beach is worth a try. That’s because you have a half hour climb over rocks and stones to get there once you park up at Whangapoua car park. The sea glistens in the sunlight, the sand shimmers and the quiet enchants when you arrive on this striking beach lined with native trees. If you’re lucky enough to get the beach to yourself then this is a moment in nature you won’t forget.

No matter what you’re looking for in a beach, you can find it in New Zealand. We could have added so many more to our best New Zealand seaside escapes list, but you’d be reading for hours. Sometimes the best way to discover them is simply to jump in the car, pick a coast and stop where you think looks good. Iconic well-known beaches are obviously incredible, but there’s something to be said for those hidden gems too.

Need help getting around New Zealand? Check out our car rental offers and find something to suit your plans and budget so you can get out on that water.

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