Places to visit in New Zealand - Our Top 8 Beaches

Posted by james on 16 January 2017 2:11:03 PM

There are so many different places to visit in New Zealand and our beaches have some spectacular scenery where you can really capture the beauty of the New Zealand coastline. The Rotorua Canopy Tours team love going to explore new beaches for a surf, swim or just a walk with their dogs and they put together their top 8 beaches to visit in New Zealand:

North Island

1. Taputopotu Bay, Cape Reinga

Taputopotu Beach is at the top of the North Island located in it's own cosy bay. You can swim in the lagoon or you can do the walking tracks that take you up to enjoy stunning views looking out over cliffs and the ocean.  If you have a night or two to spare Moerangi (one of our friendly reservations team) recommends you stay in the Taputopotu campground and watch the stunning sunsets and sunrises.

Places to visit in New Zealand-Taputopotu-Bay-Cape-Reinga

Photo: Taputopotu Bay in Cape Reinga. Photo Credit: Bruce Bandt

2. Puheke Beach, Kaitaia

Puheke beach is off the beaten track making it an awesome place to stop for a surf or swim with potentially the beach to yourself. Canopy Tours guide Scott, said the beach is amazing! You can enjoy a 40 minute return walk up Puheke hill that takes in the views of the white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue ocean waters of Karikari bay and Puheke bay.

3. Tawhitokino, South East Auckland

Tawhitokino regional park is only accessible by boat or around the rocks and over the headland at lowtide. This beach is a slice of New Zealand heaven with pohutakawa trees shading the golden sand, safe swimming spots to cool yourself down and the perfect set up for a picnic with family or friends. Tawhitokino is an untouched 1.4 km stretch of pure beauty that you should definitely make the effort to see if you are in or around Auckland.

4. Makarori Beach, Gisborne

Just over the hill from Wainui beach and 10km from Gisborne this white sandy beach is ideal for swimmers and surfers. Canopy Tours guide Spencer spends many of his days off down at Makarori beach enjoying a surf on the stunning right hand break.  Makarori headland has an amazing walk you can do with fantastic views of Wainui and Makarori beach, and on a clear day you can take in views of Mahia Peninsula further down the coast.

Places to visit in New Zealand -Makarori-beach-Gisborne

Photo: Makarori Beach in Gisborne. Photo Credit :

South Island

5. Purakaunui Bay, Southland

Located in the hidden paradise of the Catlins lays Purakaunui Bay, a beautiful sheltered beach where you can see the highest cliffs in the Catlins. There is a DOC campground that is located on the edge of the beach which has basic facilities, but Canopy Tours Duty guide Jen said rolling out of bed and catching the stunning sunrise makes it all worth it. This beach is a surfers haven as you can surf all day and just pop back into to your tent or camper van for a break when you desire it.

Places to visit in New Zealand -Purakaunui-Bay-Southland

Photo: Purakaunui Bay in Southland. Photo credit:

6. Taylors Mistake, Christchurch

Taylors Mistake is a quieter beach 20 minutes from Christchurch that has heaps of different walking tracks you can do. There is usually good surf here so you might be able to spot a few surfers out catching some waves.  The waves are also good for those wanting to get out on their boogie board where you can keep safe between the surf lifeguard flags. One of the Canopy team, Pip is Christchurch born and bred and recommends to do the walk over the hill from Sumner where the views at the top are stunning and definitely worth the walk.

7. Hokitika Beach, West Coast

On the West Coast, Hokitika Beach is spectacular with the copious amounts of driftwood laying along the rugged beach. Guide Shanyn said she couldn't get enough of the sunset views from Hokitika beach. The best time to go would be later in the day so you get the chance to see the beautiful sunsets. You can take a dip at the beach but you will need to be careful as the waters can get rough so it is recommended not to go out further than 1 metre of water.

Places to visit in New Zealand -Hokitika-Beach-West-Coast

Photo: Hokitika Beach, West Coast. Photo Credit :

8. Bark Bay, Abel Tasman

The choices of beaches in the Abel Tasman are never ending but Bark Bay is picture perfect with it's sandy white beaches and blue clear waters. This beach is very remote as you can only walk or get a boat with no road access making it even more special to visit. There is a DOC campsite you can stay at after swimming in the sunshine or relaxing under the forest canopy with friends or family.

Topics: Things to do in NZ