Discover the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand for rest and fun.

The Most Beautiful Beaches in New Zealand.

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The Practical Guide of the Activity.

  • 1The Beaches of New Zealand.
  • 2Explore Multicolored Beaches!
  • 3Should You Take Your Swimsuit to New Zealand?
  • 4Safety Instructions to Enjoy the Beaches.
  • 5The Best Beach Sports and Activities.
  • 6The Most Beautiful Beaches of the North Island.
  • 7The Most Beautiful Beaches of the South Island.
  • 8Are the Beaches a Must-See in New Zealand?

The Beaches of New Zealand.

If you come to New Zealand to relax after a year of office work, you will not be disappointed. The sandy beaches are endless and the sea is turquoise.

The quality of the beaches is exceptional in New Zealand.

Seen in the “Piano Lesson” and in “Narnia Chronicles” at the cinema, the beaches of New Zealand are as immense as they are deserted. Fortunately, New Zealanders had the courage to resist the temptation to build hotel resorts everywhere and constructions are even forbidden in national parks.

The ideal way to enjoy the beach in New Zealand is to rent a kayak to go on an adventure. You will enjoy the beaches, having with picnic between two excursions, and you will swim in a turquoise sea sometimes accompanied by dolphins.

Kiwipal presents the ranking of the ten most beautiful beaches in New Zealand.

But before we get to the bottom of our subject, let's talk about water temperature, the recommended seasons and the safety instructions.

This article provides clear answers to the taboo questions of travel guides that hope to make you believe that water is at 30 ° C all year round!

The question of whether to swim in the north or south of the country is not as obvious as one might think. In New Zealand, water temperatures decrease as one moves down to the South Pole.

The temperature of the water varies markedly from north to south.

In reality, you should plan your trip during summer vacation (December to February) if you hope to swim with a simple swimsuit in New Zealand.. But beach activities like kayaking are possible even in winter.

A small video that shows you the most beautiful beaches in the entire Auckland region.

The Top 10 beaches in the Auckland region on the North Island.

Directed by mydestinationvideo

Surfers and divers ans will be pleased to learn that New Zealand is considered one of the best countries in the world to practice these two sports. However, I will discuss these two activities in detail in separate guides.

Explore Multicolored Beaches!

Imagine a country with thousands of kilometers of beaches of all colors (white, black, yellow, orange ...).

New Zealand has more than 15,000 km of beaches.

Passengers traveling along the coast in a car will admire deserted beaches that stretch to infinity. When the wind rises, the sea get furious and you feel very small in front of such a spectacle: welcome to the end of the world!

New Zealand has 15,000 km of beaches. If there are many seaside resorts in the North, wild nature is back the more one descends in the south. The scenery is far different from what you are used to see, and you will generally be all alone to enjoy it!

The beaches of the East Coast are covered with fine white sand, and the peaceful sea is adorned with turquoise reflections. It is the postcard's landscape that everyone dreams of seeing, with the pohutukawas in flowers and dolphins that swim nearby.

Most of New Zealand beaches are totally wild and deserted for tens of kilometers.

You will have no trouble finding the place on the beach.

In contrast, but not less spectacular, the beaches of the West Coast are distinguished by their black sand of volcanic origin.

The very rough sea makes the surfers happy. Just visit Piha's beach(from “the piano lesson”, not far from Auckland (45 min) to retrieve the atmosphere of the film.

The contrast of styles between the East Coast and the West Coast continues on the South Island.

Holidaymakers will fall in love with the lagoons to explore by kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. The sand, rich in oxide of iron, is orange and no hotel resort will spoil the landscape!

The beaches of the West Coast are deserted and strewn with pebbles. The power of the current and the debris that litter the beach are not perfect for swimming.

The beaches of the West Coast are the wildest.

Further south, the West Coast reveals its stretches of pebbles where tree trunks run aground after weeks at sea. The former Maori names of these beaches being lost in the mists of time, nothing prevents you from writing your own name in the sand! The beach will be yours, until the tide clears any tracks of your passage....

Should You Take Your Swimsuit to New Zealand?

