1. Kendall Bay, Birkenhead
This North Shore gem is tucked away in Kauri Point Centennial Park in Birkenhead. A short bush walk will lead you to the sandy, shelly beach with calm waters. This is the perfect place to settle in for a picnic or take the kids for a splash. Continue along the track for some great harbour views.
2. Mathesons Bay, Leigh
Mathesons Bay is a pretty beach, sheltered from the ocean with its protecting reef and island, making it a safe place to swim, paddleboard or kayak, depending on weather conditions. There’s a swimming pontoon in the bay during the summer months, and the large grass area is ideal for picnics and games.
3. Anchor Bay, Tāwharanui
Tāwharanui has it all. Beautiful white sand beaches, an abundance of wildlife, rolling waves and awesome pockets of rock pools. Anchor Bay is incredibly picturesque. Have fun jumping around the rocks and marvelling at the sea creatures.
4. Muriwai Beach, Muriwai
If you’re after black sand and surf, make sure you head to Muriwai Beach. Lifeguards are on patrol at peak times, but always be careful of rips. Pro tip – wear jandals to conquer the scorching hot sand and don’t forget to check out the nesting gannet colony on your way back to the car.
5. Lake Wainamu, Waitākere
Lake Wainamu is a popular freshwater swimming mecca, nestled behind large black sand dunes. The lake is a great place to take a refreshing dip on a hot day, with its nice clear water. Be sure to take a boogie board to slide down the dunes if you’re up for some kidult fun!
6. Āwhitu Regional Park, Āwhitu
Āwhitu Peninsula is the jutting land between the Manukau Harbour and the Tasman Sea. If you haven’t been there, we recommend the trip! There’s stunning scenery and good swim spots too. Kauritūtahi Beach is our pick for ultimate tranquillity.
7. Maraetai Beach, Maraetai
Stroll along the foreshore and park yourself on the beach for an extra dose of Vitamin D. The water is beautiful for swimming and there’s a nice grass area for picnics. If you have little ones, there’s a playground to keep them entertained.
8. Ladies Bay, Rotoroa Island
Leave the car at home and take the 75-minute ferry over to Rotoroa Island for the day. Ladies Bay is just a short scenic walk over the rise, and it won’t disappoint. Lounge on the golden sand, have your packed lunch under a Pōhutukawa tree and take a swim before wandering the island.