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When the tide goes out, splash around in the warm shallow pools that Snells Beach is known for. High tide is best for swimming, especially if you time it right – just after the water sweeps over the hot sand. Let the kids scooter or bike along the beachside path between two playgrounds, each overlooking the sea. There are plenty of green pockets with grass and pōhutukawa trees to set up a picnic.
For coastal views, you can’t beat a sunrise at the east-facing beach, which boasts expansive views of Kawau Bay in the distance. Not an early riser? Feast on fish and chips on the beach while the day casts its final glow.
Feeling peckish? You can find a handful of cafes, eateries and takeaway shops in town for all of your pre- and post-beach needs. Sip on a warm cup of coffee before a morning stroll from a local café or enjoy a glass of wine with dinner at Little and Local Bar & Bistro.
Brick Bay Wines & Sculpture Trail is less than a five-minute drive away and is a must-do in the Matakana region. Enjoy a wine tasting after a leisurely stroll along the 2km-long arts trail, which winds past lakes, grapevines, forest and paddocks.
You can find many charming baches to rent in the area, most within easy walking distance of the beach. Freedom campers can set up at a designated spot right along the coast, perfect for catching the sunrise. Just north of Snells Beach is the Sandspit Holiday Park, a family-friendly campground with tent sites and waterfront cabins.
Location Te wāhi
Snells BeachPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Snells Beach is around an hour-long drive from the central city, and 10 minutes east of Warkworth.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
The pōhutukawa-fringed coastline is truly spectacular at full bloom. Plan your visit in mid-late December to see the red-flowering trees at peak bloom.