To help you plan a coastal getaway, we’ve brought together the best beaches in Auckland for you. With more than 25 incredible spots, ranging from calm, family-friendly swimming beaches, to rugged, black-sand surf beaches, get your togs and towels packed and hit the road.
This article first appeared on Exploring Auckland.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is also one of the most versatile in the country.
Though we are the most urbanised community in Aotearoa, we are also fortunate to enjoy a variety of natural attractions. Lakes, waterfalls, black-sand beaches, volcanoes and more; Auckland really does have it all.
In particular though, Auckland enjoys countless (and varied) beaches.
With over 15,000 kilometres of coastline and over 700 incredible beaches across New Zealand, it’s not surprising to expect Auckland to have its fair share of amazing beaches. In fact we have more than 80 of them!
With a temperate climate, varied landscape and easy city-assess, Auckland’s beaches are a real highlight of the region.
Which of them are worth your time though?
Join us as we share the very best beaches in Auckland.
These are the Best Beaches in Auckland
Whether you’re looking for a relaxed family day by the seaside or are looking for your next primo surfing spot, we’ve got you covered.
The following spots are what we consider to be the best beaches in Auckland. They’re organised by location but aside from that, are in no particular order.
We recommend you grab yourself a picnic, some sunscreen and your togs and make for the water on the next sunny day!
The North Shore/North Auckland
Takapuna is one of the most famous beaches on the North Shore, and for good reason. Surrounded by grassy areas and shops, it’s the best place to pack a picnic and enjoy a day with the family.
The best part about Takapuna Beach is that there are no waves, so it’s perfect for swimming and paddleboarding if you’re lucky! With the boat ramp off to the west side of the beach, you can even take your boat or jet ski out and explore the gorgeous waters beyond the beach.
If you’re up for even more adventure, head to the caravan park to the left of the beach and enjoy this North Shore walk along the rocky coastline, out to Milford Beach!
If you’re looking for someplace similar to Takapuna but want to avoid the crowds, Cheltenham Beach in Devonport is your best bet.
Only a five-minute drive away from the centre of Devonport, Cheltenham allows you to relax on the beach all day and gives you the option to watch the sun go down over Devonport while enjoying a meal from one of their many amazing restaurants.
There is a lot to do in Devonport, so you’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to explore.
Nestled in the heart of Tawharanui Regional Park, Anchor Bay is one beach in northern Auckland not to be missed.
Only a 90-minute drive from Central Auckland, Anchor Bay offers crystalline turquoise water, spectacular views, and the beautiful songs of native New Zealand birds.
Anchor Bay is an amazing place to have a picnic and spend the day with friends and family wading in the water, learning to surf, or walking to find the best viewpoint for that sensational picture!
Remember, you’re in a regional park, so no dogs allowed and take your rubbish when you leave.
Browns Bay Beach
If you’re looking for a place that’s dog-friendly, has calm water, a playground for children, grassy areas, a boat ramp, and restaurants nearby, then Browns Bay Beach is the place or you!
Situated on Auckland’s North Shore, Browns Bay is a popular beach amongst the locals as it has everything you need to enjoy an afternoon by the water.
Whether you’re going for a mid-day picnic, fish and chips for dinner, or want to take the jet ski out, Browns Bay is a must.
Pakiri Beach – One of the Best Beaches in Auckland
Located one-hour and 30-minutes north of Auckland, Pakiri Beach is the place to go for an idyllic surf-beach escape.
Not only does the white-sand beach provide the best spot for swimmers, surfers, and fishermen, it’s also a popular beach for horse riding.
Get to Pakiri and tick off horse riding on one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand off your list!
Nestled between Auckland City and Mission Bay is the beautiful Okahu Bay.
Like Mission Bay, Okahu Bay gives you uninterrupted views of Devonport and Mt Rangitoto, an Auckland icon.
If you’re looking for a lovely beach that’s not too busy but has a variety of activities to do, Okahu Bay is the place for you.
With a basketball court and a playground, as well as kayaks and paddleboards for hire, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
If you’re even up for more adventure, you can hire rollerblades and skate along the flat and winding path around the bay towards Mission Bay Beach and St Heliers. Be sure to stop off along the way for a spectacular picture of the harbour.
Mission Bay Beach – The Most Famous of our Best Beaches in Auckland
Situated just outside of central Auckland is the stunning Mission Bay. One of the best things about the beach is the drive there (but don’t worry, the beach is beautiful too).
Coming from Central Auckland, the drive along the water really is breathtaking. Once you get to Mission Bay you are offered even more spectacular views. From the beach, you can see Devonport to your left, Mt Rangitoto in front, and outer Auckland islands on your right.
With countless restaurants at your fingertips, Mission Bay is a great place to get takeaway and enjoy lunch on the beach, or even stroll along the sand with gelato in hand while the sun goes down.
This is the perfect urban beach.
Whilst exploring Mission Bay, we also suggest you wander to some of the other beautiful neighbouring beaches. St Heliers, Kohimarama and Glendowie are all worth checking out too.
Herne Bay Beach
Located on the other side of Central Auckland, you’ll find quaint Herne Bay Beach.
Popular among locals on the weekends, this spot is surprisingly quiet during the week, making it the perfect place to take a towel, read a book on the sand, and watch the endless commuters drive over the Harbour Bridge.
Being so close to Ponsonby, Herne Bay Beach is an easy escape from everyday life in the busy city. Whether you visit along or with a group of friends, this is one of the best beaches in Auckland if you’re looking to unwind quickly.
A list of the best beaches in Auckland isn’t complete without a few spectacular features from the beaches of Waiheke Island.
