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The 9 Best New Zealand Beaches for a Blissful Getaway

What are the most gorgeous, relaxing and best New Zealand beaches, that aren’t the same old ones? Let’s dive in!

You know about the ‘main’ best New Zealand beaches everyone typically talks and writes about, like Piha, Moeraki Boulders, and Ninety Mile Beach, etc., but we are an island nation, which means there are literally thousands of beaches in New Zealand. Most of them are totally idyllic and completely untouched. So we are introducing you to the lesser-known, actual best New Zealand beaches that will blow your mind. They’re easily some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Imagine your next Pilates session on a tranquil beach with crystal-clear waters here in NZ.

1. Te Pukatea Bay, Tasman

Te Pukatea Bay is one of so many unreal beaches in the complete paradise of Abel Tasman National Park. However, this is our favourite beach in this national park because it is a lovely little arc like a rainbow, surrounded by native bush and secluded, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful afternoon taking in its beauty and tranquillity. 

    2. Oke Bay, Bay of Islands

    The smallest of our beaches, Oke Bay, is super small but world-class. That’s why it’s on our list. Make your way down a set of steep steps, and you’ll be greeted with what feels like the world smiling at you. Known for its incredible swimming, snorkeling, diving, and fishing, Oke Bay is lovely. When it is high tide, the beach gets extra little, so it’s best to go either side of that. Otherwise, pack your togs, towel, snorkel, and book. In the words of Johnny Nash, “It’s gonna be a bright, sunshiny day.”

      Stunning Oke Bay Blue-Green water, surrounded by NZ native bush

      3. Sandy Bay, Tutukaka Coast, Whangarei 

      Sandy Bay provides the ultimate in classically epic beaches. Pristine waters, a white, warm, sandy beach to massage your overworked feet, the blue of the water is met by the green of the surrounding flora, making it super easy on the eye (and brain). It’s hidden away by native bush and little rock outcrops to play and explore. Known as the surf people can always rely on, there’s usually a surfer or two making the most of the waves. It also looks directly out to Poor Knights Islands – which offers some of Aotearoa’s most incredible diving.

        4. Bathing Beach, Stewart Island

        Perfection? Gotta be close. Bathing Beach is immediately surrounded by awe-worthy native bush, providing an amazing experience of tranquility and serenity. Waves gently lap, native birdsong fills the air, and there are spectacular views out to Halfmoon Bay. Bathing Beach is only a short walk from Stewart Island’s main hub, Oban, and when it is low tide, you can walk the full length of the beach around the rocky headland. Bathing Beach is sheltered, perfect for a refreshing dip to awaken the senses.

        (Photo credit – Great South)

          5. Maitai Bay, Karikari

          Sea, sand, sun (plus swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and feeling kinda smug*) – Maitai is a pure little gem at the far end of the Karikari Peninsula. The waters here twinkle and glisten; they’re SO inviting, and I’m sure I felt all my troubles melt into the water (haha!). Seriously though, Maitai Bay gets top marks.

          *Completely stoked with your decision to visit Maitai Bay

             

            6. Brighton Beach, Dunedin

            Reasons to LOVE Brighton Beach in Dunedin:

            • Large, flat, white sandy beach, excellent for privacy, little ones, and a few sports games alike.
            • Has a little ‘island’ to wade through the water to and explore.
            • Has several other coves with tiny, immaculate beaches, surrounded by native bush which penguins nest in, AND theres almost never anyone else there.
            • Safe swimming with lifeguards.
            • Fantastic rock hopping.
            • A playground and reserve immediately adjacent.
            • So very picturesque.
            • Few people.

            Photo credit Dunedin NZ

              7. Momorangi Bay, Marlborough Sounds

              Momorangi Bay is one of many in the brilliant Queen Charlotte Sound of the Marlborough Sounds. While small, it has a lovely little beach with the backdrop of the Sounds’ gently undulating, native-bush-coated hills and the calm blue waters meeting them. It’s stunning. The waters are warm and safe for swimming, with a low and slow gradient. If you’re visiting in the height of summer, Momorangi can be popular, so I can recommend the next bay over, Ngakuta Bay, which is very similar but may have a few boats launching or returning.

              Photo credit Destination Marlborough and Roady

                8. Hahei Beach, Coromandel

                Hahei Beach is a wonderful treat. The unbelievably gorgeous waters of this place are the Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve, protecting reefs and an array of plant life and sea creatures. The beach is surrounded by volcanic cliffs, which are full of caves and little islands just offshore. In Aotearoa New Zealand, you could argue that the only beaches worth being in the running for NZ’s best beach, are ones with a rope or tyre swing. Well, at Hahei, she’s got it all.
                Exploring here is really fun, exciting your curiosity and reawakening the fun and adventurous little child, still in your heart. 

                  9. Ōakura, Taranaki

                  If you’re after a relaxed day at the beach, head to Ōakura Beach. The beach itself backs onto a green space with large Pōhutukawa and picnic tables, for a peaceful space and happy day out in the sun. Quaint and creative would be a great description of this friendly little town, which is full of craftsmen and craftswomen, be sure to check out their studios while you’re in town.

                  There you have it, folks. Nine incredible locations to soothe, soak, relax, and rejuvenate.

                  If you’re ever unsure about entering the water anywhere in NZ, check out this website https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/swimming/, which gives you up-to-date data about water quality all over the country.

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