“My go-to for a flat walk with the dog is usually Mission Bay to St Heliers and it’s cool seeing so many people out making the most of the beaches, the cafés and the views.”
Sir John Kirwan
Mission Bay and St Heliers are famous for their golden beaches and every weekend the dog walkers are joined by power walkers, runners, families, paddle boarders and kayakers, and the cafés across the road are packed. Start your day with brunch and coffee or kick back with a cold craft beer on a sunny afternoon.
For beautiful sunsets, check out Herne Bay Beach and Sentinel Road Beach. These small bays near Ponsonby are mostly used by locals so are far less crowded, and have safe swimming in good weather and big trees for shade. And of course Ponsonby’s bars, cafés and restaurants aren’t far away if you need to refuel afterwards.
Okahu Bay is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre along Tamaki Drive. The beach itself is popular for swimming and as a base for stand up paddleboarders or kayakers heading out on the harbour, but the main attraction for families is the large playground, basketball court and sports field directly across the road, complete with barbecue and picnic tables.
The closest beach to the city, and its most unusual is Judges Bay, tucked away on the other side of Tamaki Drive, opposite the harbour. The small white-sand beach can be reached by car or a walk down from the Parnell Rose Gardens, but the best reason to come is to jump off the pontoon or jetty.
Play it safe in the water
Make sure you keep yourself and your family safe while you’re enjoying our beautiful beaches as water does present a potential hazard. There are steps you can take to keep safe while you’re in, on and under the water. See New Zealand’s Water Safety Code.