Summer is the most enjoyable season for bathing in New Zealand, although the temperatures remain somewhat fresh off the South Island. If you want to get into the water, the ideal is to do it at the northern tip of the country or in the lakes during the hottest days.

You can swim during the summer months.

Only the months of December to February on the North Island are suitable for bathing with a simple swim suit. But the warmest days of the summer make it possible to swim also in some lakes of the South Island (especially in Queenstown).

It is customary to say that the minimum temperature for bathing is 23 ° C, but a thermometer at 27 ° C would be better for most people. These conditions are fulfilled in New Zealand, but under some conditions!

On the North Island the thermometer in the water displays 24 ° C on average in summer with peaks at 27 ° C during the sunny days. Bathing the rest of the year is only possible with a combination.

Bathing is possible in some thermal springs, provided the temperature remains pleasant. The water is sometimes so hot that you can not set foot there.

You can also swim in hot springs.

Nevertheless, the temperature of the water drops by a few degrees on the South Island. The lagoons of the Abel Tasman Park are still pleasant to swim, but bathing elsewhere in a simple swimsuit is reserved for Viking tourists. Midnight swimmers will plunge into Milford Sound, even in the winter, but I do not recommend it!

New Zealand is located in the Pacific belt of fire: hot springs are plentiful!

There are, however, exceptions related to geothermal activity. Hot Water Beach it possible to dig natural spas in the sand, and the pools of Hanmer Springs and Rotorua allow swimming even under snowflakes.

During the high season, Hot Water Beach is frequented by Auckland vacationers and it is not always possible to find a place.

Dig your spa into the sand at Hot Water Beach.

Finally, even if you do not travel in summer, I recommend you put a swimsuit in your suitcase to enjoy the heated swimming pools of the hotels.

And even if you do not put a foot in the water, you will appreciate better the beach in a swimsuit than with jeans filled with sand ...

Safety Instructions to Enjoy the Beaches.

The ozone layer above New Zealand is thinner than in Europe and you should choose a higher sunscreen index than usual to protect your skin from UV.

Beware of sunburn, because the ozone layer is fine.

The ozone layer is thinner in New Zealand than in Europe. Yiu should use a sunscreen with a higher index than usual. A sunscreen with a 50 protection will not stop you from sunbathing! It guarantees on the contrary a better tan that will fade more slowly when returning from the holidays.

More dangerous than sunburns, the sea currents can drag swimmers offshore. When it's impossible to swim in direction of the beach, in spite of any efforts, it is better to let go and try to get the attention of the rescuers instead to fight until exhaustion.

It is imperative to check the warning signs near the beaches.

You should swim only when you are not alone on the beach and when you can spot a green flag. Because a same beach can alternate zones with or without danger. This is particularly true at Hot Water Beach and Piha, two beaches yet very crowded.

Not all beaches are suitable for swimming and some can be dangerous. Even if there is no indications to forbid swimming, do not venture into the water if the beach is deserted.

Bathing is not permitted on all beaches.

Under these conditions, the surfers would be well inspired to redouble vigilance.

Asking if it is possible to swim in the nearby shops or directly to the beach lifeguards is the only responsible attitude to adopt.

If you follow these guidelines, swimming in New Zealand does not pose any particular risk. I do not mention basic precautions (avoiding for example to throw yourself in the water just after having lunch), because you already know them by heart.

Sharks are swimming off New Zealand, but they are too well fed to add you to their menu. Unlike the Australian beaches where the sharks ailerons are watched, you have nothing to fear from these fearsome predators in New Zealand.

The Best Beach Sports and Activities.

No one will blame you if you prefer lazing on the beach between two swims, but if you change your mind there is a wide variety of sports such as surfing, stand-up paddle, kitesurfing or windsurfing waiting for you.

Resting on the beach is great, but having fun is even better.

Beach activities in New Zealand are not limited to swimming and relaxing. Here is our selection of the four best water sports that you can practice or learn during your holidays.


It is not the sandy beaches that are lacking in New Zealand, and you can practice many beach activities, starting with kayaking.

New Zealand is the undisputed paradise of kayaking.

