One of the best things about New Zealand is the fact that we are completely surrounded by water! New Zealand's coastlines is littered with beaches, and we tend to forget other countries don’t have this luxury.

Whether you’re wanting a swim, day trip, picnic, photoshoot, surf, or just a stroll, New Zealand’s beaches can provide everything you want.

Check out the list of our favourite beaches!

Maitai Bay, Northland

Maitai Bay's has clean and clear water with soft white sand making it the ultimate summer escape. The bay is great for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and just simply relaxing.

If you want to stay at Maitai Bay, check out the nearby campsite, decorated with New Zealand’s native pōhutukawa trees (also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree). Pōhutukawa are known for their beautiful bright red flowers, that typically blossom from November through util early January.

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Matai-Bay Image credit: Flickr

Anchor Bay, Tawharanui

One of Auckland's best-kept secret, Tawharanui Regional Park is located around 90km from central Auckland at the end of a long gravel road. The drive is definitely worth the reward though.

Anchor Bay is so much more than a beach. The Tawharanui Regional Park offers some of the country's best beaches, wildlife, walking tracks, and rock pools to explore all in one place. You can even bring a tent and stay the night.

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Anchor-Bay-2 Image credit:

New Chums Beach, Coromandel

Hidden away in the Coromandel you will find New Chum Beach, voted one of the world's top beaches. This beach is protected and has no buildings, roads, infrastructure or camping. It is a jewel in New Zealand's coastal crown.

This beach has won multiple awards including a spot on The Observer's list of Top 20 Best Deserted Beaches in 2006 and Conde Nast Traveller Must-Do list too.

From the northern side of Whangapoua Beach, a 30-40 minute along the shoreline and over the headland via the Mangakahia Drive track will lead you to New Chums. Shuttle transfers are available to New Chums Beach from Coromandel Town with Coromandel Adventures.

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New-Chums Image credit: Reddit

Matapouri Bay, Northland

Matapouri Bay is a white-sand beach found on the Tutukaka Coast just north of Whangarei. The beach has playful waves with a calm and peaceful estuary, both of which are desirable swimming spots. It’s set in a friendly beach community, complete with an ice cream shop only 300m from the beach.

At low tide the beach reveals one of its most stunning features: the Mermaid Pools, a series of picturesque rock pools which are ideal for swimming. There are several lush coastal bush walks and secret coves nearby.

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Matapouri-Bay-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Whale Bay, Northland

Also part of the Tutukaka Coast, Whale Bay is the place to relax and enjoy some of New Zealand’s most pristine white sands surrounded by lush forest scenery.

The perfect spot for picnics, swimming, and snorkelling. The only catch, there's no road access. Instead, there is a scenic walkway from the Whale Bay carpark, which takes around 15-20 minutes. The walk itself is magnificent and once you get to the beach it will be well worth the journey.

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Whale-Bay Image credit: Shutterstock

Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson

There are too many stunning beaches in the Abel Tasman National Park to choose just one.

Head to the popular Anchorage Bay for golden sand and beachside camping, visit the beach "New Zealand bought", Awaroa Beach, swim in the turquoise water of Torrent Bay, or check out the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach.

To truly get away from it all, kayak to Observation Beach and camp by the water.

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Image credit: Shutterstock

Koekohe Beach, Hampden

Home to the world-famous Moeraki Boulders, Koekohe Beach showcases the mysteriously spherical rocks, attracting over 300,00 vistors a year.

The beach and boulders make for a great photo, especially at sunrise and sunset when the perpendicular light strikes the rocks.

Koekohe was the only New Zealand Beach to make the BIG7 50 Best Beaches in the World 2019 list, coming in at 44th.

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Koekohe-Beach-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Piha, Auckland

Piha is one of the most iconic beaches on Auckland’s west coast. The beach offers a rugged landscape of black sand, powerful wave swells, and a stunning backdrop.

The swells make Piha a very desirable surfing destination like many of Auckland's wild west coast beaches. Only an hour from the Auckland city centre, enjoy a picnic on the warm sand while watching experienced surfers take on the mighty waves.

Please be warned, these waters are wild and very dangerous. This is not the beach for a relaxing swim, especially if you are not a confident swimmer. Stick to the shallows and stay safe.

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Piha-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

An iconic destination when in New Zealand, accessible by water taxi, kayak or walking. Offering the chance to take a photo under the stunning, naturally formed archway. The beach has great shade thanks to its pohutukawa trees, offering a great spot for a picnic and swim in the summer.

It takes 45 minutes to walk from the top carpark to Cathedral Cove. Note, the car park can be very busy over the summer and expect plenty of people on the main path.

When you're in the area, make sure to check out the neighbouring Hahei Beach, and Hot Water Beach (which is just a 10 minute drive from Hahei)

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Cathedral-Cove-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Mount Maunganui Main Beach, Bay of Plenty

Mount Maunganui, “The Mount”, is a surf town only a 15-20 minute drive from Tauranga. It is a very relaxing place to unwind in the sunshine.

The main beach has consistently been voted New Zealand's best beach for its surf, seemingly white sand, and its beachside cafes. "The Mount" offers an all-round great experience.

The walk up Mauao (Mount Maunganui) to the summit showcases a spectacular view of the peninsula (as seen below).

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The-Mount-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Wainui Beach, Gisborne

Wainui Beach is found on the East Coast of the central North Island. It is one of Gisborne’s top surfing destinations offering consistent left and right-hand breaks, along with good swimming conditions, and lots of scenic picnic spots.

Due to its eastern location, Wainui is one of the first places in the world to see the sunrise each day.

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Wainui-Beach-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Head to the 'far north' and check out Ninety Mile Beach, which is only 55 miles long, for some swimming, bodyboarding, or surfcasting. The beach begins just north of Kaitaia and stretches towards Cape Reinga.

The beach is officially a road, so you can drive on it! But be warned, as the beach is only suitable for 4WDs.

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Ninety-Mile-Beach Image credit: Shutterstock

Castlepoint Beach, Wairarapa

Castlepoint Beach is located in the wider Wellington Region, on the Wairarapa coast, around a 50 minute drive from Masterton.

The beach attracts large summer crowds due to its historic lighthouse (one of the last two remaining beam houses in the country). Castlepoint has a photogenic lagoon, rocky fishing spots and highly-regarded surf breaks.

If you’re walking up to the lighthouse, make sure to keep an eye out for, and respect the native seabirds and fur seals that call the area home.

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Castlepoint-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

Wharariki Beach, Nelson

Wharariki Beach is rugged, remote, and wild. Perched on the northern-most tip of the South Island, west of Cape Farewell, you need to walk across rolling pastures just to get there. The walking track takes approximately 20 minutes.

The best time to visit is at low tide when you can walk the length of the beach, see the wildlife, caves, rock pools, and sand dunes.

The sea at Wharariki Beach is wild and it is remote. Its best just to explore the land here and take in the scenery.

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Wharariki-Beach-1 Image credit: Shutterstock

St. Clair & St. Kilda Beaches, Dunedin

Although named separately, St. Clair & St. Kilda Beaches are one contiguous beach. The two names are given to different areas of the beach.

There is nothing between these white sandy beaches and the Antarctic to the south. St Clair Beach is great for surfing and chilling in the sun, and is just minutes from the central city.

The waterfront is lined with cafes and bars, providing a great place to sit and admire the view of the Southern Ocean.

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St-Clair---St-Kilda-1 Image credit: Expedia