Top Auckland beaches

Top Auckland beaches

One of the things I miss when I’m away from New Zealand are the beaches. There’s nothing quite like them anywhere else in the world. Black sand, rough powerful waves, Pohutukawa trees and flax bushes. I feel recharged and ready to take on the world after a stroll along the waters edge – feeling the power of the ocean and sound of the waves.

Auckland is known as the city of sails.

Auckland is situated at the narrowest part of the country and has easy access to beaches. Below are my absolute favourite beaches in Auckland and are less known than Piha and Raglan.

You need a car to reach them and the closest is 45min from the city centre. Prepack lunch as the only beach with access to any food is Bethells Beach! You can do a west coast tour that includes one of my favourite beaches, Karekare.


Bethells Beach

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This beach is in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland on the west coast. I love this beach with so much space and wild rough waves. They filmed a lot of Zena Warrior Princess in this area. I spent a lot of time here as a kid and there are plenty of options for the day:

  • Follow the stream to a lagoon and turn left to walk along the waters edge. At the end is a cave; or
  • Turning right at the lagoon and walk to the next beach over the sand bank. There are two hikes that start/end from O’Neill’s beach. One goes inland over a hill and comes out at Bethells beach road by a bridge. The other carries on along the coast called the Te Henga Walkway; or
  • If you are tired of the beach there’s a path from Bethells Road, just after the bridge. It follows a stream to a lake which is perfect on a hot summers day. If you carry on around the lake, you arrive at a waterfall!

Karekare Beach

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This beach is also in the  Waitakere Ranges, but with a completely different layout. The beach was filmed in the movie The Piano about the first settlers in New Zealand and it’s probably still the same. After parking, walk through the stream and follow to the main beach with plenty of options:

  • If you walk right, it takes you to where locals fish off the rocks; or
  • If you walk to the left, it just keeps going, and going, and going. Walk inland and this takes you to the bottom of a hike. There is a old tram rail tunnel and small lakes with tadpoles; or
  • If you are keen to do a hike, there are plenty in the area. A great one requires two cars. Drive beyond the beach carpark to the top of the hill. There is a carpark for the start of the hike with fantastic views, beautiful bush, streams and takes you back onto Karekare beach.

Tawharanui Beach

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This beach is north beyond Matakana and along a gravel road. New Zealand are protecting the native wildlife in the area with a wall and gate to keep pests out. There are plenty of options for the day:

  • If you walk to the left, there is a long wild beach great for a walk along the waters edge and eventually reaches some cliffs; or
  • If you walk to the right, there are small bays with different personalities; or
  • There are great hikes around the conservation area. A good starting point is to go to the right from the carpark and follow the path around. Below is a map showing all the different tracks!

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There are plenty of other beaches in Auckland. Some others to try:

Mission Bay is the city beach and has restaurants nearby. You can take public transport and there is a path all along the waterfront for some great views of the city and Rangitoto.

Long Bay is a calm beach on the north shore, great for swimming and you can take public transport. Perfect for a picnic and spending the day.

Omaha is further north and is a popular spot for water activities. You can learn how to surf and it’s sometimes calm enough for paddle boarding! There are farmers stalls for fresh fruit on the way there and a dairy and cafe at the main carpark.


Do you have other favourite Auckland beaches? Let me know below!

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