Perched on the stunning coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the country’s largest city is much more than an urban escape. The Auckland area is host to fantastic stretches of sand, perfect for a dose of seaside splendor—all without venturing too far outside the city limits.
With more than 80 beaches to choose from, there is no shortage of amazing sandy spots too. From hidden coves to vibrant shore destinations buzzing with activity, the beaches near Auckland all have one thing in common; sheer beauty. Whether you’re in search of watersport adventures, secluded havens, or a photographer’s paradise, there’s a beach for every interest.
Relish in the lush natural surroundings of Auckland and nearby islands where active opportunities like hiking, surfing, and kayaking allow visitors to embrace the outdoors from the coast. Explore these top Auckland beaches during your New Zealand getaway.
Head to Waiheke Island’s largest swath of sand, just a 45-minute ferry ride from the city of Auckland. The wide beach stretches for a little over one mile and is a popular spot for walking, picnicking, sunbathing, and dining along the shimmering white sands.
Enjoy sprawling views over the Hauraki Gulf, and out to the nearby Great Barrier and Little Barrier islands. Onetangi Beach is a favorite beach destination for locals and visitors alike.
Waiheke Island is known for its walking trails and wineries and for being home to some of the best beaches in New Zealand. Venture along the “Hidden Gems Path” for a different vantage point of Onetangi Beach and surrounding cliffs. Choose to do a portion of the trail or the full hour-long walk which features native forest such as pōhutukawa trees and nīkau forest.
Wine enthusiasts will find idyllic vineyards in close proximity to the beach as well. Indulge in local fare and sample wine varietals after a few hours at the beach for the perfect day on Waiheke Island.
Mission Bay Beach
For a lively stretch of sand located just outside of Auckland’s downtown area, Mission Bay Beach delivers in a big way. In fact, it’s possible to walk to the beach from downtown via a scenic coastal pathway where you’ll be rewarded with views over the Hauraki Gulf and the skyline of one of the best cities in New Zealand.
The four-mile trail takes approximately 45 minutes and offers fantastic photo opportunities. Unobstructed views of nearby Rangitoto Island, a delicious café with famous fish and chips, as well as popular picnic and park areas, make this a favorite seaside spot.
Mission Bay is also known for its trio of bronze fountains that shoot water up to almost 40 feet toward the sky. Make sure to stop and see this main attraction near the beach.
Stretch your legs with a stroll or a run along the sand, bask in the sun, cool off with a swim, or simply lounge and watch all the action from your relaxed perch. There’s always something going on at Mission Bay Beach, one of the best beaches in Auckland.
Anchor Bay Beach
Venture a little over an hour north of Auckland and find your feet in the sand of Anchor Bay Beach, a seaside gem located in Tawharanui Regional Park. The secluded atmosphere and rustic, natural scenery are ideal for hiking and photography enthusiasts. The combination of walking trails, viewpoints, birdlife, and gorgeous blue water make Anchor Bay Beach a true explorer’s paradise. On the beach, take in the striking scenery, dip in the water, or tackle the surf. The pristine water at Anchor Bay is known to be a great spot for swimming and the waves are perfect for beginner surfers.
Although this stretch of sand is popular, there’s plenty of room to spread out. The beach itself is divided into two sections by rocks, although it’s easy to walk to either side. If you feel like stretching your legs, explore the trails and viewpoints to take photos and see native flora and fauna such as the flowering pōhutukawa trees.
Keep an eye out for New Zealand bird species like Tuis as well. A trip to Anchor Bay Beach promises to be a memorable one and shouldn’t be missed during your time in Auckland.
Long Bay Beach
Situated approximately half an hour north of downtown Auckland, Long Bay Beach is part of a gorgeous nature reserve. Activities like swimming, sports, kite-flying, barbecuing, and relaxing are popular at this stretch of sand.
Stroll the expansive shoreline to take in the scenery; it’s best at low tide when you can walk the entire beach. If you’d like to walk at high tide, or uncover a different vantage point, a trail meanders the cliffs above the beach as well, presenting a breathtaking vista overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. A longer, hour-and-a-half hike will land you at the Okura River, too.
Adventure through the underwater world here; the reefs within the park’s marine reserve provide a snorkeler’s playground. You could encounter marine life such as stingrays and snapper here.
The park is also host to the family cottage of the first settlers, the Ngäti Kahu tribal group, which has been restored by the Torbay Historical Society. The Vaughan Homestead houses a small museum that can be visited, too.
Admire Victorian architecture while visiting one of Auckland’s best beaches. Lined with gorgeous Victorian homes, Cheltenham Beach is situated on the coast of Devonport, a suburb of Auckland with abundant charm.
Panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf and island of Rangitoto offer a beautiful backdrop for a leisurely day at the beach. Calm water is ideal for swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. Try the trail that departs from the beach in search of even more impressive views from the top of the North Head Historic Reserve.
This is a great spot to take photographs of the surrounding area; Waitemata Harbor, downtown Auckland, and neighboring islands are some of the scenic highlights.
Leave some time to explore the classic Kiwi town of Devonport too, where you can enjoy boutiques, cafés, ice cream, and antique shops. The historic township has been well-preserved, with colonial cottages, large regal homes, and links to its heritage.
Experience New Zealand’s most famous surf beach and one of Auckland’s most celebrated stretches of sand. Situated on the west coast, Piha Beach can be visited with a 45-minute drive from Auckland.
