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32 Best Auckland Beaches: A Local’s Guide to the Top Spots (2024)

Searching for the ultimate Auckland beaches guide? Well, you found it!

Only in Auckland can you drive two and a half hours, and still. be. in. Auckland. BUT what that means is Aucklanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning beaches. From the black sand of Piha in the west to the golden sand of Te Arai in the north, there’s certainly something for everyone.

Living in Auckland, I’ve had the chance to explore nearly every beach this vast city embraces, from the wild, black sands of Piha to the tranquil, golden stretches of Te Arai and Omaha, my personal favourites.

Being a New Zealander and an Auckland local, I’ve gathered a treasure trove of beachy insights just for you. Auckland is surrounded by water on all sides so we are very lucky that this city has a ton of different beaches to choose from!

32 Best Auckland Beaches, New Zealand

There are beaches for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, fishing, and more. Each beach has its own unique character, and there’s sure to be a beach that’s perfect for everyone.

One of the great things about Auckland’s beaches is that they’re never too crowded. Even on a hot summer day, you can always find a spot to yourself.

So whether you’re looking for a place to relax or a place to get active, Auckland’s beaches are sure to have what you’re looking for.


North Auckland Beaches

1. Takapuna Beach

Takapuna Beach is a popular spot to visit in summer. It’s well known for its white-sand beaches and blue waters. Takapuna Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the summer sun, while also being a popular surf destination.

When you’ve had enough of the water, you can walk, run or cycle along the shoreline. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, so you can grab a bite to eat after a day in the sun.

2. Cheltenham Beach

Cheltenham Beach is always buzzing with activity and is a popular beach destination in summer. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beach which make it a perfect place to spend a day. Cheltenham is also a great place to go for a walk or run as it has a wide path along the beach.

3. Narrowneck Beach

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Located in the North Shore, a short drive from Auckland CBD, Narrowneck Beach is a quieter choice than the likes of Takapuna and Cheltenham.

It’s a narrow stretch of sand (hence the name) with wonderful views of Rangitoto. Established trees provide some much-needed shade along the beachside of the park. There’s lots of space on the grass to find a place to sit and enjoy the view.

I travelled here for sunrise one morning in the summer and it was so nice! There was hardly any other people around.

4. Omaha Bay

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Omaha Bay is one of my all-time favourite beaches in Auckland. Located near Matakana, it’s a little more of a drive but still within reach located just over an hour from the CBD. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip.

The best thing about Omaha Bay is that it’s never too crowded, even on hot summer days which is why I love this beach. There’s plenty of room to spread out and find your own little spot to relax.

I’ve been here countless times and I would recommend parking down the far end of the beach away from the surf club, it’s less crowded here and there are public beach access walkways.

The water is always crystal clear and beautifully warm in the summer months, and the sand is white and soft. It’s the perfect place to spend a lazy day swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. March is one of my favourite times to visit, even though it’s Autumn, the summer in Auckland is long.

On a calm day the bay will be flat enough for a paddleboard so be sure to bring that with you.

5. Te Arai

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If you’re looking for a summer getaway that’s close to home, look no further than Te Arai Beach in Auckland. This stunning spot offers everything you need for a perfect day by the sea.

Located about an hour and a half from Auckland CBD it’s just close enough for a day trip. This is hands down one of my top picks for the best Auckland beaches, the first time I came here I didn’t want to leave, it was that nice!

Te Arai is well known for its clear water and gentle waves, making it a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The beach is also a great place to relax and take in the stunning views.

You can also explore a little bay to the right of the beach which gives me big Italy vibes! On a clear day, you can see all the way to the outer islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

Te Arai is also home to some of Auckland’s best fishing spots. Whether you’re after snapper, kingfish, or something else, you’re sure to find it here.

6. Tawharanui (Anchor Bay)

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If you’re looking for a place to cool off this summer, head to Tawharanui Regional Park in Auckland. Anchor Bay is a popular spot for swimming, and it’s easy to see why.

The water is crystal clear, and the sandy beach is perfect for soaking up the sun. The views are pretty stunning too making it the perfect place to relax and unwind. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit here multiple times (I’ve lost count how many!) and it never disappoints.

Since you have to drive through the regional park to get here it’s quite a different experience to the other Auckland beaches where you pull up to the car park and you’re there.

At low tide you can explore the cave at the end which makes for a great photo spot too!

7. Pakiri Beach

Pakiri Beach is one of Auckland’s most beautiful beaches. It is a secluded beach that is perfect for a day of relaxation. The sand is white and the water is crystal clear.

