New Zealand’s beaches offer a diverse range of golden bays, endless white shorelines, sheltered lagoons and unique black volcanic sand and we recommend going off the beaten track to experience hidden local gems that – while slightly out of the way – are far better (in our opinion) than the usual tourist hotspots. So to help you with planning your New Zealand self drive itinerary, or even just some quality downtime as you make the most of this beautiful country, our New Zealand team have put together their top five favourites. (You’re welcome…)
- Anapai Beach, Abel Tasman. If your dreams consist of warm seas and golden sand, this is the beach for you. Anapai Beach, located within the lush greenery of Abel Tasman National park is picture perfect. A golden sandy shore, rims its clear blue waters while overgrown cliffs bring a tropical feel. Pack your sunscreen and hiking shoes as this one is a one hour walk away
- Waihau Bay, East Cape. A remote sandy cove on the East Cape of the North Island, Waihau Bay is a restful fishing post on the outskirts of civilisation. Quintessentially kiwi, the bay has a kind of rugged charm, one general store, and was the setting for the award-winning New Zealand film, Boy. A perfect place to kick that social media habit.
- Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay. At the Northernmost tip of the South Island this beach boasts soaring archways of stone and rolling windswept dunes. While only a one hour drive from Takaka followed by a 30 minute walk across farmland, Wharariki feels wild and grandiose. Pack a picnic and a surfboard (if you’re that way inclined) and prepare to be blown away. Note: head out on a day forcast for light winds, or you will literally be blown away.
- Black Pebbles Beach, Kaikoura. Edged by turquoise seas and the snowy southern alps, this beach is truly one for the bucket list. Although within the southern tourist trail, Black Pebble beach is sparsely populated, and just north of the town Kekerengu, it’s often frequented by seals. And if you can work up the courage to brave the icy swell, there’s plenty of boutique bars to warm up in afterwards.
- Garden Cove, Waiheke Island. This one is only accessible by boat or kayak, which makes it all the more special. A sheltered, sandy horseshoe bay, Garden Cove is guarded by a rocky reef at its entrance and grassy slopes at its back. Didn’t we say it would be worth it?
Be it a remote stretch of paradise or a wild and tumultuous shore we think you should bypass the typical New Zealand beach and get lost in our great outdoors. So ignore the traditional choices, find your sense of adventure and set out to explore a different side of the Land of The Long White Cloud.
Thank you to Tracey O’Loughlin, Wanaka, NZ for sharing her advice and running the risk of making her favourite spots popular.