New Zealand is often viewed as a winter destination, owing to Queenstown's popularity along with other hotspots in the South Island. Rightly so, however did you know that New Zealand is not a season-specific destination? We have pretty awesome summers, not as hot as Australia, but comfortable temperatures that'll have you heading to the beach for a dip! No need to pop over to Fiji folks, we are the ultimate destination in the Pacific. Here are our top picks for chilling in the sunshine!
1. Cathedral Cove
Does this really need much of an introduction? Located in the Coromandel and a set in one of the Narnia films, this is a tropical paradise. No need to go to the Pacific Islands for your beach holiday folks, with gems like this. It's approximately a 25 minute walk from the car park, and we recommend going early to get your spot as it does get busy! Make sure you're wearing your sunnies (sunglasses) and slip, slop, slap n' wrap up in plenty of sunscreen! The cave of course is the main feature, but the clear blue waters and little islands off the shore will also take your breath away.
Hahei is a laid back township and can be found just down the road from Cathedral Cove. Also surrounded by beautiful clear blue waters, it's not as popular as Cathedral Cove (due to it's international reputation), but is equally as good with the township lying up on the shore. Pohutakawa trees line the beach, outlying islands are almost swimmable and the beach is lengthy so you can have your own space. A sunbather's dream!
3. NEW CHUMS
We're sticking to the Corommandel folks! Located near the town of Whangapoua, New Chums is a hidden treasure, a wild, secluded spot of relaxation. You could end up spending the whole day here, thinking you were on the set of a 'Survivor' series. A sparkling, shimmering bay full of surprises. To get there, you'll have to walk approximately 1.5km from the northern end of Whangapoua. Be sure to check the tide times and wear appropriate footwear for the hike, but it's well worth it once you're there!
4. Hot Water Beach
A hop, skip, and a jump away from Hahei, do you want to relax in your very own spa? Hot Water gets the name for a reason folks. Chuck a spade in the boot and head on down. Make sure to get in early if you want your own space, it's very popular with travellers. This beach has natural geothermal wonders, but it makes you work for it. Put your back into it and you'll be rewarded with a relaxing day in paradise. Plus, if you like cold water, the ocean is right next to ya.
Piha has a reputation for being quite gnarly and unforgiving, there's almost always a drama. Someone stuck on the rocks, or stranded up Lions Rock... the lifeguards are always at the ready here. Not to worry though, if you stick between the flags and are with your buddies, you'll be fine! Surrounded by the bushy Waitakere Ranges in Auckland, this is a beach for those who like a bit of a rough, wavy current or a surf. Not one for sunbathers or inexperienced swimmers.
6. MOUNT MAUNGANUI
Known simply as 'The Mount' by locals, this sure is the place to be. If you're a party person, or one that likes to be in the company of others, then this is the beach for you. Quite possibly the best urban beach in the country, 'The Mount' gets the name from a tall mountain towering above the beach at the northern end. If you're a fitspo, follow the signs and head on up the summit tracks and enjoy the views from the top an cool off with a dip in the ocean afterwards!
7. 90 Mile Beach
Not really 90 miles, instead 55, whoever measured this piece of coastline ought'a be ashamed, a huge miscalculation. Although this beach is a lie, it'll never let you down. Found in the Northland Region, the views are awesome, making for the best 'gram! Look out for wild horses, go off-roading, admire the picturesque sunsets and body-board down the massive sand dunes! It's a beach to go play and get lost, a big-kids beach perhaps?
Located on the majestic Waiheke Island, you'll need to catch a ferry to explore this gem of a beach. Situated in the township of Oneroa, this beach has a lively vibe to it in summer. Take a lengthy dip and then head on up to the village to grab some dinner before calling it a day. A great spot to grab some fish n' chips wrapped in newspaper, whilst watching the waves crash ashore.
9. castlepoint beach
Located north of Wellington in the mighty Wairarapa, sits Castlepoint Beach. An awesome escape, Castlepoint Beach boasts great swimming and surfing spots as well as walking trails galore! The small beachside town is also home to a lighthouse, which sits at the northern end of the beach. If you time your visit right and head to Castlepoint in migration season, you might even be lucky enough to spot some dolphins, southern right whales and humpback whales off the shore! Get the singlet tan, surf the waves, kick a ball or float around!
10. ORIENTAL BAY
Oriental Bay rivals Mount Maunganui in terms of an urban/beach oasis. Found in Wellington, numerous restaurants and cafes line the beach with plenty to choose from and is a short stroll from the central business district. They say you can't beat Welly on a good day and they're correct! Just make sure your towels are secure as they could fly off at any moment without notice with the good ol' Welly wind!
Found just around the corner from Piha, on Auckland's rugged West Coast, this beach is home to more fierce waves, dark caves and cliff faces. A famous filming location for 'The Piano', it's a little more mysterious than its brother Piha. Well worth having a looksie when exploring the area! This beach isn't guarded so make sure to be extra wary if going for a dip.
Anchorage beach can be found on foot through the Abel Tasman National Park. Dipping pools, waterfalls, creeks and critters make for an epic adventure and a few selfies! Go off the beaten track and get lost... just make sure you have a buddy, a phone, plenty of water and a compass. Bring your snacks too! Anchorage Bay is the perfect place to set up camp and spend the day tanning, swimming or doing nothing. It'll take a few hours on foot to get to, but you will most definitely not regret it as it really is a slice of heaven!
13. Awaroa Bay
This pristine inlet was recently saved from being dug-up and developed into residential housing. Thank goodness! Taken out of privately-owned hands, it was purchased by, well, most of the New Zealand people on a crowd-funding campaign, and was then gifted to the Department of Conservation. Yet another gem in the Abel Tasman National Park, this is definitely one for the "to-see" list and is another 'grammable gem!
14. Matapouri Bay
Matapouri can be found approximately 1/1.5 hours from the city of Whangarei in Northland. A small town, it's obvious why people decided to set-up shop here! The cove is perfectly circular shaped and surrounded by many small islands. With Mermaid Pools situated just around the corner, these natural rock pools are an awesome way to spend a long summers day. Afterward, stop off in town for a big scoop of ice cream! Yum!
15. Tunnel Beach
A unique beach found in the deep South of the country in Dunners (Dunedin). At the end of the rainbow, you'll find a mystical beach surrounded by edgy cliff's and deep caves. It's sorta not really a beach as you'd be a brave soul to swim, but a magnificent sight to behold nonetheless!