It was a tough choice but we have compiled a list of the 12 best beaches in the North Island of New Zealand. Get out and explore the country this summer with a rental car. We have a range of cars to suit your needs whether you are a couple travelling or a family with plenty of luggage, there is a car for you at Shore Rentals. Book a car online or give us a call on tel:094880920.

Maitai Bay

Maitai Bay is located on the Karikari penninsula in Northland. Take a walk along the sheltered beach or relax on the stunning white sand. Maitai Bay is crescent shaped beach lined with Pohutakawa trees and located 75 minutes north from Kerikeri.

Maitai Bay, Northland.  Photo credit: David Kirkland
Maitai Bay, Northland. Photo Credit: David Kirkland

Matapouri Bay

Matapouri Bay is a picturesque white sand beach located on the Tutukaka coast in Northland. It’s a great family friendly beach located 40 minutes north of Whangarei and suitable for swimming, body boarding. From Matapouri there is a walkway via the coast to Whale Bay with splendid coastal views (40 minutes one way)

Matapouri Bay, Northland.  Photo credit: David Tip
Matapouri Bay, Northland. Photo credit: David Tip/Unsplash

Ninety-Mile Beach

Ninety-Mile Beach is a long strip of sand that stretches from Ahipara to Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen. It is actually 88 kilometres long and known for it’s sunsets, surf breaks and as a never ending beach paradise.

Ninety-Mile Beach, Northland. Photo credit: Grace Caadiang/Unsplash

Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay is located in Tawharanui Regional Park in north Auckland. It is located about an 70 minute drive from Takapuna. This long sandy beach is considered one of the best swimming and surfing spots in Auckland, there are grassed areas dotted with Pohutakawa trees perfect for picnics.

Piha Beach

Piha is scenic black sand beach located on Auckland’s west coast. This beach is popular with surfers but there are also lifeguards on patrol in summer for swimmers. It flanked by rugged cliffs on each end and Lion rock in the middle. Take a trip to the nearby waterfall while you are there.

Piha Beach, Auckland. Photo credit: Marc St/Unsplash

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is located in Hahei and only 10 minutes away from well known Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel. There are several walking tracks that lead here including the 1.5hr return walk, which give walking access to Gemstone Bay, Mare’s Leg and Cathedral Cove. One of the best ways to explore the volcanic area is by boat or kayak. Cathedral Cove is also a marine reserve so you can go snorkelling.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel. Photo credit: marina/Unsplash


Whangamata in the Coromandel is known as one of the best beaches in New Zealand. It is safe for swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and fishing with amazing coastal scenery. Coromandel Forest Park borders the area and provides many outdoor experiences like short walks, mountain bike trails and old gold mining sites.

whangamata, coromandel.  Photo Credit: The Coromandel
Whangamata, Coromandel. Photo Credit: The Coromandel |

New Chum Beach (Wainuiototo)

This spectacular stretch of golden sand in the Coromandel is fringed by Pohutukawa and native forest and deserted for most of the year. This is a protected beach with no buildings, roads, infrastructure or camping. It is off the beaten track, but worth the while and sometimes you can see Orca or dolphins swimming in the water.

New Chum Beach/Wainuiototo, Coromandel
New Chum Beach, Coromandel. Photo Credit: Photo credit: Adrien Aletti/Unsplash

Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui in Tauranga is a popular summer time destination for Kiwi’s with kilometres of white sand beach, perfect for swimming, surfing and body boarding. Take a walk up the extinct Mount Maunganui volcano for stunning views over the bay. The Mount Hot Pools at the base of mountain offers saltwater bathing and spa treatments, while there are plenty of cafe’s, restaurants, and boutiques in the town centre.

Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty. Photo credit: Ethan Dow/Unsplash

Ngaranui Beach

Ngaranui Beach is the main beach in Raglan, with a long stretch of black sand it is good for swimming, sunbathing and learning to surf. The beach is patrolled by life guards in summer and only 10 minutes from town. Raglan is located less than an hour from Hamilton.

Ngaranui Beach in Raglan, Waikato. Photo credit: Callum Hill/Unsplash

Ohope Beach

Ohope beach in Whakatane is another well loved beach by kiwi’s, it has 11km of white sand and suitable for swimmers, surfers, fishing and sunbathing. Ohope beach is nestled among Pohutakawa trees with stunning offshore views of Whakaari (White Island) and Motuhoroa (Whale Island).

Ohope beach, bay of plenty,  photo credit: nicola dobson
Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty. Photo Credit: Nicola Dobson

Castlepoint Beach

Castlepoint is located about an hour away from Masterton, the reserve attracts many birds and marine mammals. Perfect for swimming, surfing, walking trails. Castlepoint Beach is a very popular location over the summer period with its reef, lagoon, lighthouse and Castle Rock, Castlepoint is a spectacular stretch of Wairarapa coastline.

Castlepoint Beach, Wairarapa. Photo credit: Andreas Sjövall/Unsplash