Once on the island, make a beeline for Oneroa, the main town on the island.
Not only does Oneroa Beach provide views of clear turquoise water and glistening white sand, but you also get a stunning view of the Coromandel Peninsula in the distance.
With restaurants and shops surrounding the beach, Oneroa is one of the best places to spend a day on the island.
For one of the most picturesque views in Auckland, head to Palm Beach on Waiheke Island.
Located to the east of Oneroa, Palm Beach is an alternate option if you want to skip the big crowds and go somewhere more peaceful and quiet.
Palm Beach is the perfect place to take in all that mother nature has to give. With a public BBQ on the right side of the beach, you can head down with your friends and family and cook up lunch or dinner while admiring the sun glistening on the water and that sweet smell of the salty sea.
Perfect for swimming or relaxing, Bucklands Beach is one of the most popular in East Auckland thanks to its calm water, accessibility, and variety of eateries surrounding it.
Located on the peninsula, the beach isn’t only a great place to spend a day, but it’s the gateway to Half Moon Bay and Eastern Beach found on either side of the peninsula.
You can walk to the west and end up at Halfmoon Bay or walk to the east and find a place to sit at Eastern Beach. Both of which are well-worth a little side trip.
Pohutukawa trees and a beach swing, what more could you want?
A hidden gem in the eastern suburb of Glendowie, Karaka Bay is not one to be missed.
To make Karaka Bay even more special, it’s important to note that there is no vehicle access. You have to park at the end of Peacock St and follow the steep, winding path to the beach.
Once you arrive, you’ll be in awe of the Pohutukawa trees lining the beach, providing ultimate shade on those hot summery Auckland days. This beach feels private which is quite the feat so close to Auckland’s CBD.
If watching the gorgeous glistening water isn’t enough and you find yourself at Karaka Bay on low tide, you can walk along the cliff to St. Heliers.
Located further along the eastern shoreline is Maraetai beach.
Though it’s a bit of a drive from the Central Auckland, it’s well worth doing.
Maraetai is the ultimate spot to get sensational views of Waiheke Island and the Coromandel Peninsula beyond.
Not only does this beach offer the best views, but it’s also a great place to bring the kids for a picnic. There are grassy areas and a playground, the perfect place to sit down on the blanket, open up the picnic basket and enjoy an afternoon with the family.
Located on the western side of Auckland, Bethells Beach is a swimmer’s, fisherman’s, and surfer’s paradise.
Not only is Bethells famous for its waves, but it also has its very own lake and hidden waterfalls!
Perfect for adventurers, the dunes surrounding the lake are the perfect place to take a boogie board and surf the dune into the water. Also, if you want to find hidden waterfalls, take the track left before climbing the dunes for a sweet surprise!
Although not as popular as Piha or Muriwai, Bethells offers a quiet haven away from the crowds.
A favourite amongst locals, Muriwai Beach has it all. From fish and chip shops to a playground and even gannets to look at, there is no shortage of things to do on this black sand beach.
Speaking of black sand, it can get scorching hot in the sun, so don’t forget to wear your jandals while finding the perfect spot to set up for the day!
If splashing in the waves isn’t enough to get your adrenaline going, make sure to head to the left side of the beach and up the stairs to view the magnificent gannet colony resting atop a rock overlooking the beach, you will be blown away by the view.
Piha Beach – The Most Popular Surf Beach in Auckland
If you love surfing, then black sand Piha Beach is the best place to go in Auckland.
Once you get to Piha, the first thing you’ll see is Lion Rock standing proudly on the beach, and for those adventurers out there, yes, you can climb it!
Situated along the same shoreline as Muriwai and Bethells, Piha beach is so big that even if it’s packed full of surfers in the water and people sitting on the sand, you’ll never feel like it’s crowded.
Whilst visiting Piha, you’ll want to check out Kitekite Falls too. This stunning hike enjoys views of native bush and a towering waterfall, and even has a spot to feed eels if you’re keen.
If you love the ocean, waterfalls, and swimming holes all wrapped up in one area, then Karekare beach is the perfect place to go in Auckland!
Sandwiched between the Piha and Whatipu Beach, the only way to get to Karekare is through the stunning Waitakere Ranges.
The beach isn’t just a great place to go swimming and surfing in the Tasman Sea, but you can also hike 30-minutes to the stunning Karekare Falls and even go for a dip in the swimming hole.
With so many activities at your fingertips, Karekare is one of the must-see beaches in Auckland.
Awhitu Regional Park
Located in south-west Auckland, Awhitu Regional Park boasts a quiet and tranquil beach surrounded by lush grass and trees, suitable for families and individuals alike.
Within the regional park, you can go for walks. You can even take your mountain bike and go for a ride if you please.
The beautiful white sand and glistening water reflecting the sunlight offers spectacular views of Auckland airport and the city beyond over the turquoise water.
Situated on the west coast of South Auckland, Karioitahi is the ultimate black sand beach for land and water adventurers alike.
For those who love adrenaline, the best part about Karioitahi is that it offers the perfect landscape for activities both on land and on the water. You can take your board and catch some waves, put your faith in the wind and go paragliding, or even get your friends together in your 4X4 and explore the beach via the sand.
There is something for everyone at this South Auckland beach.
We are so fortunate to have a variety of incredible beaches in regional Auckland.
Which of these beaches will you check out first on your next visit to the City of Sails?
Photo credit: Todd Eyre, James Heremaia, Chris McLennan
Written by Jasmine Gruber: Jasmine from Kiwi Talks Travel was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Having lived there for 20 years, she’s gotten to know Auckland pretty well! As an avid traveller, she not only loves to travel the world but her beautiful home country too.