Enjoy the natural surroundings while bathing in the sunshine. With the beach stretching 14 kilometres long there’s plenty of space to explore and find a peaceful spot to yourself.

Pakiri Beach is also a great place to surf, with waves that are perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding.

Pakiri Beach is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some time in nature.

8. Goat Island Marine Reserve

Goat Island Marine Reserve is one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. Just a short drive from the city, this beautiful spot is perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. I’ve camped here in the summer and it was such a nice location!

Goat Island is home to a huge variety of marine life.

Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive to get up close and personal with the creatures of the ocean. If you would rather stay dry, it’s possible to hire clear kayaks and have a view from above. I would highly recommend doing this, it was such a fun activity and suitable for all ages.

There are plenty of hiking trails to explore too, and the reserve is a great place for birdwatching. Whether you’re looking for adventure or just a chance to relax, Goat Island Marine Reserve is sure to please.

9. Matheson Bay

Matheson Bay is one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. This hidden gem offers stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf. Matheson Bay is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and it’s also a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, and fishing. 

I’ve been coming here with my family ever since I was little and it’s such a nice spot to have a picnic and relax for the afternoon.

At low tide, there are rock pools to explore and there’s lots of lush grass to sit on if you feel like a break from the sand.

The bay has great facilities too with public toilets, changing rooms and an outdoor shower. So if you’re looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate, Matheson Bay should definitely be at the top of your list!

10. Orewa Beach

Orewa Beach is situated just north of the city centre and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views. Orewa Beach is also a great place for swimming, surfing, kayaking and windsurfing.

There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied at Orewa Beach, and the views of the city skyline are pretty cool.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can even walk or cycle all the way from Orewa to Auckland CBD along the scenic coastal path. Or head the other way to reach the likes of Mission Bay, Kohimarama or Saint Heliers. I would highly recommend going for a walk while you’re here, walking along the waterfront is one of my favourite sunny day activities.

11. Long Bay Beach

Nestled within Long Bay Regional Park, this scenic beach is situated on the east coast just north of Auckland CBD, and it’s well known for its long stretches of white sand.

The best part about Long Bay Beach is that it’s never too crowded. Even on the busiest days, you can find a spot to yourself if you’re willing to walk a little bit down the beach.

And on weekdays, you may have the entire beach to yourself! The regional park has some hiking trails you can explore too.

There are also plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants, so you can easily find something to eat after a day of swimming, sunbathing and exploring. Long Bay beach is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the incredible scenery of Auckland.

Auckland City Beaches

12. Karaka Bay

Karaka Bay is Auckland’s best-kept secret. This secluded spot is located just a short drive from the city, within the suburb of Glendowie. If you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t even know it’s there which makes it the perfect place within the central suburbs to escape the hustle and bustle.

To get there, you have to walk down a steep hill through some pretty mature trees. But once you get to the beach, it’s totally worth it. The views are amazing and it’s such a peaceful spot. Just be prepared for the hike back up! 

If you want to head down to this spot for a swim, I would make sure you go at high tide. As far as central Auckland beaches go, Karaka Bay is my top pick for when I want to cool off on a hot summer’s day.

Swimming at low tide isn’t really recommended (by me anyway) as due to the gradual slope of the shoreline, you’d have to walk out quite a way in order for the water to be deep enough for a decent paddle. But it would still be a nice shady spot under the trees for a picnic

If you just want to chill out and enjoy being near the water while escaping the business of Saint Heliers or Kohimarama, there’s a stretch of grass area with lots of room to lay down your towel or picnic rug.

This spot is slowly becoming more well known by other Aucklanders so, in the peak of summer on a nice weekend day, you probably want to get here earlyish.

13. St Heliers Beach

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Out of the three beaches dotted along Central Auckland’s busy waterfront, St Heliers would be my favourite. Like Kohimarama it is pretty family-oriented so naturally, it has a pretty chill vibe but it’s a bit larger so there’s more to do when you’ve decided you want a break from the beach.

It’s a great place to come for a swim, relax on the sand, or take a walk along the scenic waterfront. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset on a warm summer evening.

I’ve been coming to this beach as long as I can remember, it wasn’t uncommon for our family to end up here after school on a Friday during the summer. My grandma also lives directly across from this beach so I have spent quite a lot of time here over the years!

Nowadays I still often find myself down here with a picnic rug and some fish and chips with friends.

14. Mission Bay Beach

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day out in Auckland, you can’t go past Mission Bay Beach. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Auckland and probably the most famous beach in Auckland (aside from Piha).

