These are the best Coromandel beaches. Whether you’re a surfer, swimmer, sun bather or photographer, you’ll want to check out each and every one of these amazing local coastlines.
The Coromandel Peninsula is one of the most popular summer destinations in New Zealand.
With hundreds of beaches scattered along the 400km coastline, it’s the perfect place to stay throughout summer as you can spend each day at a different beach!
From easily accessible bays to those that require a little more adventure, these are the Coromandel beaches you have to visit during the summertime (or really, any time at all!)
Where Should I Stay in the Coromandel?
The Coromandel Peninsula is spread over quite an area, making the decision of where exactly to stay slightly more challenging that one might first assume.
The largest town in the region is Whitianga (which may be exactly what you’re looking for or quite the opposite) and all around the peninsular you’ll find charming seaside towns with accommodation.
To decide exactly where you’d like to stay, we suggest deciding on what exactly you’d like to see and do whilst in the Coromandel first. Once you’ve got your itinerary planned out, we suggest you choose a location that is central for your planned excursions.
If you have a reasonable amount of time in the area, we suggest staying in a few different places. Doing so will allow you to make the most of one area before moving on to the next.
Book a Holiday Home in the Coromandel
If you’d like to experience the Coromandel like a local would, we recommend booking a holiday home (known locally as a ‘bach’). This is best done through a site like Airbnb.
Book a Hotel in the Coromandel
If you’re looking to enjoy a few more creature comforts (and fancy someone coming in to tidy the room each day) then a hotel (or motel) might be the best option whilst you’re in the region.
In addition, you’ll also find beachfront campgrounds through Booking. They’re a fantastic way to stay in the region at an affordable price.
The Best Coromandel Beaches
1. New Chums Beach – The Most Photographed of all the Coromandel Beaches
If you love views, adventure and crystal clear water, then you need to tick off New Chums Beach this summer. It is one of New Zealand’s most prized beaches!
Located on the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Chums Beach is not accessible by car (making it all the more special.
To get there, you’ll need either a boat or to make the 30-minute walk through the bush and around the north end of Whangapoua Beach at low-tide!
Once you’ve reached the beach, it’s the perfect place to spend the day tanning and enjoying the pristine water!
Just remember, there are no restaurants, shops, or toilets at the beach, so prepare to pack some food and take your rubbish with you when you leave.
Pro tip: If you’re a keen photographer or are looking for your next profile picture, be sure to climb up to the New Chums lookout!
2. Cooks Beach
At Cooks Beach you’ll find long stretches of white sand, beautiful water, and camping facilities nearby. Because of this, Cooks Beach is an ideal spot to set up camp and enjoy a few days relaxing in one of the most beautiful parts of the country!
This region is also popular amongst Kiwis and is also home to countless baches (holiday homes), so there are plenty of accommodation options available if you’d rather stay in comfort.
Named after Captain Cook, Cooks Beach boasts beautiful ocean views and is close to Ferry Landing, where you can catch a boat across to the town of Whitianga.
3. Opito Bay
Opito Bay is one of the best Coromandel Beaches. Impressive but suprisingly hidden, it’s a must-visit in the region.
Perfect for a summer getaway, the pristine water at Opito Bay makes it an excellent place for water activities.
With only a few baches surrounding the bay, you can guarantee the beach won’t get too busy, unlike some of the other Coromandel beaches.
Although Opito Bay isn’t mentioned all that often, when it comes to the beaches in the Coromandel, it definitely warrants a visit!
4. Hot Water Beach – One of the Most Unique Coromandel Beaches
Want to go to the beach for a spa, anyone?
I bet you’ve never heard that before!
The unique thing about Hot Water Beach is that it is quite literally what it is. Well, the ocean is a normal temperature but the beach is situated on hot springs.
This can only mean one thing – warm water underneath the sand!
To make the most of this incredible hot water, you’ll want to head to the beach during low tide (shovel in-hand) and dig yourself your very own hot water spa!
Being one of the most popular beaches in the Coromandel, you’ll want to head to Hot Water Beach early so you can secure your spa spot!
Two hours either side of low tide is the best though. If you visit during high-tide, you’ll find the springs hidden by the beach.
5. Hahei Beach
White sand and calm water, fringed with beautiful pohutukawa trees – Hahei Beach is a summer favourite amongst locals.
With islands off the shore of the beach, they provide a breakwater, making this fantastic beach perfect for swimming, kayaking, boating and even fishing!
The north end of the beach and the offshore islands form the boundaries of a marine reserve. This is a place where you can dive, snorkel and kayak, enjoying fantastic sealife in the process.
Hahei is only a short drive from the beginning of the walkway that leads to Cathedral Cove (which is notably one of New Zealand’s most famous beaches)! With this in mind, we recommend ticking both off at once.
6. Cathedral Cove
No Coromandel-summer-beach-guide would be complete without Cathedral Cove. This is easily one of the most famous beaches in the whole of New Zealand and is a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike.
The one-hour walking track to Cathedral Cove takes you along the cliff-top before descending to the beach. Be careful though, it is fairly steep!
Once you’ve reached the beach, you will be welcomed by fringed pohutukawa trees (known affectionately as New Zealand’s Christmas trees” lining the gorgeous white sand.
To your left, the gigantic arch that gives Cathedral Cove its name passes through a white rock headland that joins the two secluded coves.
