New Zealand’s Best Beach: The Finalists Revealed in Our Quest for The Perfect Beach

Categories :Travel

NZ Herald is looking for New Zealand’s Best Beach in 2021. Thanks to your nominations, there are hundreds of Kiwi beaches on the long list. Clarke Gayford and Paige Hareb, Rodney Bell and Daniel Faitaua, Max Jones explore the best parts of the Kiwi coast.

What is a beach? There are only four ingredients that make a beach: sun, sand and shade.

This is just the beginning. Connoisseurs of fine Kiwi wines and classic Italian dishes know that it is the quality of the ingredients that makes the difference.

Is it white sand, or black sand You can find it in small, crescent-shaped, enclosed, windswept, or dramatic sizes. A shallow slope allows grandkids (or the kids) to walk for miles at low tide, feel the waves lapping their feet, or experience the power and malignancy of a great surf break.

Is it popular or quiet? Is there an ice cream shop? If not, are you allowed to open one? What about pohutukawa, too?

This is where you can see it going. To find out where New Zealanders are heading this summer, we asked Herald on Sunday readers for their favorite beach recommendations and what makes it special.

Today’s vote has been completed and we present the 13 finalists for our search for the best beach in the country. These are the 10 most popular beaches in the country, as well as three wildcards selected by the Herald Travel team.

Tomorrow we will feature two of the most beloved beaches by the public in the Herald every day, while the country votes to determine the ultimate winner. The Herald will publish the final results on Sunday, January 31st.

Here’s the alphabetical list of finalists. If your idyllic or ideal place is not on the list, don’t worry. It will be much easier to find a spot to lay your beach towel under the shade of the pohutukawa (or the rata, if you are in the south).

Kaiteriteri. Nelson Tasman

Turquoise water, golden sand. You can swim, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, boat, or relax on the beach. Apartments, motels, eco-resorts, general stores, and beachfront campgrounds are all available. Kaiteriteri, 13 km from Motueka, is the starting point for trips to the amazing Abel Tasman National Park.

Matai Bay, Karikari Peninsula

It is a remote, unspoiled spot that many Kiwis make their summer escape. The clean, clear water, soft white sand, and tranquility make it a great place to relax. The DoC campsite is located 45km north from Kaitaia on the Northland beach. It offers the opportunity to swim, snorkel, kayak and even sleep under the stars.

Mangawhai, Northland

“A little bit out of the ordinary. They pitch the east coast village about 80 minutes north Auckland. Mangawhai, a paradise for water-lovers, offers two distinct experiences: safe swimming, kayaking and windsurfing in the harbour, or a five minute walk to the surf beach where you can boogie board or surf.

Matapouri, Tutukaka Coast

This large, crescent-shaped bay is known for its clear blue waters and white sand. It’s always a top pick on any list of “best beaches in New Zealand”. Unfortunately, Te Wai o Te Taniwha has been closed due to trashing by inconsiderate visitors. You can walk over the headland and reach Whale Bay, a calm, beautiful and inviting swimming spot.

Matarangi, Coromandel

They will come if you build it – and they did. Matarangi is located on the east coast the Coromandel Peninsula and was created in 1980 as a tourist destination around its 18-hole golf course and resort. The 4.5km of gently sloping white sandy beach, which is sheltered by islands offshore, attracts most summer visitors. It is a great place to fish, dive, or watch birdlife and dolphins, as well as for families.

Mt Maunganui Bay of Plenty

Although we may be wrong, the passport states that you cannot call yourself a Kiwi until you have spent a summer at The Mount. This town is a great place to relax in the sun. The main beach has been consistently voted NZ’s best for its surf, cafes, and unending white sand.

Ohope, Whakatane

All the images of Kiwiana would be combined into Ohope. It’s a 11-kilometre stretch of white sand beach, where children can walk hundreds of meters into the Pacific at low tide. There are also great surf, crimson pohutukawa flowers, motels, campgrounds, and ice cream and fish’n chips shops. Surfcasting is also possible. They even allow dogs. What’s not to love?

Onetangi, Waiheke Island

The island’s largest beach extends almost 2km along its northern coastline, looking out over the Hauraki Gulf towards Aotea Great Barrier Islands and Hauturu Little Barrier. The beautiful golden sand provides some of the best water in Auckland.

Taupo Bay, Far North

This idyllic spot is located north of Whangaroa Harbour’s entrance. It’s a long hike, but it’s well worth the effort. The wide, white sand beach is one of the North’s most beautiful (and this is a high bar). It slopes gently into the ocean and curves in an almost gentle arc for 1.5km. This is the perfect spot for surfing, family holidays and camping. There’s also a campground and an old-fashioned bach hidden in native bush.

Whangamata, Coromandel

In our 2018 contest , you guys voted this “best beaches in New Zealand”. What will happen to “Whanga?” this year? The Coromandel hotspot attracts holidaymakers for its amazing ocean beaches and safest swimming. It is also home to the Coromandel Forest Park which hosts the traditional Kiwi beach bach holiday.

Oakura, Taranaki

The town is connected to Surf Highway 45. The main street is dominated by “the world’s largest surfboard”, unlike other burgs that have the Big Mango and the Big Beef. Oakura is located just south of New Plymouth and is well-known for its relaxed atmosphere, black-sand beaches, vibrant cafes, galleries, and surfing.

Wainui, Tairawhiti Gisborne

Wainui, which is only a short drive away or 6 km by bike from the city, is world-famous for its surfing, swimming, and fishing. It’s paradise for those who live in it. Visitors also love this spot to watch the sunrise, stroll the golden sands or enjoy the nature reserve. A proper Kiwi beach would not be complete without a shop selling ice-creams, milkshakes, and take-out.

St Clair, Dunedin

These wild cards are starting to have a theme: St Clair is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and walking… The Pacific beach has our best surf break. The Esplanade is a favourite destination for weekend walks and dips in the ocean. There are cafes and bars along the promenade. And the 1884 lido, the only heated seawater pool in the country.