1. Piha Beach.
Auckland’s iconic black sand surf beach. 50 minutes from the CBD it’s well worth the drive. The surf can be pretty big so swim between the flags. This is a must visit destination for any summer visit to Auckland. The most iconic of Auckland’s iconic black sand beaches.
2. Takapuna Beach.
Takapuna is the best swimming beach in the city. With shopping, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as a beautiful Pohutukawa lined beach with fantastic views of Rangitoto Island. A great spot for families it should be on every tourists itinerary.
3. Mission Bay.
The best swimming beach south of the Harbour Bridge. Great restaurants and a nice park. This is a popular spot for Aucklanders to see and be seen. Rent a paddle board or a kayak, or if you’re more of a landlubber try a bike or electric scooter on the extensive waterfront cycle trail. Walk up to Bastion Point and work up an appetite, cool off with a swim and then try out one of the many restaurants. Or enjoy a pizza or Fish’n Chips on the beach.
5. Long Bay.
Long Bay beach offers a large popular reserve with BBQs. It perfect for family picnics, and Aucklanders flock there in summer from all over the city. The beach offers safe swimming with small surf. It’s a marine reserve so leave your fishing rod at home.
This east coast surf beach has beautiful white sand. It’s was once a small town with holiday homes but it’s long since been swallowed by Auckland city. There’s plenty of bars and restaurants and a great park. A popular spot for basketball and a great place to learn to surf. Regularly visited by dolphins and the occasional pod of orca.
7. Bethells Beach.
Bethells is another great west coast surf beach. Famous for it’s black sand and numerous appearances in Films and TV shows, including Hercules, and Xena Warrior Princess, as well as the Tailor Swift video for Out of The Woods. It’s Piha with slightly less people. Great surfing, fishing and sunsets. It’s also popular with parasailers.
8. Muriwai Beach.
Drive your car for miles along this black sand beach. Just don’t get stuck below the high tide line. Great fun. Perfect for a 4 wheel drive or quad bike. Great fishing and surfing around the point at Maori Bay. The gannet colony is popular with photographers.
9. Goat Island.
At the Northern end of the Auckland Region is Goat Island. NZ’s oldest Marine Reserve. Great for snorkelling or take a trip on the glass bottom boat. there’s plenty of fish.
10. Shakespear Beach.
On the tip of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. White sand, native birds and stunning views. Great for picnics and swimming.
3 Secret Beaches in Auckland
1. Whites Beach
Whites Beach is often completely empty even in the the middle of summer. And it’s an absolute stunner. Cool, clean water with big surf. There’s no life guards so it’s only recommended for strong swimmers. The hike in is part of the fun. Drive to the northernmost parking lot at North Piha, walk to the end of the beach then look for the secret track up the cliffs. (don’t worry there is actually a sign.) There’s an amazing view from the headland so be sure and take the detour to the lookout. The track down to the beach has two options. Choose the steep path with the Jesus cable. You’ll be holding the cable and calling to Jesus as you make your way down the steep cliff. Then you time your run along the rocks between waves to reach the beach. Watch for penguins in the evening, and the occasional nudist in the day time. (It’s not a nude beach – but there’s often no one there so for some the temptation is too much to resist.)
2. Karaka Bay
This is on every best Beach list so it’s not really a secret but it feels like it is when you get there. There is no road access. You have to walk down a steep path which keeps away most of the public. It’s lined with pohutukawa trees and has stunning views towards browns Island. You feel like you’re miles from the city without needing to drive for an hour. The most peaceful beach in the city by a mile.
3. Pohutukawa Bay
This is a little gem of a beach. Not far from Long Bay but way less people. And way less clothing. You could say clothing is optional at Pohutukawa Bay. It’s a fairly well established Nudist Beach.
Auckland’s Most Isolated Beach
Whatipu Beach begins on the northern side of the Manukau Harbour entrance. It’s a wild surf beach with huge tidal flows and a treacherous bar making it a dangerous spot for boats; swimming is not advised. It’s perfect for long walks on the beach in any weather, somehow a windy rainy walk at Whatipu is as good as a beautiful summers day walk. It’s a wild beach, the wilder the better.