You're never far from the sea in New Zealand and there's an abundance of beaches to chose from. We're guessing you've heard of a few. However, New Zealand's beaches are the ones not pictured in the guidebooks - our local secrets. But lucky for you, they're secrets we're willing to share.
Straddling both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is surrounded by more than 9,000 miles of coastline. From golden sandy bays and endless white shorelines to black volcanic sand - you're spoilt for choice. But if you're heading down under for a seaside vacation, you might want to forgo popular spots like Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. You might want to go off-the-beaten-track to experience some unique local gems that are (in our opinion) far better than the usual tourist hotspots. To give you some ideas, we’ve put together our five best New Zealand beaches - and while slightly out of the way - they're well worth the extra time invested to get there.
Waihau Bay, East Cape.
A remote sandy cove on the East Cape of the North Island, Waihau Bay is a restful fishing post on the outskirts of civilisation. Quintessentially kiwi, the bay has a kind of rugged charm, one general store, and was the setting for the award-winning New Zealand film, Boy. A perfect place to unplug for a little while.
Garden Cove, Waiheke Island.
This one is only accessible by boat or kayak, which makes it all the more special. A sheltered sandy horseshoe bay, Garden Cove is guarded by a rocky reef at its entrance and grassy slopes at its back.
Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay.
At the Northernmost tip of the South Island this beach boasts soaring archways of stone and rolling windswept dunes. While only a one hour drive from Takaka followed by a 30 minute walk across farmland, Wharariki feels wild and grandiose. Pack a picnic and a surfboard (if you're that way inclined) and prepare to be blown away. Note: head out on a day forecast for light winds, or you will literally be blown away.
Black Pebbles Beach, Kaikoura.
Edged by turquoise seas and the snowy southern alps, this beach is truly one for the bucket list. Although within the southern tourist trail, Black Pebble beach is sparsely populated, and just north of the town Kekerengu, it’s often frequented by seals. And if you can work up the courage to brave the icy swell, there's plenty of boutique bars to warm up in afterwards.
Anapai Beach, Abel Tasman.
If your dreams consist of warm seas and golden sand, this is the beach for you. Anapai Beach, located within the lush greenery of Abel Tasman National park is picture perfect. A golden sandy shore rims its clear blue waters while overgrown cliffs bring a tropical island feel. Pack your sunscreen and hiking shoes as this slice of paradise is an hours walk away.
Whether you're after a remote patch of beauty to unwind, a wild and woolly escape or a secluded tranquil cove, the best New Zealand beaches are those hidden from view. So ignore the traditional choices, find your sense of adventure and set out to explore a different side of the Land of The Long White Cloud.