3 Beaches Near Auckland You Need to Check Out

Last Updated on October 3, 2022

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Written by Bailey from Destinationless Travel

Auckland has a bad reputation with travelers for being “just another big city”.

Well, that is true to an extent; it is a large city and doesn’t have the natural landscape appeal of the rest of New Zealand.

But you don’t have to venture far from the city to explore some amazing places!

3 Beaches Near Auckland You Need to Check Out, beach with large rocky hill covered in green foliage with white foam waves and other rocks in the distance under a cloudy blue sky

I recently was living in Auckland for a couple months, working during the week and searching for new and exciting things to do on the weekends.

Out of all of my weekend excursions, exploring the nearby beaches had to be my favourite.

Beaches near Auckland have a vibe and atmosphere unlike anywhere else.

While there are many nice beaches in Auckland City itself, plenty of beaches out of Auckland are just as enjoyable, if not more so, because they’re not so full of people.

I was blown away by the beauty of the coastline and peacefulness of the best beaches around Auckland.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go very far to see them, making them ideal for just a day-trip from Auckland.

These are three beaches near Auckland that I think are beautiful and unique to each other that you just need to check out!

Best Beaches near Auckland

Enjoy the best beaches near Auckland, view of beach with white surf of waves lapping on the shore and against rocky hills on the coast under a cloudy azure blue sky

1. Piha Beach

I’ll start with the most obvious and most well-known: Piha Beach. Piha Beach is usually on everyone’s list of things to do when they visit Auckland because it is simply that beautiful!

In the summer, Piha Beach in the perfect place to lay on the sand and get your tan-on. But in the winter it is equally as beautiful. It’s one of the best beaches close to Auckland for that reason alone!

Visitors can also climb Lion’s Rock, which is a short hike to the top but offers even better views – it’s one of the best things to do at Piha Beach!

You will see Lion’s Rock as soon as you arrive at Piha Beach, it is a large rock with a hiking trail right from the beach. The hike is very common.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

Piha Beach is about an hour drive from Auckland. The road there does get very narrow with sharp turns so take your time and drive carefully.

Once you’re at Piha beach there are lots of places to park, cafes and restaurants around.

If you loved Piha beach as much as I did, maybe consider renting an Airbnb in the area and spending a night or two hanging out at the beach!

Discover the best beaches around Auckland, soft wet sandy beach with person walking off into distance towards green hills leaving a trail of footprints under a cloudy sky

2. Bethells Beach

Of all the best beaches near Auckland, Bethells Beach is my favourite!

It is actually relatively close to Piha Beach but much quicker to get to via a better road. From Auckland city center Bethells Beach is about a 45 minute drive.

What makes Bethells Beach special though isn’t how easy it is to get there, but the variety of things to do and see once your there.

Once you’re at the Bethells Beach car-park you must walk about 5 minutes to the beach.

From there if you turn left and walk along the coast for about 20 minutes you will reach an awesome big cave, known as Bethells Cave.

This can only be done at low tide, but makes for the perfect place to hang out for a bit. You won’t find amazing caves like this at Auckland city beaches!

💡 PACKING TIP: Make sure you bring a good snorkel, water shoes and a fast-drying towel for all of the beach-going you’re about to do!

If you turn right instead of left toward the cave and walk along the coast and across a small river-crossing then you will get to an entirely different bay!

The bay here is more beautiful than Bethells with how secluded it is and because of the rock formations. It’s more picturesque than a lot of the best beaches in Auckland city!

Climb over the hill at the back of the beach and then you will get to another beach: O’Neil’s Bay!

This beach is famous for surfing and you are guaranteed to be entertained watching all of the surfers. Again, this walk is best done at low tide.

Check out these beautiful beaches in Auckland and nearby, small river winding into green grassland towards rolling green hills under a cloudy sky at sunset

If exploring Bethells Beach and area wasn’t enough though, on the drive back you can stop and check out the Bethells Beach Sand Dunes.

From the road you must walk about 30 minutes but then you will be greeted with crazy sand dunes and a huge lake.

The walk is 2 km one way and is fairly easy as it is mostly flat ground and sign posted.

👡 PACKING TIP: Looking for the best shoes for travelling? I highly recommend getting a pair of Chaco’s They are my favourite!

Head out and explore these beaches close to Auckland, view of coastline with sandy beach and parking area amidst rolling green hills and grassy fields under a blue sky with clouds

3. Muriwai Beach

There may be beautiful beaches in Auckland itself, but Muriwai Beach is the perfect place to head to for sunset.

When we were there, the grassy area was perfect for relaxing with a beer in hand while watching the sun go down with several paragliders hanging overhead.

Pick your favourite of the best beaches around Auckland, view of tall standing rock formations surrounded by blue ocean waves under a setting sun

From the months of August to March it is possible to see the colony of Gannets which are big birds. They nest on the cliffs next to Muiwai beach.

This is actually a really popular spot for tourists to visit, especially those who love watching birds. There is a short walk to get to the best viewing point of the birds.

🗺 TOUR RECOMMENDATION: Looking to do a tour to discover the best of New Zealand? Join a Haka tour and see some of the most beautiful spots NZ has to offer!

On the way back to Auckland (to see the rest of the best Auckland beaches) you can stop in the town of Parakai at the Parakai Hot Springs if you want to go for a dip.

They aren’t the most amazing hot pools New Zealand has to offer but are a great option for warming up (especially in the winter!).

Muriwai Beach is about 45 minutes from Auckland city center. It is easy to drive to and there are actually even guided tours that go there.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What is the most popular beach in Auckland?

Piha Beach is the most famous of the beaches near Auckland – it’s recognised the world over for its beauty!

✅ Can you swim at the beaches in New Zealand?

Yes you can, provided you take the appropriate safety precautions and follow the local instructions. There are plenty of swimming opportunities at beaches near Auckland.

✅ What is the nicest beach in New Zealand?

That’s entirely up to you! Why not try out these beaches near Auckland and see which is your favourite?

These three beaches are all super easy to get to from Auckland and all look so different from each other.

If you love the outdoors and find yourself in Auckland you can explore the surrounding area very easily. The beaches are just beautiful!

Author: Bailey is a budget traveler always searching for her next adventure. After spending more than a year travelling in Latin America, Bailey is now exploring New Zealand.

You will likely find her hiking, going on road trips, or drinking wine while staring at an amazing view.

You can follow Bailey on her journey on her blog, Destinationless Travel, or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

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3 Beaches Near Auckland You Need to Check Out

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