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The Five Best Beaches In New Zealand

best beaches in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of amazing beaches. From long white crescent moon shaped coves to thundering, wild black sand beaches it’s one of the best beach destinations in the world.  The best thing that comes with the beautiful beaches of New Zealand is the true isolation of some of the beaches you can find.  You can truly go to a beach that doesn’t have another soul on it.  You can walk for miles without seeing another soul if you find the right beach.

So why not go and find your piece of paradise in this wild country?  Here’s a list of the five best beaches in New Zealand from a local guides point of view.

Best Beaches in New Zealand: Hahei

To make things easy for the adventurers we’ve split this list into three popular and beautiful beaches and two remote, hard to access beaches.  Hahei almost falls into both categories, it’s not exactly the easiest place to get to.  It’s a bit of a drive.  But it is most definitely one of the best beaches in New Zealand.

Hahei and neighbouring Cathedral Cove are favourites for Kiwi families holidaying during Christmas time.  Cathedral Cove is home to stunning rock caves and white sandy beaches.  You want to be here, trust me.


Raglan is a wild west beach in New Zealand.  Around an hours drive from Hamilton it’s a surfers paradise.  The black sand of the beach comes from iron deposits.  The beach is huge.  Taking a short walk from the car park will put you in uncharted territory where there isn’t a person in sight.

Head up into the sand dunes to disappear for an afternoon or watch the horses walking up and down the beach.

Mt Maunganui

Mt Maunganui is one of the best beaches in New Zealand and one of the best known too.  This sleepy seaside town is transformed over summer with bars and summer events.  The long sandy foreshore starts at the mount (which is a great hiking spot) and continues for miles.  The foreshore is lined with great cafes and restaurants too, so indulge.

Pakiri Beach

Pakiri Beach is my kind of beach.  Secluded and deserted this beach is something special.  From your first look at it as you come over the hill on the long windy gravel road you know you’ve found something special.  The beach has one parking lot in the middle and attracts a small group brave enough to travel the bad roads.

Walk five hundred meters either way and you have the entire beach all to yourself.  What else is there in life?  If you’re not satisfied with an empty beach all to yourself maybe you should go home?

Medlands Beach

Medlands Beach is by far the hardest to get to of our list of the best beaches in New Zealand.  Medlands lies on the coast of Great Barrier Island, a Jurassic Park-like island off the coast of northern New Zealand. You’ll need to take a ferry and a bit of a hike to get there and by the time you arrive you’ll need to camp the night.

But you’ll be rewarded.  Medlands Beach is one of the most unspoiled pieces of sand in the world.  If you can get there, get there.

Want more tips on travelling New Zealand?

Check out our blog post on how to travel New Zealand cheaply.

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