Since the beach is sheltered, it’s the perfect place to spend the day with a picnic in hand. It’s also great for swimming and an ideal place to anchor your boat (which incidentally will save you the hike in).
7. Onemana Beach
If you love discovering hidden gems, then Onemana Beach is a must for you in the Coromandel.
Driving along the road to the beach, you’ll be greeted by uninterrupted views of the sea and a glimpse of the offshore islands.
Once you reach the beach itself, you’ll notice it’s crescent-shaped with beautiful golden sand. On the south side of the beach, you’ll see pohutukawa trees lining the shore, and at the other end, a large rocky area provides the perfect place for snorkelling!
Just when you thought this beach couldn’t get more picture-perfect, we’ve got a secret to share. Head towards the northern end of the beach where you’ll find a small waterfall cascading from the cliffs complete with a freshwater stream that flows out to sea.
8. Whangamata Beach
Six kilometres south of Onemana Beach, you’ll find the popular surf town of Whangamata.
With a fantastic combination of sand, surf and native forest, it makes Whanagamata a popular destination for summer holidays – just be sure to book your accommodation in advance!
Whether you’re coming with friends and family or simply want to have your own space, you might be surprised to find that there’s always a quiet area along the four-kilometre beach.
Aren’t we Kiwis lucky!
With great waves, Whangamata Beach is perfect for surfers, body boarders and swimmers alike.
Offshore, Hauturu Island can be reached by kayak, or you can wade there at low tide!
The main strip of town is filled with restaurants, bars, and cafes, so you aren’t short of places to check out after a day at the beach.
9. Pauanui Beach
Another local favourite, Pauanui Beach is a purpose-built summer town that’s located on a narrow stretch of land between the Pacific Ocean and a tranquil inner harbour.
The three-kilometre beach is perfect for swimming, and depending on the direction of the wind, you can also go surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing!
Not only is Pauanui an excellent place for ocean lovers, but it’s also perfect for those who love to get amongst nature! At the southern end of the beach, a trail leads to the summit of the forested Pauanui Mountain.
At 400 metres above sea level, the trail can be steep in some places, but the trek is well worth it thanks to the gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean at the top!
10. Tairua Beach
Located right next to popular Pauanui is Tairua, another Coromandel beach you must visit this summer!
Inside the headland, the harbour of Tairua offers sheltered waters that make it perfect for sailing, kayaking and windsurfing!
On the other side of Mount Paku, the ocean beach is great for bodyboarding, surfing and even beach fishing!
With views of Mount Paku from the inland as well as the ocean beach, Tairua is not only a great place to enjoy the water – it’s also picturesque!
As with many of the other beaches on this list, there is plenty of accommodation nearby too.
11. Otama Beach
Located on the northeast coast of the Coromandel, you can get to Otama Beach by driving 20-minutes from Whitianga (the largest town in the region).
With stunning turquoise water, a 2 kilometre stretch of squeaky white sand, and only a few people to be seen, Otama Beach really is one of the Coromandel’s hidden gems.
Since Otama Beach isn’t fully developed, there are only a couple of holiday homes in the area.
If you’re looking for a tranquil place to get away from the rest of the world, this is it!
12. Te Karo Bay
If you’re looking for a beach to go where you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life, then head to Te Karo Bay.
Also known as Sailors Grave, Te Karo Bay is located just north of Tairua and is home to the oldest sailor’s grave in New Zealand!
Great for swimming and surfing, Te Karo Bay boasts gorgeous uninterrupted sea views and also has a scenic walk that takes you around the headland to Otara Bay!
13. Opoutere Beach
Only accessible via a 15-20 minute trail through pine forest, Opoutere Beach is the true definition of a hidden gem in the Coromandel.
Shallow sand dunes slope down from the forest onto the 5 kilometre stretch of white sand.
Doesn’t that sound like bliss?!
In addition to the beautiful backdrop, Opoutere is special as it’s a breeding ground for several species of endangered birds. If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of some beautiful, rate chicks!
Not only that but Opoutere Beach is an epic place to watch the sun go down after a day in the ocean.
14. Lonely Bay
Situted between Cooks Beach and Flaxmill Bay, this beach is aptly named because hardly anyone is ever there!
Nestled between two steep cliffs, Lonely Bay can be accessed by hiking through the scenic reserve, passing streams and small waterfalls on your way.
Serene, secluded and picturesque, this is the perfect Coromandel beach if you want to enjoy a day of peace and quiet.
Don’t let the lack of people turn you off – Lonely Bay really is one of the best beaches in the Coromandel.
15. Fletcher Bay – Last but Not Least of the Best Coromandel Beaches
The last Coromandel beach you must visit this summer is one of the peninsula’s most northern and remote beaches – Fletcher Bay.
Accessible via a dirt road, Fletcher Bay opens up to the Hauraki Gulf at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula.
With breathtaking views of Great Barrier Island and Mercury Island, not only is this beach great for spending the day, but it’s also perfect to watch the sunset.
Enjoy this secluded Kiwi paradise!
Isn’t it Time You Escaped to Some of the Best Coromandel Beaches?
As you can see, The Coromandel is a subtropical haven in the North Island that has an array of beautiful beaches to choose from.
Which of these beaches will you visit first this summer?
Guest post by Jasmine Gruber. A Kiwi currently living in Australia, Jasmine is a journalist by trade and loves nothing more than helping visitors make the most of Aotearoa.
Photo credit: Russell Street