December 2018: North Island beach break
New Zealand has a bit of a reputation for full-on adventuring, hiking and adrenaline activities. Sometimes your clients want a bit of “me” time. This month we take a look at some of the best beaches across the North Island that can be easily weaved into any itinerary.
Where: Tutukaka, Northland
Matapouri Bay, a ten-minute drive from Tutukaka, is a slice of New Zealand paradise. The coastal part of this horseshoe shaped bay boasts stretches of immaculate white sand and lucent blue waters. When the tide is low, the ‘Mermaid Pools’ appear in the rocky outlets and are perfect for a relaxing swim.
Where: West Auckland, Auckland
Piha is popular with experienced surfers, but it’s also a wonderful spot for picnics, relaxing walks and swims – under the watchful eye of the famous Piha Surf Club. See Lion Rock, a small island that stands in the middle of the beach.
Where: Raglan, Waikato
Ngarunui is the main sandy swimming beach in Raglan. A magnificent blacksand beach ideal for swimming or sunbathing on the sand. For those wanting to learn a new skill, it’s a great spot to learn to surf.
Where: Whangapoua, Coromandel
Hidden away on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Chum Beach is only accessible by foot. The 30-minute track from Whangapoua Beach is well worth the journey. You’ll be rewarded by complete isolation on a golden stretch of sand fringed by Pohutukawa and native forest. This protected beach has no buildings, roads or infrastructure – it is a jewel in New Zealand’s coastal crown.
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. A short 10-minute drive away is Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pool metres from the refreshing Pacific Ocean.
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
Where: Mount Manganui, Bay of Plenty
‘The Mount’ is the ultimate summer destination. With perfect white sand and thundering waves, you won’t find a better place to swim, surf, sunbathe and socialise. Surfers and boogie boarders love the Main Beach and it’s also a great spot for people watching.
Where: Tairāwhiti Gisborne
Tairāwhiti Gisborne has some of the most consistent surf in New Zealand and lots of beaches to choose from. Great surf, safe swimming and golden sand aptly describes Makorori Beach. Ideal for picnic, relaxing, and snorkelling in the rock pools. Visit the next bay, Tatapouri, for the opportunity to snorkel with Stingrays with Dive Tatapouri (between January and March).
Where: Hastings, Hawkes Bay
Waimarama Beach is one of the many hidden gems of Hawke’s Bay. It’s long stretches of golden sandy beach are ideal for walking, jogging, swimming, surfing and fishing. Waimarama is also home to Hakikino – where there was once a mighty fortress protecting a settlement of several thousand people. You can book tours of this historic site with Waimarama Maori Tours.
Need a break from the cbd? To the east you’ll find the small but perfectly formed Scorching Bay. Arguably the most stunning beach in Wellington, it’s a favourite spot for a picnic, a game of beach cricket or just hanging out in the sun. Great coffee and ice-cream can be found at the bay’s resident café, Scorch-O-Rama.