The large expanse of sand will feel uncrowded, even if it’s busy. Historically, Piha is known to be where Malibu board riding in New Zealand started. The beach also hosted the first surf boat race in the country in the 1930s.
The scenery alone is worth the effort, so make sure you have your camera in tow. The contrast of black sand and deep blue Tasman Sea, with dramatic cliffs to top it all off, will have you feeling as if you’ve arrived in a real-life postcard.
Better still, the beach is located at the edge of the Waitakere Ranges, a protected natural area with subtropical forest and myriad hiking tracks. Marvel at Lion Rock, the beach’s most iconic feature perched in the midst of the shoreline, acting as a divider between the sandy sections.
You don’t have to be a surfing enthusiast to enjoy all that this beach has to offer, though those skilled at the sport will consider navigating this surf break a bucket-list moment.
The notorious swell is recommended only for advanced surfers. Whether you go to Piha Beach to surf or to watch surfing, it’s bound to be a memorable day.
Point Chevalier Beach
For a dose of fun in the sun without leaving the Auckland city limits, venture to Point Chevalier Beach. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, this stretch of sand is adjacent to Coyle Park on the scenic harbor.
Plenty of shade and calm water for swimming makes this a seaside destination appealing to every type of beachgoer. A boat launch and a quaint cafe add to the allure of this destination. Stroll the sands, take a swim, and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at this beautiful coastal gem.
The laid-back atmosphere provides the perfect place to relax and unwind. If you’re lucky enough to visit at high tide, you’ll be treated to the iconic crescent shape that the beach takes on, creating a backdrop for wonderful photos. Point Chevalier Beach is one of the best beaches in Auckland.
Venture to another well-loved Auckland North Shore suburb to enjoy some beach-infused fun. Takapuna Beach is located north of Devonport, approximately 15 minutes from downtown Auckland.
This vibrant stretch of sand is ideal for swimming in the calm waters, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and walking. Enjoy watching boats bob in the scenic harbor, have a bite to eat at the local cafes, or pop into some of the shops to browse for souvenirs.
If you’d like to stretch your legs further, embark on the North Shore walk towards Milford Beach to absorb the spectacular coastal landscape. The trail stretches just a little over a mile and is full of beautiful views along the rugged coastline and volcanic rock.
Head to Takapuna Beach yourself and discover why it’s a North Shore favorite.
Te Henga (Bethell’s Beach)
Another ruggedly beautiful west coast treasure, Te Henga, (Bethell’s Beach) is approximately 40 minutes from the heart of Auckland. This stunning stretch is known as one of the best black sand beaches in the world, lined with exciting natural attractions including caves and sand dunes.
The rough surf is recommended only for strong swimmers, but the remote atmosphere of Te Henga provides a serene setting to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Walk the hiking track that connects Te Henga to Muriwai Beach in O’Neill Bay for more wondrous views of the wild west coast. Venture along the one-mile cliff-top trail complete with boardwalks and bridges for a true New Zealand adventure. Discover a second, tranquil beach when you end at Muriwai, where you might even spot some of the resident colony of gannets.
Ocean Beach, Motuihe Island
Rich with Maori and later, military history, Motuihe Island is a destination to get away from it all, only 45 minutes from Auckland. Clear water, sheltered beaches, and walking tracks through unspoiled landscapes make venturing to this small island a fun outdoor exploit.
Laze on the white-sand shores of Ocean Beach, the closest stretch of sand to the wharf where the ferry boats dock. Read a book, bask in the sun, or get some exercise with a cool swim in the water. Ocean Beach is one of the best beaches in the Hauraki Gulf islands.
Head out on the grassy walking trails for incredible vistas of Motuihe and the surrounding islands, the sparkling gulf waters, and Auckland. The Tieke Bush Track is a good all-around option, where you’ll have the opportunity to take in the view of Wharf Bay and spot native birds such as Kiwis, Tui, and Tuataras along the way. This path can be accessed from the wharf and the beach.
Uncover one of the area’s best beaches about an hour north of Auckland, at picturesque Te Haruhi Bay. Located in Shakespear Regional Park on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, this stretch of sand delivers in a big way with views, walking tracks, and that secluded beach feel we all crave.
Swimming and kitesurfing are popular activities, and there are barbeque and picnic facilities to enjoy a seaside meal after you work up an appetite. A mix of grassy, shaded areas and sunny sand spots make for a comfortable day at the beach.
Embark on a portion of The Heritage Trail where historical points of interest from WWII combined with panoramic views and native bird spotting will leave you speechless.
Is Auckland close to the beach?
Auckland has several of its own beaches within the city limits, as well as a treasure trove of sandy spots within an hour’s drive or ferry boat ride. The city’s coastal location makes it easy to spend time by the sea, whether venturing to nearby islands, exploring small northern coast towns, or sticking close to the heart of downtown.
How many beaches does Auckland have?
Auckland has more than 80 gorgeous beaches, each with its own incredible features.
Uncover the magic of New Zealand’s North Island beaches surrounding the country’s metropolitan hub of Auckland. A cruise is a fantastic way to explore the top Auckland beaches. Whether you’re looking to stick close to the city or venture a little further, there’s a gorgeous stretch of sand to fit the bill.
Browse our luxury cruises to Auckland and book your New Zealand beach getaway today.