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.
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.
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.
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!
At a whopping 30 meters tall, the Hunua falls are some of the tallest falls in the Auckland region and a popular swimming spot. Streaming from the Wairoa River, the falls spill over volcanic rock into a pool 17 meters deep. The water temperature tends to be on the cooler side, providing a chilling relief from the harsh summer sun. There are some picnic tables by the falls and a couple lookout walks and walking tracks, so pack your swimmers, bring some snacks and make a day exploring the wilderness and taking fresh water dips!
Located in the Waitakere Ranges and only 40 minutes away from the CBD are the Fairy Falls. One of Auckland’s absolute must sees, the Fairy Falls are a package deal featuring not only swimming holes, but also waterfalls and native tree groves! As you descend into the kiwi wilderness you will be dwarfed by giant trunks of Kauri, Rimu and Nikau trees before coming upon the Fairy Falls. The Upper Falls are 15 meters in height, with tiers of water running off the edges down to the Lower Falls. Cool off from the hike at one of the numerous swimming holes and enjoy the magical views of gushing waters from bellow.