Sitting on the junction of two harbors, Auckland is literally surrounded by beaches in all directions. If you are visiting the city then a visit to a beach for a swim, sunbathe or walk is a great idea.
Read more: Auckland - New Zealand's Gateway City
There is a marked difference between the beaches on the two coasts. The eastern beaches are sheltered and marked with rocky outcrops and small harbors. Those on the west coast are wild and windswept, with long stretches of often black sand.
Getting to Auckland's Beaches
The closest beach is literally just a few minutes from the wharves in downtown Auckland. Those in the central waterfront area are serviced by buses. Be aware that buses are rather less frequent ion the weekends and public holidays.
However, for any beaches further away, the best option is by private car.
To visit the beaches of the Hauraki Gulf islands, some have a ferry service, while for others a visit will only be possible by private boat.
Central Auckland Waterfront Beaches
From downtown Auckland, head east along the waterfront (Tamaki Drive) and there are a string of nice beaches. This is also a very good route for walking, running or cycling, with a dedicated cycle lane and footpath.
The first beach past the boat marina and the Royal Akarana Yacht Club is Okahu Bay. The foreshore is a nice picnic spot. On the other side of the road is reserve land and up the hill is Bastion Point Reserve, the setting for the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial; from here there are spectacular views of the city, harbor and islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
Further beaches are Mission Bay, Kohimarama and St Heliers, all of which are nice swimming beaches and with good cafes and shops to explore.
North Shore Beaches
Across the Auckland Harbor Bridge are the beaches known as the East Coast Bays. In order from south to north they are Devonport (a short ferry ride from central Auckland), Takapuna, Milford, Castor Bay, Campbells Bay, Mairangi Bay, Murrays Bay, Rothesay Bay, Browns Bay, Torbay and Long Bay.
Virtually all of these beaches are enclosed by the northern suburbs of Auckland. Devonport, Takapuna and Browns Bay all have shopping areas. Long Bay is the exception, with a large reserve behind the beach which is a very popular picnic destination for people from all over the city.
Read More: Auckland's North Shore Beaches
The Hibiscus Coast and Whangaparaoa
Half an hour north of Auckland on the northern motorway is the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and the Hibiscus Coast. This is a rapidly growing part of the Auckland area and there are numerous beaches. The peninsula itself is a long and narrow strip of land with beaches on either side. Orewa is a seaside resort town with one of the best beaches in the Auckland area.
West Coast Beaches
The western coast of Auckland is separated from the city by the Waitakere Ranges, a large area of sub-tropical rain forest and hilly terrain. The beaches on the coast are exposed to the prevailing.
Winds from the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia and are vast and wild. People come here more for the surfing and walking than swimming, but it is a desolate and beautiful stretch of New Zealand coastline.
Read more: Titirangi, Waitakere, West Auckland
The most popular and accessible beaches are on the northern side of the Manukau Harbor. From south to north they are Karekare, Piha, Anawhata, Bethells Beach and Muriwai.
South East Auckland Beaches
These beaches have also been enveloped by suburbia but nevertheless provide good swimming and recreation. They include Bucklands Beach, Eastern Beach, Mellons Bay, Cockle Bay, Beachlands and Maraetai.
Island Beaches near Auckland
The Hauraki Gulf, a large area of sheltered water on Auckland's eastern coast, is filled with islands with great beaches. Fortunately the best of them are on the most accessible islands, Waiheke and Great Barrier. Both of these islands have regular ferry services.
Read more: The Islands of the Hauraki Gulf
Even if it is the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland still provides one of the best places in New Zealand for a day at the beach.