This popular seaside spot has something for everyone, from swimming and sunbathing to walking and picnicking. I’ve been to this beach more time than I can count, I actually lived in Mission Bay for awhile which I enjoyed.

Mission Bay is home to a decent number of restaurants, and cafes so when you’re feeling a bit peckish, just pop across the road for a snack or a meal. Good George is a favourite spot of mine with a great view, great food and great craft beer!

Mission Bay is also a great place to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the city skyline and Rangitoto Island. The boardwalk allows you to take a stroll in either direction, either towards Kohimarama or Orakei.

15. Kohimarama Beach

Kohimarama boasts a lovely setting, with a beautiful view of Rangitoto Island. Located next to the Kohimarama Yacht Club it’s a location for many small boat races.

The water is generally pretty calm, making it perfect for swimming, boating, and stand-up paddleboarding. On a windy day, you’ll also find people out kitesurfing.

I love Kohimarama because its a great place to relax and soak up the sun, it’s very family-oriented and with not as many food options nearby it’s a little quieter than the busy Mission Bay. Kohimarama with its laid-back feel is definitely worth a visit.

Again I’ve been coming to this beach for as long as I can remember thanks to having lived in the area, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been here!

16. Point Chevalier Beach

This little slice of paradise is a true inner-city escape. It offers stunning views of the harbour and the skyline, making it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Point Chevalier Beach is also a great spot for swimming, boating, and fishing.

Similar to most Central Auckland beaches though, it’s best for swimming at high tide. This is because the sand at the beaches in Central Auckland isn’t as good as you’ll find in other parts of Auckland so do keep that in mind if you’re visiting at low tide.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, so you can always get something to eat or drink.

Otherwise, pack a picnic with you, there’s some shade and grass area towards the southern end of the beach. And if you’re looking for a place to stay, there are several hotels and apartments in the area.

17. Herne Bay Beach

Herne Bay Beach is one of the best places to visit in Auckland. This secluded spot is located just a short drive from the city centre, and it offers stunning views of the harbour. Herne Bay is also a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

The beach is well-maintained and there are plenty of facilities nearby in this affluent suburb, making it the perfect place to spend a day in the sun.

So if you’re looking for a beautiful place to spend a day in Central Auckland, be sure to add Herne Bay Beach to your list!

West Auckland Beaches

18. Piha Beach

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If you’re looking for a more wild and rugged beach experience, then Piha is the place for you. With its distinctive black sand and crashing waves, Piha is one of Auckland’s most famous beaches. Piha rescue anyone?

Piha Beach is also a great spot for surfing, but with strong waves, I would only recommend this for experienced surfers. If you’re not so confident on a surfboard then best to just stick to swimming, that’s what I usually do.

Be careful not to go out too deep though. Piha can be quite a dangerous beach with strong currents and rips. The beach is patrolled but even then it’s important to have your wits about you, the conditions can change quickly so be sure to swim between the flags.

Due to its prime west coast location, you’ll find the best sunsets at Piha Beach so if you’re venturing out here, I would highly recommend planning to stay for the day so you can make the most of it. You will need to bring food and drink with you as there are no shops or cafes out this way.

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You can also enjoy hiking at Piha Beach if you feel like being a bit more active, the gorgeous KiteKite Falls is located just over the road and is worth a visit. With its stunning views and wide range of activities, Piha Beach is a must-visit destination in Auckland.

19. Bethells Beach

Similar to Piha, Bethells Beach boasts some stunning black sand. In fact, basically, all west coast beaches in Auckland are black sand beaches.

Bethells Beach is also a great place to relax and unwind, with plenty of room to sunbathe or take a leisurely stroll. It’s often less busy than popular Piha so if you’re something a bit more secluded, Bethells is the spot for you.

The beach is surrounded by lush native bush, and there are plenty of walks to explore. It’s a popular spot for photographers and it won’t take you long to figure out why.

20. Karekare Beach

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Karekare is a great place to simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of New Zealand. The black sand and dramatic cliffs create a stunning backdrop, and the surf is perfect for those experienced surfers who are willing to take on the challenging waves.

Karekare is also located within close proximity to some of Auckland’s best hiking trails, making it the perfect place to spend a day in nature.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore the surrounding area, Karekare is sure to have something for everyone.

21. Muriwai Beach

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Situated on the west coast of the city, Muriwai Beach offers stunning views of the Tasman Sea. It is one of the most popular surf beaches in Auckland, and it’s easy to see why.

