This post on New Zealand’s East Coast beaches has not been easy to write, simply because it’s almost impossible to narrow the list down to a few favourites!
One of my favourite things about going home during summer is spending time with the sand between my toes. I absolutely love being at the beach, it’s where I spent most of my holidays as a child, not to mention the fact I grew up surrounded by beaches.
With my family having a beach house on New Zealand’s East Coast, I tend to spend most of my trips back home exploring those, but don’t let that stop you discovering all the other amazing beaches, I am just sharing my favourites that I visit most often!
So grab a towel and suncream, and let’s go to the beach…
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is one seriously amazing spot. Not only do you have beautiful sand and surf, you’ll also discover an area near the southern end of the beach that thanks to geothermal activity going on under the ground, means you can literally dig a hole and create your own jacuzzi as hot water bubbles up from the sand.
It’s kind of a strange feeling kicking back in your own ‘sand jacuzzi’ whilst looking out to the sea but such a fun experience! You can dig up to two hours either side of low tide and shovel hire is available from local cafes if you don’t have your own.
Without a doubt my absolute favourite beach. In the world. This was actually my first time visiting Cathedral Cove, having had it on my bucket list for years. Cathedral Cove is accessible via boat or a walking track, which takes around 30 minutes from the public carpark.
Upon arrival, you descend a set of stairs to arrive onto the softest sand beneath your feet, and a paradise of a beach. To your left is a large hole in a rock that you can walk through to discover a larger beach on the same side. This spot is magical, and my only regret is that we didn’t allow more time to spend there. Next time I’d pack a picnic and stay for dinner until sunset.
Hahei Beach is next to Cathedral Cove and is simply amazing too. With a long stretch of golden sand, there’s no worry of feeling overcrowded at Hahei, you’ll be sure to have plenty of space to yourself. Hahei itself it’s the cutest little holiday spot, with caravan parks, beach houses and a few cafes. You’d need nothing much more than your bathing suit and flip flops at this pretty place, it’s pure relaxation!
How lucky I am that my family have a place in my favourite beach town ever. Pauanui is beautiful. With red roads and lovely houses, there’s a small shopping centre and not too much else, which I love because it promotes a relaxing holiday for me. Pauanui beach is long, so again there’s no feeling of sunbathing right next to a stranger, and everything is walkable so when you’ve had enough of swimming, it’s just a short walk to the shops for fish n chips ;o)
You can also get an amazing view of Pauanui by visiting Tairua, the town north of it, and walking up Paku Mountain that looks back over Pauanui itself. (See below – pretty cool huh?)
Whangamata is a much larger beach town than any of the other beaches I’ve listed above. The golden beach, just like the others, is long and spacious, and popular with surfers too. With just a short walk into the town, you’re inundated with fantastic cafes, restaurants and shops. It’s a really fun place to spend time on a beach holiday.
Papamoa beach is loooooong and feels never-ending. It joins Mount Maunganui beach, and it is truly breathtaking. Another really popular summer spot, as Papamoa and ‘The Mount’ as we call it are within easy reach to Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s cities, so you have the best of all world’s visiting here, with relaxation and city life combined. Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying awhile, you cannot go wrong with this beautiful beach and its surrounding areas.
So there were go, some of my absolute fav beach spots on New Zealand’s East Coast, and if you have a car you’ll be able to visit all of them over a period of a few days!
Enjoy that sand between your toes x