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.
1. Maitai Bay, Northland
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. Or for a short break from the beach, visit New Zealand's northernmost vineyard and winery Karikari Estate(opens in new window) and try out some of their wines from Chardonnay to Syrah.
For the outdoor lovers, sleep under the stars at the Maitai Bay 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). If you're after something a little lusher, check in at Carrington Estate(opens in new window), a luxurious 3000-acre estate on the pristine and picturesque Karikari Peninsula.
2. Ninety Mile Beach, Northland
If you're feeling a bit more energetic, head to Ninety Mile Beach for some bodyboarding, horseriding, blokarting or surfcasting. Officially a highway, the beach is only suitable for 4WD so catch a coach tour from Kaitaia or Paihia.
With plenty of accommodation options around, you can stay the night and get even more out of the beach! Rarawa Beach campsite(opens in new window) is about 30 minutes drive away or for somewhere a little closer, stay at Hukatere Lodge(opens in new window) - a secluded eco-accommodation that is power and water self-sufficient, nestled on the west coast of the Aupouri Peninsula in the Far North of New Zealand.
Did you know? Ninety Mile Beach is actually around 55 miles (88km) long!
3. Tāwharanui Regional Park, Auckland
Often called Auckland's best-kept secret, Tāwharanui Regional Parklocated at the end of a long gravel road, about 90 kilometres from central Auckland. Get here and you'll be rewarded with some of the country's most beautiful white sand, wildlife, walking tracks and rock pools to explore. Bring your tent and stay the night at Tāwharanui campground(opens in new window).
One of Auckland's wild west coast beaches, Piha is known for its black sand, big waves and the formidable Lion Rock - an island in the sea. Only an hour from the city, enjoy a picnic on the warm sand while watching experienced surfers tackle the thundering waves. There are also several walks around the area that take you through native forest in the surrounding hills and make sure you check out the beautiful Kitekite Falls.
A must-visit when in New Zealand, Cathedral Cove is accessible 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.
By the chilled-out surf town, shortened to "The Mount" by locals, Maunganui Beach 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 (Mount Maunganui) for a spectacular view of the peninsula.
7. Wharariki Beach, Nelson Tasman
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'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.
Did you know?There are over 50 boulders along Koekohe Beach.