Muriwai has consistent rolling waves and plenty of space which makes it a great spot for surfers of all experience levels, even beginners. Like Piha, the beach is patrolled during the summer months.

The beach is a great place for swimming and windsurfing, and it’s perfect for a sunset stroll or picnic. Muriwai Beach is also home to a colony of gannets, which can be seen nesting on the cliffs.

If you’re looking for a beautiful beach to relax and take in the scenery, Muriwai Beach is definitely worth a visit.

22. Anawhata Beach

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I discovered Anawhata Beach a few years ago and I’ve gotta admit, it’s probably my favourite west coast Auckland beach. It certainly is a hidden gem and a well-kept secret.

You won’t find any crowds here, it’s a lot quieter than the neighbouring beaches and the scenery is just stunning. Access is only by foot and there aren’t any facilities.

To get here you’ll head down a gravel road, then come to a parking lot that has a pretty incredible view over the beach itself.

From here there’s a track that will take you down to the beach, it isn’t difficult going down but coming back up be prepared to get that heart rate up and a bit of a sweat on. It’ll take you around 20 minutes each way.

The beach itself is pretty exposed and due to it being unpatrolled, swimmers are advised to stick to the patrolled beaches however dipping your toes in certainly won’t hurt.

It’s still a stunning beach to visit, regardless of whether you go in the water or not. I will happily come back here again and again.

South Auckland Beaches

23. Clarks Beach

With gorgeous panoramic views of the Manukau harbour, Clarks Beach is worth stopping by when you find yourself in South Auckland.

With its long expanse of white sand, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing and kitesurfing. There is no surf at this beach so it’s great for paddling and for kids.

Clarks Beach is also great for fishing, with plenty of good spots for casting a line.

Low tide is when you can scramble around the rocks and explore more of the area. Just be sure to check the tide times so you plan enough time and don’t get stuck.

Clarks Beach is known as one of the few beaches you can collect scallops at low tide by hand so you’ll have something to keep you occupied no matter what the tide is doing.

24. Orua Bay

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Located in Awhitu Peninsula, Orua Bay is my favourite spot to head down to for a dip in South Auckland. The sandy beach is long and golden. At high tide, it’s a gorgeous swimming spot and on a clear day, you can even spot the sky tower in the distance!

The views are incredible and it is so secluded, I wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourselves to be the only ones on the beach, even in summer. It has a certain ruggedness about it too, almost like stepping back in time.

When the tide is low, enjoy a walk round to Wattle Bay and beyond if time allows. There are some stunning bays to explore, so remote that I don’t even know if they have a name!

If you’re lucky, you might spot some seals basking in the sun. I haven’t been lucky enough to see some yet but my boyfriend has when he was out on a walk one day, and I’ve seen video proof so I know they’re there!

There truly isn’t another place like it, we are super lucky to have a house in the area and get to spend a lot of time here.

25. Awhitu Regional Park Beach

A gorgeous little hidden beach within the Regional Park that is only accessible by foot, Awhitu Regional Park Beach is a must-visit. I was so surprised the first time I stumbled upon this beach because I had no idea it was there!

The Regional Park is a beautiful place to explore, with a few walks you can do and the beach is definitely worth a visit while you’re there. The beach is a great place to swim, sunbathe, and just enjoy the incredible views.

Like Orua Bay, this spot is incredibly secluded. The peacefulness that comes with this is really quite serene. It’s hard to put into words so it’s a place you’ll just need to go and experience for yourself. It’s worth the journey, trust me.

26. Karioitahi Beach

Karioitahi is well known for its black sand, which is a result of the iron-rich volcanic rocks that make up the coastline. The black sand, native bush and amazing views make it a must-see for any visitor or local to the city.

With some accommodation options nearby Karioitahi is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind. There are some restaurants and cafes nearby in Waiuku, about an 8km drive away, as well as some fantastic walks and cycle routes.

If you’re looking for a day of relaxation or a weekend adventure, be sure to visit Karioitahi Beach.

27. Hamiltons Gap

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Hamiltons Gap makes the list as one of the best beaches in Auckland because it has some of the most amazing scenery, quite unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Although it’s not as well known as some of the other tourist spots in the city, it’s definitely worth a visit.

This stretch of coastline is truly your rugged west coast beach, but even more so than the likes of Piha Beach and Bethells Beach. There are stunning huge cliffs and sand dunes along the shoreline which contrast against the sparkly black sand.

Due to its remoteness, this beach is unpatrolled so take extra care if you decide to go for a dip. The conditions can get pretty rough.

