Whale’s Bay, Tutukaka. Photo / Melinda Legg
The results are in! Today, our finalists are announced: 13 stunning Kiwi beaches chosen by you and the Travel team. Click here to see the result, and read about our 10 most popular beaches, and our three favorite wild cards.
But every New Zealander knows that some of our best stretches of sand are the hard to reach, the lesser known and the hidden gems.
Here are some of our favorite entries from readers who favored Aotearoa’s calmer coastline.
Don’t miss your chance to be crowned New Zealand’s Best Beach 2021. Please visit nzherald.co.nz/bestbeach to vote for your favorite from our finalists.
Pukehina Beach, Bay of Plenty
Pukehina Beach is the “hidden gem” of the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast. Outside of peak season, this small town of 200 people is a tightly knit community of fishermen and women, retirees and tangata whenua connected to the great Arawa waka. Beautiful beaches and beaches remind us of the old days. Many homes have been passed down from generation to generation, converted with just a touch of paint, perhaps a new deck. The cousins slept all night in a bed that also housed longboards, surfcasters and kayaks. Aunts can be seen gathering kaimoana in the estuary, nannas and pop their fur babies for walks along the beach and meeting the local uncle – Hippi Pippi. From stunning sunsets to ever-changing coastal landscapes and a micro-climate of its own, Pukehina Beach with its soft white sand and turquoise waters is a truly unique Aotearoa beach experience.
New Chums Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
Over the last 20+ years I’ve traveled with family and then friends, lots of picnics, lots of beach days, nights out, and some beach cricket games. The fact that you can’t drive out there weed out the crowd, and walking on it itself is spectacular! This is truly a magical part of NZ
Whale Bay Beach, Tutukaka Beach, Northland
A 10-minute walk along the cliff-side gives you stunning views of the coves around Whale Bay. Once you go down the trail the beach itself has clear blue water (almost like the Maldives). Beautiful trees perfect for hammocks and small swings provide seclusion and shade, and small rock pools on either side for exploration. Among the famous beaches but with warmer water, it is a hidden gem. It is a must.
Kariaotahi Beach, South Auckland
I’ve been lifeguard for this beach for eight seasons now and been a part of junior surfing since I was 7 years old (now 21). From the experiences I have had from this beach during my time as part of this wonderful community and nature, I can safely say that it is by far the best beach in Auckland and the country.
Amodeo Bay, Coromandel
Our special slice of heaven. We first came here on our honeymoon nearly 16 years ago and have never stopped returning. It is rugged and far enough away to be quiet, so not overcrowded, and has the most amazing sunsets, and the best fishing spots are not far from the coast. This is truly a Kiwi experience. There is a river flowed by the ocean where there are many pet eels that you can feed and pat with your hands. It is surrounded by native bush and on quiet nights you can hear kiwis.
Taupō Bay, Far North
It’s special for its size, location, stunning views and chill feel. It epitomizes everything we look for on a classic Kiwi beach – unobtrusive, never overcrowded, part of a magical coastline, just a simple beach has it all. We love it.
Bethells / Te Henga Beach
I nominated for the best beach in west Auckland, Bethells Beach / Te Henga. It is one of the calmest, rugged beaches that are beautifully reflected on those sunny days. Always have awesome sunsets, places to swim / surf / fish, walk along cliffs, on the dunes, along the beach, special wildlife, and people from all different walks of life. You also have access to Lake Wainamu which is a short walk from the beach and is spectacular with its massive sand dunes reflecting off the lake. This cafe serves unbeatable post beach food.
Jackson Bay, West Coast
On a beautiful sunny day, you can enjoy a beautiful wild beach and feel like you are the only person in the world – sunbathing, looking for rare pebbles on the beach, at night building a driftwood fire. Just say it! On a day with wild weather, it’s like you’re in another world – foggy, rocky and desolate. One of the best spots on the NZ coastline so far.
Thorne Bay Beach, North Coast
Beautiful beach at Waitematā Harbor. Golden sand, shade of trees along the coast, rock pools with fresh water flowing between the rocks from Lake Pupuke. Overlooking Rangitoto and north to Whangaparāoa. Coupled with steep rises on the water’s edge for swimming near shore and avoiding rowing too far to reach deep water. Accessible only by walking around the waterfront or via footpaths from Minhaha Street – no car access so it feels more remote and secluded, yet you are less than 10 km to downtown Auckland.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com