The Abel Tasman National Park offers a multitude of beaches and coves where you can swim in turquoise waters.

It is the paradise of kayaking that allows to explore the deserted beaches, and to approach the sea lions in their natural environment.

Kayaking is with hiking and cycling (mountain biking) one of the three must-do sports to practice in New Zealand.

I invite you to consult our kayak special guide to prepare your stay.

Stand Up Paddle

The standup paddle is still a very recent discipline in New Zealand, but it is becoming more and more popular and does not require much learning.

Stand-up paddle is more and more popular on the beaches.

The stand-up paddle is to be practiced by standing up on a large surfboard. A paddle allows to move to the surface of the water. The sensations are very different from those provided by the kayak!

Some falls are inevitable at first, but you will learn quickly. You could then explore national parks, like Abel Tasman where the sea is calm enough not to lose balance easily.


The conditions are optimal for kitesurfing in New Zealand on beaches or on lakes. If you are starting out, you will have to take lessons with a monitor.

Weather conditions are ideal for kitesurfing.

Kitesurfing combines paragliding, windsurfing and surfing all in a same sport. Linked to a small sail that floats in the air, kitesurfers stand on a surfboard attached to their feet.

Taken in the wind, the sail allows to surf at full speed on the surface of the water making spectacular leaps on waves.

The Kitesurf cannot be learned in one day, but the thrills are infinitely superior to those provided by a banal windsurfing! The weather in New Zealand is ideal for an initiation at sea or even on a lake.


Surfing is practiced in New Zealand on the two islands of the country and the best spots are distributed in a homogeneous way.

Surf spots are among the best in the world.

New Zealand has surf spots that have nothing to envy to those of Australia.

Most beaches have surf schools and some even guarantee to be able to teach you how to stand on a surfboard in only 3 hours!

You would be wrong not to try a new sport that could change your life.

If the topic interests you, I invite you to consult our special surf guide on Kiwipal.

The Most Beautiful Beaches of the North Island.

Sand surfing is an unexpected beach activity! You just have to rent a surfboard to descend the slopes until you reaches the sea.

Which beaches to choose in the north of New Zealand?

The south of the country may prevail for the beauty of its landscapes, but for the beaches, the balance is in favor of the North, mostly because of the water temperature which is more pleasant in summer.

Difficult to rate so many wonders! Our ranking is necessarily subjective, but all the beaches selected are essentially safe and easy to access.

Piha (Auckland)

The Piano Lesson that won the Cannes Film Festival's Golden Palm was shot on several beaches in New Zealand. Piha, the best known of them, is easily recognizable in the film.

The beach of Piha appears at the cinema in the Lesson of piano.

Easily accessible, the black sandy beach of the “piano lesson” is a 45-minute drive from Auckland. Very photogenic, the Lion Rock eroded by erosion for 16 million years seems to have been carved by giants.

New Zealand's most famous beach was even the main filming location of a Kiwi version of Baywatch on local TV.

Warning: this huge beach that delights surfers is also famous for its strong currents. You should swim only in monitored parts of the beach.

Mount Maunganui's Ocean Beach

Climb the summit of Mount Maunganui of Tauranga to admire a spectacular panorama over 360 ° and you can also admire the people who take off in paragliding.

The beach of Tauranga seen from the volcano Maunganui.

The seaside resort of Tauranga is an hour's drive from Rotorua.

The Maunganui Beach takes its name from the extinct volcano, and I recommend the easy hike that climbs to the summit in just 30 minutes.

White fine sand, turquoise water (when the weather is nice) and powerful waves appreciated by surfers.

Pohutukawas with red flowers contribute making this beach a little paradise where you can swim in summer. This is my favorite beach of the North Island.

Cathedral Cove

Erosion eroded the limestone rock gradually for thousands of years to give rise to a vault that allows passage from one beach to another.

The incredible limestone arch of Cathedral Cove Beach.

The beach of Cathedral Cove is a pure jewel that can be admired in the second part of the “Narnia” trilogy.

An arch of limestone and fascinating rocks emerge from the crystalline water that sparkles in the sun.

You can reach the beach at the end of a beautiful forest hike, or by kayak along the limestone cliffs that glow under the rays of the sun.