Even if you don’t go swimming it’s a great place for a stroll along the sand. There’s even a freedom camping site here for self-contained vehicles.

East Auckland Beaches

28. Maraetai Beach

Maraetai Beach is a popular summer destination for Aucklanders, with lots of choices for swimming and picnic spots. You’ll find some shade under the pohutukawa trees when the sun gets too hot.

There’s also plenty of fishing to be had at Maraetai Beach, and the views out to sea are simply stunning.

There’s a beautiful walk you can take from Maraetai Beach to Magazine Bay wharf. You’ll mainly walk across white-shell beaches with some paved paths and boardwalks in between.

Take in the gorgeous views along the way, if it’s a clear day you may even be able to spot the Coromandel Peninsula.

So whether you’re looking for a day of fun in the sun or just a place to relax and soak up the atmosphere, Maraetai Beach is the perfect destination.

29. Bucklands Beach

Located 13 kilometres east of the CBD, Bucklands Beach is nestled with the suburb of Howick. There’s Big Bucklands on the north side and Little Bucklands on the south side, both pretty similar to one another.

Bucklands Beach is great for swimming, boating and taking in the gorgeous views. You’ll often be able to watch the yachts sailing along the Tamaki River. With three cafes and an outdoor bowling club, it’s a great place to spend the day.

At the end of Bucklannds Beach Peninsula you’ll find Musick Point, the road through the Howick Golf Course will lead you to the Reserve where you can relax and enjoy the park, or explore and discover the lookouts that will give you awesome 270-degree views of the Hauraki Gulf.

Waiheke Island Beaches

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Now popping over to the picturesque Waiheke Island does involve jumping on the ferry but as it’s still technically Auckland, of course, these stunning beaches had to make the list.

Waiheke is perfect for just a day trip and there’s a lot to see but to make the most of your time on the island, why not make a weekend of it and book a place to stay?

30. Oneroa Beach

As one of the most popular beaches on Waiheke Island, Oneroa Beach certainly does not disappoint. With gorgeous blue water and white sand, Oneroa is one of my favourite Auckland New Zealand beaches that can’t be missed!

Of course it’s fantastic for swimming at all times of the day and with it’s long and flat stretch of sand it’s perfect for walking. The water is relatively calm with no big waves, making it a safe spot for a paddle.

If it’s a particularly windy or stormy day do take care though as this will cause any exposed beach to become a bit rougher than normal.

Located within easy walking distance to the village this beach is very accessible, especially for those who haven’t got a car with them. Simply catch the bus from the ferry terminal to the village and you’ll be just about there.

When you get hungry, there are plenty of food and drink options to keep you satisfied.

31. Onetangi Beach

Onetangi is known as Waiheke Island’s longest beach. Stretching 2km long there’s plenty of space even in the busy summer months. You’ll find some stunning views at Onetangi as the beach looks out to Great Barrier and Little Barrier Island.

At this scenic location, you’ll be greeted with golden sand that meets the gentle ocean, which provides a safe swimming spot to spend those hot summer days.

Cafe bars on the waterfront will keep you occupied and allow you to spend an entire day here. Toilets and changing rooms are available at the beach too if you need to change out of your wet togs before embarking back on the ferry.

32. Palm Beach

On the northern side of the island is where you’ll find the beautiful Palm Beach. The waves are calm, the water blue, and the sand golden making it the perfect beach to relax at.

To get here using public transport, just take the No 2 bus running between Matiatia – Palm Beach – Rocky Bay.

The Palm Beach store sells ice creams and a range of other goods. Arcadia Cafe is located here too, and offers some delicious food options.

At Palm Beach, you’ll find everything you need to make your day trip to the beach a success – gas BBQs, picnic tables, a playground and some toilets.

While you’re here, spot the giant phoenix palms – this is how Palm Beach got its name.

Wrap Up – Auckland’s Best Beaches to Swim At This Summer

And there you have it! 32 of the best beaches in Auckland. Even though we Aucklanders get a bit of a bad wrap sometimes, oh how lucky I am to have SO many awesome beaches within an hour and a half drive.

Pretty darn cool I’d say.

Make it your mission to visit some of these beautiful spots this summer, or even autumn cause let’s be honest, it really doesn’t start getting cold until April these days. We are fortunate to enjoy some rather long summers in Auckland and this year has been an absolute pearler!

How many of these Auckland beaches have you ticked off your summer bucket list?

When you need a break from beach time, there are plenty of other things to see and do in Auckland. It’s a great city to live in!

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