Embrace the looonnngggg weekend and hit the open roads to check out some of the best beaches within driving range of Auckland. All you need now is the sunscreen, an epic playlist and roadie snacks.
Located 45 minutes south of Auckland City, you’ll find the sheltered white sand beaches that make up the Pohutukawa Coast. Named after the plentiful native trees in the area, the coastline comes into it’s own in summer when the flowers are in bloom. Great for the whole family—Maraetai is safe for swimming, has grass verges to picnic on and a playground. If you’re lucky enough to have a boat, there’s a boat ramp next to the beach too.
Tawharanui Regional Park
The long sandy beaches of Tawharanui Regional Park are considered to be some of the best swimming and surfing spots Auckland has to offer. About 80 minutes north of the city, the regional park was once a large private farm covering the end of the peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, Tawharanui is now open to the public and we couldn’t be happier. Once you’ve had your quota of sun, get a spot on the grassed area under the shade of the native trees—it’s picnic paradise.
You can’t beat the hot black sand of a West Coast beach on a sunny day. Karekare is a hidden gem just a few bays down from Piha that’s well worth the car trip. The popular surf beach has limited access and parking so there will be some walking required to get there—but that makes the whole beach experience feel even more authentic. Pack your walking shoes and check out the waterfall as well.
Located on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, Hahei is a beach town near Cathedral Cove that’s coveted by locals and holiday makers alike. If you’re committed to a beach roadie, Hahei will deliver. Start working on an epic playlist, hit the supermarket for some snacks and get off the couch—the two-and-a-half-hour will drive fly by and before you know it, you’ll be in NZ’s slice of heaven. While you’re in the area drop by Hot Water Beach either side of high tide for a must-do experience.
Wattle Bay – Awhitu
Located at the tip of the Awhitu Peninsula is one of Auckland’s best kept secrets, Wattle Bay. A 60-minute drive from the city, the bay overlooks the Manukau Harbour and its remote location means you’re pretty much guaranteed a spot. Regardless of the tide, there’s golden sand and deep green water for swimming at all times—all you need is your togs and towel.
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Image credit: Geoff Billing via Facebook