Swimming is possible during summer-time, but you should come quite early in the morning or stay late if you want to admire blue penguins and avoid the crowd of tourists.

The nearby beaches are also popular among scuba diving fans.

Hot Water Beach

To enjoy a natural spa excavated in the sand of the beach, it is necessary to come at low tide! The thermal spring that runs under the beach is not always accessible.

A hot spring at 64° C warms the sand at Hot Water Beach.

Of ordinary appearance, Hot Water Beach has a secret that makes it unique in the world.

The magma which flows a few hundred meters under the beach heats a thermal spring whose water at 65 ° C rises to the surface.

Whatever the season, a shovel is all you need to dig a natural spa in the sand.

However, you should plan your visit according to the tides and arrive as early as possible to avoid Auckland holidaymakers.

It is possible to go swimming at Hot Water Beach, respecting the reserved areas.

Ninety-Mile Beach

The 90 mile beach is a long beach of Northland on which vehicles are allowed to drive to reach Cape Reinga. Do not forget that most rental agencies do not allow this practice because many vehicles have found themselves sanded and trapped by the rising tide.

The Ninety-mile beach extends over tens of kilometers.

Best itinerary to reach the Cape Reinga, this endless beach can be followed by car!

Deserted from end to end, the Ninety-mile beach leads to the giant dunes of Te Paki that you can descend on a surfboard!

Wrecks of rusty vehicles trapped by tides are a warning that you should not neglect.

If you wish to drive on the beach with your vehicle, you should preferably have an SUV or a 4x4 and the appropriate insurance.

You can slide on the giant sand dunes thanks to a surfboard, but you need to have a certain amount of courage!

Discover the surf of the sands on the giant dunes of Te Paki in the north of the country.

A report by devinsupertramp

One does not bathe on this beach on the west coast where currents are too dangerous.

The Most Beautiful Beaches of the South Island.

Bathing is difficult in southern New Zealand because the temperature of the water drops below 20 degrees Celsius. Surfers will wear a combination.

The water is cooler in the south, but the beaches are beautiful.

The cooler waters of the South Island allow swimming without any combination only during the hottest days of the year. But the beauty of the landscapes is exceptional and some curiosities justify the visit.

Kaiteriteri Beach

Abel Tasman Park is New Zealand's sunniest national park, and its orange-colored sandy beaches attract vacationers from around the world.

Abel Tasman Park has the sunniest beach in the country.

A true paradise on earth, Abel Tasman is the sunniest national park in New Zealand. The orange color of the beach comes from the iron oxide present in the sand. In fine weather, the turquoise lagoons compete with the flagship destinations of the Pacific.

If you can swim in summer, you will mostly enjoy the park by kayak. Many water taxi companies establish the connection between the most beautiful beaches of the park and the transportation of kayaks is usually included in the service.

I chose Kaiteriteri, but I could just have easily chosen any others of the countless beaches of the park.

Wharariki Beach

Farewell Spit is a long sandy tongue at the northern tip of the South Island. A 2-hour hike takes you to Wharariki Beach.

The rock formations of Wharariki Beach.

Located on the northern tip of the South Island, this beach is not the most accessible in the country, but it is one of the most remarkable.

It rewards travelers who face a four-hour hike after a long gravel road by car.

The huge rocks, the giant waves and the wind blowing strongly do not make it an ideal beach for farniente, but the photographers will be under the spell. If you have the means and the time, it is recommended riding along this beach of 26 km on horseback.

Moeraki Beach

These curious round rocks would have formed for millions of years at the time when New Zealand was buried under the ocean. But you are free to imagine another more original explanation ...

The famous boulders of the Moeraki Beach.

The beach itself offers few attractions, and one does not come here to swim. The main reason for the visit is to contemplate the Moeraki Boulders. The origin of these spherical rocks about one meter in diameter remains uncertain. Some people imagine dinosaur eggs fossilized, but scientists opt for geological formations of several million years. The beach is only a 45-minute drive from Dunedin.

Visit the Moeraki Beach at low tide when the boulders are not yet hidden by the waves.

