7 Best Beaches in New Zealand

  February 22, 2017 travel posts đź•‘ 5 minutes read
best beaches in new zealand

Abel Tasman National Park.


(The following is a guest post by Andrew Mentock…)


When people think of New Zealand they generally think of Lord of the Rings, the Haka, and flightless birds.


However, after living there for nearly a year, I realize that New Zealand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.


Best Beaches in New Zealand


In fact, even though the total area of New Zealand is about the size of Colorado, it actually has the 10th longest coastline of any country in the world.


New Zealand is also where I got my start as a freelance writer and digital nomad, so I know from experience that it’s a great place to blog while being in paradise.


After consulting several of my friends who also lived in New Zealand, I have put together a list of seven of the best beaches between New Zealand’s North Island and South Island.


North Island


Mount Maunganui


Lovely Mount Maunganui image snapped by Megan Scameheorn.


Mount Maunganui is one of my favorite towns in all of New Zealand. I was only there for a few days, but whenever I make it back to NZ I plan to spend much more time there.


Located on a skinny peninsula, it’s easy an easy walk from one side to the other. This gives you convenient access to multiple beaches. This spot also features several great hills, which are perfect for hiking and getting a good vantage point of the peninsula.

Another great reason to come to Mount Maunganui is because it’s a very popular backpacker destination. The town’s main strip is full of cafes and bars, which are ideal jobs for backpackers. This also provides digital nomads with plenty of places to work and several like-minded people, who are also working and traveling their way around New Zealand.


Top New Zealand Beaches


Coromandel – Cathedral Cove


The Coromandel Peninsula is home to many of the best beaches and forests in all of New Zealand, but the best attraction in all of the peninsula is Cathedral Cove. This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches that I have ever seen–it truly looks as if it’s meant to be on the cover of a magazine.


Cathedral Cove is a place anyone visiting New Zealand should check out, but it’s a must see for anyone who wants to be in paradise.


However, as you can see from the photos, at Cathedral Cove there isn’t much around besides sand, watch, and large rocks so have all your work done prior to visiting.


Waiheke Island – Onetangi


Onetangi photo captured by Nick Smith.


One of the most popular tourist and vacation destinations in New Zealand is Waiheke Island’s Onetangi Beach. It’s also my friend Nick’s pick for New Zealand’s best beach.


Nick had a unique experience in New Zealand. During the majority of his time in the country he slept in a tent near the beach in order to save money, so he got to know this beach pretty well in a short period of time.


Near the beach are several restaurants and cafes, so it a place that provides plenty of places for you to work. Not to mention, it’s also home to Charlie Farley’s, which in Nick’s opinion is the best restaurant on all of Waiheke Island.


South Island


Abel Tasman National Park


The first time I saw Abel Tasman National Park, it was at 8 a.m. after having arrived at the park late during the previous night when is was extremely dark out. 


Luckily, the lot I had parked in was right next to one of the many Abel Tasman beaches, so my mood was immediately improved when I was greeted with one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. Not only are the beaches in Abel Tasman stunning, but the national park also has some of the best hiking that I have done. Because it’s a national park, it doesn’t have much wifi available.


Christchurch – New Brighton


This is the one beach that I’ve included that you’re not likely to find on any other list about New Zealand’s best beaches. Don’t get me wrong, it still a beautiful beach, but it does lack some of the stunning features that many of the other beaches on this list have.


Beach Paradise


However, what makes this beach unique is that is has a library and restaurant/bar that are both parts of the pier. This makes it one of the best places to blog from paradise.


The beach isn’t very popular, which makes it an even better place to go when you need to get some work done. It is just a short city bus ride away from Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city.




Queenstown image snapped by Marine Annsusan Telliap.


I am cheating by putting the beaches in Queenstown and Wanaka together, but the towns are in close proximity to each other and in each town there happens to be beautiful beaches on a Lake. Queenstown is by far the more popular of the two, has a vibrant nightlife, and is often considered the adventure capital of the world. Because of it’s exciting reputation it’s become a huge tourist attraction and a place where you have to be prepared to spend some money.


So if you’re someone who prefers to save some money and travel off the beaten path, Wanka will likely be a better fit for you.


Best New Zealand Beaches


Whichever town you pick you won’t have an issue finding a place since both are littered with faces. Make sure to be careful when going into the water–both lakes are freezing year round.


Golden Bay – Wharariki Beach


Nelson’s Wharariki Beach is my friend Cory’s pick for the best beach in New Zealand. Cory has lived in New Zealand for several years now and has been all over the beautiful country.


The beach is gorgeous and features several magnificent rock formation.  The beach is just about as far north as one can get on the South Island and is also a little secluded, so it’s not the greatest place to blog. However, it is a fantastic place to relax at while you take a break from work.


Given New Zealand’s 14,000 kilometers of coastline, it safe to say that there are plenty of other beaches I could have added to this list. If I missed your favorite, please let me know in the comments section.


Bio: Andrew Mentock is a freelance writer with a passion for interviewing others and sharing their story.  He is a frequent contributor to several blogs and online publications. Samples of his work can be found at http://clippings.me/andrewmentock

  1. Ryan Biddulph says:
    at 2:59 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Super guest post with eye-popping images.

    Missed a chance to visit Kiwi-Land when in Savusavu Fiji – not too far away – but we will make it. Both to these jaw-dropping beaches and Hobbiton of course.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  2. Dmitriy says:
    at 3:53 am

    Awesome post about New Zealand beaches. They look really attractive and make me want to visit this awesome country. But it is already on my travel bucket list for a long long time. I will definitely use the valuable tips in this post when I will start preparing for the trip to New Zealand.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 4:10 am

      Hi Dmitriy,

      Agreed on that. Reminds me of stunning beaches in Fiji with pristine, dramatic scenery.

      Here too; NZ has been on my list and we will get there, using Andrew’s guest post as research material for scoping out the top beaches in the region.


  3. Emily Kydd says:
    at 9:25 am

    100% agree!!! I spent 7 months living in New Zealand and all of these areas are absolutely stunning. Abel Tasman also has wicked kayaking while there is a cool hot water beach somewhere near Maunganui. New Zealand has the best of the whole world, all crammed into it’s tiny size!


    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 10:11 am

      Hi Emily,

      Awesome. Good to know from an NZ afficianado.

      7 months? How cool! You are a long term traveler my friend. Love it.

      The Kiwis really do enjoy the best of so many things in a relatively small land considering how much you can do, see and be there.


  4. Rob @ Money Nomad says:
    at 8:52 pm

    Well, that seals it. NZ is definitely on my bucket list! I’ve enjoyed Australia and a few islands in the South Pacific, but have never made it to New Zealand. But perhaps I’ll have to visit now — either for the surf or the snowboarding. Great post!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 3:26 am

      Hi Rob,

      Same here dude.

      Prior, I was Hobbit-obsessed and let my LOTR obsessions guide my NZ affinity LOL. Now with these beaches the place moves up to a whole new level.


  5. Amar kumar says:
    at 6:10 am

    Hey Ryan,

    New Zealand is well known for beautiful beaches. And you have also explored nicely those places. I’ve seen a episode of Coromandel Peninsula on national geography channel, gained lots of facts about beaches belongs to coromandel peninsula. Thanks, for exploring your experience.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 1:50 am

      Hi Amar,

      Actually this was a guest post but the author did a beautiful job of bringing the NZ beaches to us 🙂


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