Top Five Most Beautiful North Island Beaches

New Zealand’s North Island boasts a wealth of beautiful beaches. Known for their idyllic & peaceful settings, some have even gained worldwide recognition.

Cathedral Cove - Coromandel

Cathedral Cove is undoubtedly one of the most iconic beaches in New Zealand. A unique and picturesque spot, it is most well-known for its massive naturally formed archway and unusual rock formations. The one hour walk down from Hahei is suitable for any level of fitness, going along the cliff before descending into the secluded cove. For some, the area is most recognisable as a filming location for The Chronicles of Narnia, giving it a truly magical atmosphere.


Mangawhai Heads Beach - Northland

A real go-to for Auckland residents, Mangawhai Heads Beach is located just 10 minutes from the coastal village of Mangawhai. With beautiful scenery in every direction, this beach has the rare quality of being absolutely stunning all year round. Known for its surf, the waves are consistent and sizeable, though the harbour and estuary also offer calmer waters for a more relaxing swim. The estuary is popular with the wildlife too; you might even be lucky enough to see the dolphins come to visit! If you’re more into the scenery, there are also beautiful coastal walking tracks overlooking the ocean. Looking to stay a night or two? Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park is highly recommended, situated right on the water’s edge!


Mt Maunganui Beach – Tauranga

A crowd favourite, ‘The Mount’ was voted as New Zealand’s best beach for three years in a row on TripAdvisor. With a bustling resort town vibe, there’s always something going on. Cafes stretch down the beachfront as apartment buildings tower overhead. On the grassy reserves, or even the beach itself, you’ll commonly find games of volleyball, soccer or cricket. Swimming conditions are generally safe, but it is recommended to always swim between the flags due to occasional rips. The beach sits at the foot of Mt Maunganui, which is unusually situated at the end of a peninsula, and adds to this extremely unique location. If you ever find yourself a little beached out, a walk around or even up the mountain might be in order, with stunning ocean views offered from the summit.


Ohiwa Beach – Bay of Plenty

Ohiwa Beach strikes the balance of being out of the way, without having to travel too far. Around 30 minutes away from the more well-known beach town of Whakatane, Ohiwa boasts a beautiful location without the crowds. A safe beach for swimming, the waves are also perfect for boogie boarding or bodysurfing. For calmer waters, just head right around the corner to Ohiwa Harbour, a hotspot for fishing, kayaking, boating and collecting shellfish. The beach is also overlooked by the Onekawa Pa on the hilltop, providing beautiful 360 degree views of the ocean and surrounding beaches.


New Chums Beach – Coromandel

Secluded and concealed from the masses, New Chums Beach has actually been voted as one of the world’s top 10 beaches! The area has no buildings, roads or even campsites, making it the definition of an untouched hidden gem. If you’re wanting to check it out, the only way to reach the fabled beach is via a rocky 30 minute walk from Whangapoua. The reward? Complete isolation in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Characterised by a distinct stillness, this stunning golden stretch is deserted for most of the year, so you can enjoy having the water all to yourself. Surrounded by pohutukawa trees, the residents are mostly native birds, though you may also come across majestic marine life such as orcas and dolphins!

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