An Aotearoa summer can get bloody hot. Many a foot has been scorched on black sand beaches and, as for the sunburns…they can be so damn gnarly. This is where water comes in handy. We’ve tracked down the best beaches, waterfalls, secret swimming spots and snorkelling places, but now it’s time to introduce you to the best swimming holes in and around Auckland.
Chuck on your togs, slip, slop, slap, and head to one of these epic swimming spots. Some are close to town and some a bit further afield but they’re all a must-do this summer.
Finding Anawhata’s hidden rock pools are an adventure in itself. Go for a wander and you’ll stumble across a magical set of rock pools, literally on the edge of the cliff (so be careful!). The views back towards Awawhata Beach and the ocean are unreal and the cool water is bliss after frolicking in the sunshine.
Tawharanui is all sorts of awesome, but if it’s rock pools you’re after, head to Anchor Bay. This stunning spot is home to a handful of rock pools, home to sea creatures big and small. Take refuge from the heat via a dive bomb or search for crabs and starfish—Anchor Bay really is a slice of New Zealand heaven.
Old Cement Works
An oldie but a goodie, Warworth’s Old Cement Works has functioned as a stellar swimming spot for yonks. Hoon down a dirt track, go for a short walk and you’ll be introduced to this fresh-water swimming spot amongst the ruins. Not much of a swimmer? BYO inflatable unicorn—there’s plenty of room.
Oakely Creek Falls
Just 15-minutes from the CBD is Oakley Creek Falls. It’s the only natural waterfall in the city and ideal if you want to take a dip close to home. To get to the falls, you have to stroll for 20 minutes or so through some gorgeous native bush before beating the heat with a dip in the water. Pro tip: bring a picnic and fuel up on the grass area before cruising back into the city.
A lover of walking AND swimming? Cascade Falls is a no-brainer. Stroll through breath-taking forest for 30 minutes or so then treat your sweaty self to a refreshing dip. The falls themselves are hidden behind a huge boulder, so you’ll feel like you’ve unearthed one of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets.
Marawhara ‘The Coffin’
If you’re an experienced waterfall chaser, then add Marawhara to the list! Located in North Piha, this walk will take you along the Marawhara Stream right through to the Marawhara Gorge where you will see ‘The Coffin’. It gets its name from its shape (it looks like a super-sized water coffin surrounded by natural rock), and although this sounds slightly creepy, it’s a beautiful spot to splash about in.
As Kiwis, road trips are pretty much in our blood and you’ll need to take one to get to the Mermaid Pools—but trust us, they’ll be 100 per cent worth the drive! These natural rock pools are truly magical. They’re filled with crystal clear water and are a must-do if swimming holes are your thing.
For the ultimate summer adventure, seek out Whangamata’s Donut Island. Nope, there’s not a doughnut to be found (boooo!) but it’s too awesome to be left off this list. It’s located 1km off Whangamata’s East Beach so will require a kayak or paddle board to get to. Once a volcano (it’s now dormant—phew!), the crater is now fill of water for swimming and a small beach has been created as a result. An entrance tunnel has emerged thanks to erosion so us mere mortals can experience and enjoy it for ourselves!