Located on the northern end of the North Island, Northland is a subtropical region surrounded by the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. The region is known for its incredible beaches, each with its own personality and scenery. Beaches on the east and west coasts offer different environments, from the wild and windswept west to the sheltered, quiet east. Best of all, the beaches offer other activities like coastal cliff walks, rainforest hikes, wildlife sightings, fun with the kids and marine exploration. Whether you want a family beach trip, outdoor exploration, water sports or anything in between, check out the best Northland beaches to plan your trip.
Rarawa Beach for fishing and surfing
Rarawa Beach and neighbouring Henderson Bay are wild, beautiful beaches with windswept sand dunes and rough surf. Both beaches are popular for fishing and surfing, but you can also relax on the soft, golden sand and watch the tides. Nearby, you’ll find a gentle stream where you can take the kids to cool off and play during your beach trip.
Uretiti Beach for beachcombing
Nestled on Bream Bay, Uretiti Beach is known as a family beach for its safe swimming waters and excellent beachcombing. The clear waters are calm and gentle, perfect for little ones to swim in. You’ll also find coastal walks to enjoy the ocean views. If you’re daring, you can break away from the family-friendly areas and head to the southern end for a clothing-optional beach spot.
Waipu Beach for coastal walks
With excellent lifeguard patrol, Waipu Beach is one of the best beaches for a family trip. The waves are generally calm and gentle, but on rougher days, you can head to the nearby gorge with swimming holes with the kids. You’ll also find a lot of hiking trails nearby to check out the gorge and coastal views, such as the Brynderwyn Walkway, the Ruakaka Estuary Walk and the Mangawhai Cliff Walk.
Mimiwhangata Coastal Park for family camping
Mimiwhangata Coastal Park is a remote parkland with broad, sandy beaches, rolling dunes and gentle surf in sheltered bays. The park provides a natural habitat for many native species, so you’re likely to see beautiful shorebirds during your visit. You’ll also find campsites and hiking trails to explore. Because of the calm, clear waters and protected marine life, snorkelling in the bay is popular.
Mangawhai Beach for swimming with kids
Located close to Auckland City, Mangawhai is a popular holiday destination for the city’s residents. The protected harbour beach has safe swimming spots that are great for children to swim and wade. On the ocean side, you can enjoy water sports like surfing and kitesurfing. You can also hike along the coast in the native forests to see wildlife and take in the views of the landscape.
Opononi Beach for fishing with the family
Opononi Beach is a quiet beach on Hokianga Harbour. The white-sand beach stretches along the bay all the way to Opononi Wharf, which features water taxis and charter fishing tours. On the other side of the harbour, massive sand dunes provide opportunities for thrilling dune surfing. Opononi Beach is also frequented by playful dolphins.
Oakura Bay for water adventures
With over a kilometre of coastline, Oakura Bay is a stunning harbour beach with white sand and virtually no waves, making it ideal for families. The quiet waters are also popular for water sports like sailing and kayaking. You can hike along the coast in the forest to see wildlife or take in the beachfront views. On the southern end of the bay, you’ll find a large soaking pool for a little relaxation.
Ahipara Beach for family fun
A popular beach with families, Ahipara Beach has a gentle slope into the ocean and quiet, even waves for kids to swim and play. The beach has great surfing spots that attract water sports enthusiasts. If you want to fish, you can find fishing spots just to the south of the beach. You’ll find a lot of facilities nearby, such as parking and changing spots, as well as opportunities for outdoor fun like horseback riding and windsurfing.