Rotorua Canopy Tours Blog

Top 8 Best New Zealand Beaches

Sunday, 7 June 2020

There are so many different beaches to visit in New Zealand and majority of our beaches really capture the beauty of our county's coastline. The Rotorua Canopy Tours team love exploring our best New Zealand beaches to enjoy a surf, swim or a leisurely walk with their dogs - they have put together their top 8 best New Zealand beaches they think are the top things to do in New Zealand.

  1. Taputopotu Bay, Cape Reinga

  2. Puheke Beach, Kaitaia

  3.  Tawhitokino, South East Auckland

  4. Makarori Beach, Gisborne

  5. Bark Bay, Abel Tasmankk

  6. Hokitika Beach, West Coast

  7. Taylors Mistake, Christchurch

  8. Purakaunui Bay, Southland


North Island

1. Taputopotu Bay, Cape Reinga

The first of our best New Zealand beaches is Taputopotu Beach. It is located at the top of the North Island in its own cosy bay. You can swim in the lagoon or enjoy the walking tracks that take you up to spectacular views looking out over cliffs and the ocean. If you have a night or two to spare we recommend you stay in the Taputopotu campground where you can watch stunning sunsets and sunrises.

Best New Zealand beaches-Taputopotu-Bay-Cape-Reinga

Private and sheltered Taputopotu Bay in Cape Reinga. Photo Credit: Bruce Bandt


2. Puheke Beach, Kaitaia

Puheke beach is one of the best New Zealand beaches that is off the beaten track. It's an awesome place to stop for a surf or swim with the potential of having this beat New Zealand beach to yourself. Canopy Tours guide Scott, thinks the beach is simply amazing and it's one of his favourite places to take his daughters! 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 you can adventure around the rocks and over the headland when it's low tide. 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

One of the best New Zealand beaches is just 10km from Gisborne. Over the hill from Wainui beach, 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 beaches - on a clear day you can take in views of Mahia Peninsula further down the coast.

Best New Zealand beaches-Makarori-beach-Gisborne

Enjoy one of the best New Zealand beaches located in Gisborne, Makarori Beach and the right hand break.


South Island

5. Bark Bay, Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman has got to be on your New Zealand bucket list. The choices of beaches in the Abel Tasman are never ending but Bark Bay is picture perfect with its sandy white beaches and blue clear waters. This beach is very remote there is no road access. It's only accessible by walking or catching a boat ride - making it a very special one of the best New Zealand beaches 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.


6. Hokitika Beach, West Coast

On the West Coast, Hokitika Beach is spectacular with the copious amounts of driftwood laying along the rugged beach. Guide SantraeaSantaea can never 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 in the water but you need to be careful as the waters can get rough -  it's recommended not to go out any further than 1 metre to keep safe. 

Best New Zealand beaches-Hokitika-Beach-West-Coast

Enjoy watching a sunset at Hokitika Beach on the rugged New Zealand West Coast.


7. Taylors Mistake, Christchurch

Taylors Mistake is one of the quieter best New Zealand beaches. It's just 20 minutes from Christchurch and 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 lifeguard flags. One of the Canopy team members, Pip is Christchurch born and bred and recommends to do the walk over the hill from Sumner where the views at the top are simply stunning - it's definitely worth the uphill walk.


8. 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 Guide Cam said rolling out of bed and catching the stunning sunrise makes it all worth it and you can experience kiwi authenticity at its purest. This beach is a surfers haven as you can surf all day and then just pop back up to your tent or camper van for your food and drink breaks. 

Best New Zealand beaches-Purakaunui-Bay-Southland

Purakaunui Bay in Southland showcasing beautiful views of the coastline.


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Topics: Things to do in NZ, New Zealand Itineraries