Summer in Aotearoa New Zealand can be hot. So hot you’ll need somewhere to cool down, and what better way to do so than at a beautiful beach swimming spot.

The beauty of Auckland is that you don’t have to go far to come across an epic place for a dip – whether it be at a black sand beach or on a picturesque island. There’s so much on offer and all of it’s just a stone’s throw away from Auckland’s CBD. 


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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. 

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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.   

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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.

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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.

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Kendall Bay, Birkenhead

A 20-minute drive from central Auckland, or 40-minutes by public transport and on foot will get you to this secluded little spot on Auckland's North Shore.


Mathesons Bay, Leigh

An hour and 10-minute drive from central Auckland gets you to this stunning beach. Sheltered from the ocean by a reef and island, spend a relaxing day here or try one of the local bush walks.


Anchor Bay, Tāwharanui Regional Park

This is the parks main beach and it's easy to see why! A beautiful stretch of white sand, rolling hills and picnic spots, and within an hour and 20-minute drive from central Auckland.


Muriwai Beach, west Auckland

This black-sand beach is a great spot for surfing, cliff-top trails and epic views and just a 45-minute drive from central Auckland.


Lake Wainamu, west Auckland

A 40-minute drive from central Auckland gets you to the start of the walkway to this beaut. Walk along giant sand dunes before getting to the lake for a dip.


Āwhitu Regional Park, south Auckland

A lighthouse, beautiful harbour views and great swimming holes are found on this peninsula, pack a picnic and drive an hour and 20-minutes from central Auckland.


Maraetai Beach, pōhutukawa coast

Just a 45-minute drive from central Auckland takes you to the calm waters at Maraetai. On a clear day you'll be rewarded with stunning coastal and island views, you can even spot the Coromandel Peninsula!


Ladies Bay, Rotoroa Island

Just over an hour on the ferry from downtown Auckland is Rotoroa Island, sitting in the Hauraki Gulf, it's a must-visit for any visitor wanting nature, relaxation and great beaches.