With approximately 14,000 kilometres of coastline, New Zealand has no shortage of beaches! All of them are stunning but only some are in plain sight. Others are tucked away and kept local secrets. Here, we spill the beans on the 6 best secret beaches in New Zealand.
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1. New Chums Beach, Coromandel
Located near Whangapoua in Coromandel, New Chums Beach is a golden sand paradise surrounded by lush native bush. This secluded beach was included in The Observer's list of Top 20 best deserted beaches in 2006. The beach is totally untouched as it is only accessible by water or foot, via a 1.5km walking track. Be sure to snap a photo from the top of the ridge before you descend to the beach through nīkau and pōhutukawa trees.
2. Woolleys Bay, Northland
Woolleys Bay is located on the east coast, a 35km drive northeast of Whangarei. Park your car and take a short walk through the sand dunes to this stunning, golden sand beach. The bay is quite sheltered so the waters are usually calm and crystal clear, perfect for paddle boarding. You can hire paddleboards by the hour from a number of vendors in Tutukaka (10 minutes drive away). If you’re up for an adventure, head around the rocks at either end of the beach to explore the rock pools and check out the creatures that call them home. Don't forget to check the tides before you set out to stay safe!
3. Wharariki Beach, Tasman
Located slightly west of Cape Farewell, the northernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand, is this untouched paradise. Saying it’s ‘a bit out of the way’ is an understatement, however, the three-hour long drive from Nelson and 30-minute farm walk are well worth it. To make the most of your trip, time your visit around low tide when the most sand is exposed, allowing you to walk the full length of this incredible beach. Photos of the vast beach, with the Archway Islands in the background, are postcard perfect.
4. Orokawa Bay, Bay of Plenty
Part of Orokawa Scenic Reserve, this beach is just a short walk around the northern peninsula of the very popular, Waihi Beach. The beach has stunning white sand and loads of large Pohutukawa trees to plonk yourself under for shade. The rocks at the northern end of Orokawa Bay are a great spot for rock fishing, however, take care for tidal movements and wave conditions which can change suddenly.
5. Karaka Bay, Auckland
Karaka Bay is one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. Located in Glendowie, beyond the St Heliers Bay headland, this beach boasts amazing views across the Waitemata Harbour towards Rangitoto. Cop a spot in the shade of a pohutukawa tree and spend the day swimming, playing beach cricket and enjoying a picnic. The beach is accessible only by foot via a steep track at the end of Peacock St.
6. Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
In the 1870’s, John Cargill excavated a tunnel down to a secluded beach so that his family could have a private place to sunbathe and swim. Nowadays, the beach, aptly named Tunnel Beach, is open for all to enjoy. To get there, follow the fenced track down the hill, over the private farmland and through the hand-carved rock tunnel. Prepare for your jaw to drop as you step out of the tunnel – the surrounding sheer sandstone cliffs are quite spectacular.
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