Must-Visit Beaches Near Auckland

Aucklands many beaches dot the vast coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea
Auckland's many beaches dot the vast coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea | © Annie Green-Armytage / Alamy Stock Photo
Bianca Ackroyd

New Zealand’s Auckland city, located on the upper North Island, boasts 3,700km of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. Dramatic black-sand beaches surrounded by clifftops can be found on the west coast, while on the east, white-sand beaches are dotted with iconic pohutukawa trees. Add in the various hidden bays and Hauraki Gulf islands, and visitors to Auckland could spend a whole month visiting a new beach paradise every day. So, put your sunnies and flip-flops on and check out our list of must-visit beaches.

1. Get moving at Mission Bay

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© Wai Yee Thang / Alamy Stock Photo

Auckland city’s Mission Bay Beach is the perfect place for a beach workout only 8km (5mi) from the city centre. Paddleboarding, kayaking, working out at the fitness park or running along the boardwalk are some of the exercise options on offer for fitness lovers. Take in views of Rangitoto Island in the background, and head to one of the popular restaurants on the Mission Bay promenade for a bite to eat after a day in the sun.

2. Swim and snorkel at Tāwharanui Beach


Tāwharanui Beach on Auckland’s northeast coast is located on the Tāwharanui peninsula and is part of a marine reserve. Swimming, diving, snorkelling and surfing are permitted at this white-sand beach, but fishing is not allowed as this is a marine protected area. About 50 different species of fish have been recorded in the marine reserve, and orcas and bottlenose dolphins sometimes visit the area. With heaps of rock pools and the popular Ecology Trail, Tāwharanui is a must-visit beach only 82km (50mi) from Auckland city centre.

3. Picnic and play at Maraetai Beach

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Wooden Jetty in Morning, Maraetai, Auckland Region, North Island, New Zealand
© Design Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

Maraetai is a must-visit beach near Auckland for a fun family day out. This white-sand beach has a long boardwalk, playground area and plenty of pohutukawa trees to sit under and have a picnic while children play in the gentle waves. Maraetai Beach is situated on Auckland’s east coast. Only 41km (25mi) from the city centre, this beach is part of the Hauraki Gulf.

4. Beach paradise escape to Waiheke Island

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The Hauraki Gulf’s Waiheke Island is known for its vineyards and arts scene, but it is also home to spectacular island beaches. Hop on a 40-minute ferry from downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island, and escape to an island paradise of sparkling aquamarine water and soft white sand at Oneroa, Onetangi or Palm Beach. Buses, taxis, scooters and mountain bikes for hire make it easy to travel around the island.

5. Surf’s up at Piha Beach

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Auckland’s Piha Beach offers some of the best surfing on the city’s west coast. This dramatic west-coast beach only 40km (25mi) from Auckland city centre is situated on the Tasman Sea and features black sand with rugged cliffs on each end and the iconic Lion Rock in the middle. Take a walk in the surrounding native bush to a nearby waterfall or to one of the cliffside lookout points.

6. Bird-watching at Muriwai Beach

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Gannet colony at Muriwai beach, New Zealand
© Tamara Sliusarenko / Alamy Stock Photo

The Tasman Sea’s Muriwai Beach on Auckland’s west coast is home to a large gannet colony from August to March. With 60km (37mi) of coastline, this beach has clifftop platforms and an easy walking trail allowing visitors to see the gannet colony up close. This stunning black-sand beach, located only 42km (26mi) from Auckland city centre, is perfect for learning to surf and experiencing some of the North Island’s best wild west-coast landscapes.

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