Here at Base alot of our staff are born and bred Kiwis. We had a chat to the locals and asked that they list their favourite hidden NZ beaches - the type of beaches that you may not read about in your guide books! They may be off the beaten track – but that’s why we travel, right? In fact, when sourcing Instagram snaps to give you a little visual taste of why these beaches are so beautiful, some of the searches returned just 20 photos! So we aren't joking when we use the term 'secret.'
From black sandy beaches to hot water pools – no part of New Zealand is more than 128 kilometres from the ocean. What does that mean you ask? No matter where you are – a Campervan in Rotorua, or a hostel in Queenstown – the beach is nearby!
1. New Chums Beach, Coromandel
Word about New Chums Beach has got out in recent years, so this stunning stretch of coastline is not quite as secret as our other picks below, but very much worth a looksie! New Chum’s Beach is only accessible by foot. Imagine white sand, turquoise ocean, and native Pohutukawa trees (the NZ Christmas Tree) – discoverable only by those willing to take on the one hour bush trek.
The north east coast of Coromandel Peninsula is a common destination on the tourist trail. The further north you venture – the more secluded the coastline. To get there – make your way to the northern end of Whangapua Beach from the township of Coromandel. Continue along the coastline – expect to tackle some large boulders – until you reach a rough track. The track will guide you over the headland and through native bush before you reach New Chum’s Beach. One of our favourite Instagrammers / Bloggers Bare Kiwi never fails to snap up some mind blowing photos of New Chums... check it out!
2. Black Pebble Beach, Kaikoura
This beach is truly unique! Black Pebble Beach can be found north of Kaikoura, just near a town called Kekerengu. The Alps can be spotted in the background and the beach is usually pretty quiet. Although not too ‘hidden’ from the tourist trail – this is truly a sight not to miss!
3. Anapai Beach, Abel Tasman. South Island
Abel Tasman National Park is a top priority on the backpacker to do list. Situated at the tip of New Zealand’s north island – the national park is home to stunning bushwalks, beaches and greenery.
Mutton cove can be found near the northern tip of the Abel Tasman Great Walk. Like many of New Zealand’s secret beaches, Mutton Cove can only be reached by foot, boat or Kayak. If the walk is not up your alley – you can hire an Aqua Taxi to discover this remote and picturesque location.
Allow 3 – 5 days to explore the entirety of Abel Tasman National Park – there are walking trails and beaches that can be discovered in the duration of one day however. If you are a keen adventurer, there are a number of campsites throughout the national park. Ensure that you research walking times, weather and camp site locations before setting off! Mutton Cove campsite has running water, a fireplace and flush toilet.
4. Motunua Beach, north Canterbury. South Island
Motunua Beach is different to the rest – it resides along a stretch of rugged cliff faces and serves as a secret surf spot to the locals. The beach can be found about one third of the way between Christchurch and Kaikoura, just north of Pegasus Bay.
Ensure that you make the most of the amazing views from the top of the cliff face. On the horizon sits Motunua Island – once a whaling station, now a reserve home to an abundance of bird life including the endangered white flippered penguin.
5. Tawhitokino, south east Auckland. North Island
Located north of the Firth of Thames, Tawhitokino can be found half way between the townships of Ohere and Papanui. This untouched, 1.4 kilometre long stretch of beach is only accessible by boat, kayak or foot.
Allow one hour to walk the Tawhitokino track which can be found at the end of Kawakawa Bay Coast Rd – just past Waiti Bay. The track will take you through the shores of several beach fronts and over ricks – ensure that you make your way to and from the beach at low tide!
6. Medlands Beach, Great Barrier Island. North Island
Medlands Beach is a breath taking surf beach located on Great Barrier Island – which can be found 100km from Auckland. The beach resides in a cove of greenery and is also a secret among the New Zealand surf community. Ferries depart from Auckland to Great Barrier Island – and there are campsites on the island for those wanting to soak up the remote beauty for a day or two.
7. Tapotupotu Bay, Cape Reinga. North Island
This is the most northern accessible beach in New Zealand and is a sight not to miss - white sand and green headlands. Allow 1 ½ hours travel time north from Kaitaianorth to Tapotupotu. Beach camping is available. This hidden gem is ideal for surfing, fishing and hiking.
8. Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
Like New Chum's Beach, Tunnel Beach is widely popular amongst the locals... but for travellers, a little off the beaten tourist trail. If venturing from Queenstown to Christchurch, a stop by New Zealand's University Capital Dunedin is a must. Tunnel Beach reminds us a little of Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Occean Road and much of it's attraction is the 'Tunnel' that has been eroded into the cliff faces - you can actually walk right through to the beach!