Tunnel Beach

This beach is accessible only thanks to a long tunnel dug in limestone rock with dynamite a hundred years ago. Sometimes sea-lions are found there and occasionally whale bones can be collected.

The access to Tunnel Beach was dug in the rock by dynamite.

This small beach that you will often have to share with sea lions is a 15-minute drive from Dunedin.

The hike to the beach cuts across the fields, and goes down constantly (of course, bear in mind that the return will necessarily be harder).

Before putting your feet in the sand, you will have to borrow a long tunnel dug in the rock with dynamite!

The spectacle of limestone cliffs carved by erosion is spectacular at dawn when the sun makes the rock blush.

Tunnel Beach is only accessible at low tide.

Allans Beach

Allans beach is a renowned surfer beach close to Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. Even if you do not surf, the landscape deserves a visit!

Allans beach is a beach popular among surfers.

At twenty-two kilometers from Dunedin, this white sandy beach is surrounded by verdant hills. The ocean appears dark green or turquoise depending on the weather.

Allans beach is above all a beach of surfers, but observatories allow to admire the fur seals and the yellow-eyed penguins who come to bathe.

Are the Beaches a Must-See in New Zealand?

New Zealand's beaches are diverse and varied, with white sand on the west coast and volcanic black sand on the east coast. When the sea takes turquoise reflections, the panoramas are breathtaking.

The Beaches all alone justify a trip to New Zealand.

Some people opt for a honeymoon in Australia because they believe that New Zealand is deprived of beaches. The fault no doubt lies in advertising campaigns focused on the mountain landscapes of the “Lord of the Rings” and the “Hobbit”.

With its geothermal activity, and its dreams beaches of every color, New Zealand does far more than just defending itself against Australia. I hope to have given you the desire to practice a beach activity during your stay. You need farniente for sure, but you should as well book a kayak excursion in the Abel Tasman Park!

The surf instructors claim that three hours are enough to stand on a board, but they do not tell you how long ... It will take several lessons to start standing.

Take a surf lesson and stand on the surfboard in 3 hours.

A word about surfing in New Zealand before concluding! The subject is so vast that I preferred to fly over the question, but surfing has its very own special surf guide on Kiwipal. The same is true for fishing, which is very popular in New Zealand, but concerning only a minority of travelers.

The country fans might regret the absence of some beautiful beaches in the Kiwipal rating. But with 15,000 km of coastline, it was necessary to choose, and I have selected beaches which matches with the itineraries of Kiwipal and which one can easily reach without detours.

If you are visiting the North Island, do not forget your swimsuit and a beach towel so you can swim where the water is warm enough, like in Tauranga for example.

Do not forget to bring your towel and swimsuit!

I leave nevertheless to our friend Ben the care to give you the list of the ten beaches which have not been retained in the rating, despite their exceptional beauty.

Do not forget your sunscreen and your camera, two essential accessories to enjoy the beaches of New Zealand.

William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? No one can claim to know all the beaches of the country, but I have discovered many wonders over time. If you have any questions, I'm listening to you!

Ask a question to Ben

  • All topics ... 2 answers in total
  • Beaches 1 answer
  • Kitesurf 1 answer


  • What are the most beautiful deserted beaches in the country?

    To the beaches already listed in the article of Guillaume, we must add those that have not been selected in the list (always with regrets): Onetangi Bay, Karikari Peninsula Beaches, Tokerau Beach, Coopers Beach, Karekare Beach, Gillespies Beach, Manu Bay, Wainui Beach, New Chums Beach, Koekohe Beach I suggest taking lessons at Nelson with an instructor from this excellent school:


  • Which Kitesurf school do you recommend?

    I suggest taking lessons at Nelson with an instructor from this excellent school:Nelson Kitesurf

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

The beaches of New Zealand are beautiful and mostly deserted (to the delight of photographers).

The comparison with Australia does not make much sense, because the two countries are distant of 2000 km! But do not worry, you can swim in summer!

And if the water is not warm enough for you, you just have to swim in hot springs that are accessible even in winter under the snow.

william Ask me a question

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Guillaume picture in the mountains

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