Ask any Kiwi where their favourite beach is, and they'll all have a different answer. From north to south, here's a few of the many, many stunning beaches.
Maitai Bay's clean, clear water and soft white sand make it the ultimate summer escape for many Kiwis every year. Swim, snorkel, kayak or simply relax on this remote Northland beach. Sleep under the stars in the nearby campsite(opens in new window), where the only thing obscuring your view will be the beautiful pohutukawa trees (otherwise known as the New Zealand Christmas tree).
Often called Auckland's best-kept secret, Tawharanui Regional Park is located at the end of a long gravel road, about 90km from central Auckland. Get here and you'll be rewarded with some of the country's most beautiful white sand, wildlife, walking tracks and rockpools to explore. Bring your tent and stay the night(opens in new window).
A must-do when in New Zealand, you can get to Cathedral Cove by boat, kayak or walking. Take a photo under the stunning, naturally-formed archway before finding a shaded spot for a picnic on the golden sand. If you have time, stop off at another favourite, Hot Water Beach, just 10 minutes drive away.
The chilled-out surf town, shortened to "The Mount" by locals, is the perfect place to unwind in the sunshine. The main beach is consistently voted New Zealand's best for its surf, beachside cafes and seemingly never-ending white sand. Put on your walking shoes and head up Mauao for a spectacular view of the peninsula.
At the other end of the spectrum, is the rugged, remote and wild Wharariki Beach. Perched on the northern-most tip of the South Island, you need to walk across rolling pastures just to get there. Once there, you'll find wildlife, caves, rockpools and huge sand dunes. The best way to explore? On horseback(opens in new window).
There are too many stunning beaches in Nelson Tasman to choose just one. Head to the popular Anchorage Bay for golden sand and beachside camping, visit the beach "New Zealand bought" — Awaroa Beach(opens in new window) — or swim in the turquoise water of Torrent Bay. To truly get away from it all, kayak to Observation Beach and camp(opens in new window) by the water.
There's no better reason to visit Koehoe Beach than to skip along giant rock formations, carved out about 65 million years ago. Each of the Moeraki Boulders, scattered across the sand, weigh several tonnes and are up to two metres high.