A city nestled between three harbours, Auckland has some of New Zealand’s best beaches and shorelines. From beaches with amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island to the rugged cliffs and striking black sands of Piha Beach. Here is our selection of exceptional beaches to explore in the area.
This white-sand beach is a favourite among surfers and kayakers because of its reliable bar break and exposed shoreline with regular waves. Pakiri Beach’s charm comes from its lack of development: the beach only has one small café and shop on the sand, with lots of untouched and natural space. As well as water sports enthusiasts, the beach draws its share of ramblers, as there are many kilometres of sandy and rocky trails available for a relaxed walk in the sun. On the coastline to the southeast of Wellsford, there is camping accommodation available nearby the beach for those who want to stay overnight and make the most of Pakiri Beach’s early-morning rock fishing spots.
As Auckland’s most popular beach village, Mission Bay is full of shoreline activities and attractions to explore. Located in the heart of Auckland, this bustling hub is full of places to eat, drink, shop and relax. Head to Good George Craft House Mission Bay for a drink in the sunshine, or to Dos Amigos Cantina for great Mexican food and cocktails. Next to the harbour, Mission Bay is a popular sailing spot. On a walk down the beach you will spot many different types of boats out on the water, from personal speedboats to private yachts. Closer to the shoreline, the beach is also a great place to try your hand at surfing, as the waves here are more forgiving than at other nearby beach breaks.
Any Auckland surfer worth their salt will know about Piha Beach, a rugged coastline to the west of the city with dramatic black sands and amazing clifftop views. The water here can often have strong and potentially dangerous currents, but its waves are the most reliably surfable in the area. Local lifeguards patrol the shoreline each day and swimmers should make sure to remain in the safe marked area of the beach. Surrounded by two rugged cliffs and a forest, Piha Beach offers an excellent array of outdoor activities. From daily surfing lessons to rock climbing, waterfall walks and even abseiling down the side of Piha Canyon, this is not a beach just for sunbathing on the sand and reading.
The beaches of Rotoroa Island are a perfect spot for wild swimming, with calm waters and very few small waves. This small island, around 75 minutes away from Auckland by ferry, is a great place to get some rest and relaxation, as it has only small numbers of visitors arriving on its shoreline, and offers long, flat trails where you can while away the hours on a pleasant stroll, looking out for local wildlife. Both Ladies Bay and Men’s Bay have golden sands, which are often entirely empty of other people, and calm emerald waters. Take a swim in the calm waters and have a nap in the warm sun before heading back on the ferry to mainland.