Find out why Auckland’s beaches are the best in the world
From black sand surf beaches to pristine golden bays with crystal clear water, the greater Auckland region is home to three harbours and hundreds of kilometres of spectacular coastline, covering a range of diverse landscapes.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet white sand beach to stroll along, an exciting surfing adventure, an unforgettable hiking trip, or a world-class bird watching experience, this stunning piece of paradise in the southern hemisphere is the perfect beachside holiday destination. And as a local eco tour company, we know all the region’s best kept secrets.
Here’s why we think Auckland’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world…
The sheer diversity
There is a huge variety of choices in the greater Auckland region, from the stunning white sand beaches right on the city’s doorstep to the dramatic sea cliffs on the West Coast.
Within easy reach of Auckland, Whatipu, at the entrance of Manukau Harbour, is a spectacular scenic reserve at the Waitakere Ranges, with native bush, black sand, caves, cliffs and marshland covering the untamed landscape. It is the perfect place for a relaxed day of sightseeing and walking, with interesting history and outstanding views along the way.
If you’d rather a bit more of a lively atmosphere, the contrasting Long Bay, with its stunning white sand beach, lush parkland and fantastic walking trails, is home to a thriving local community – popular with local and visiting families. It is home to 28 hectares of community parks and protected heritage sites, with magnificent views across the Hauraki Gulf.
Auckland has some of the world’s most amazing beaches, and Habitat Tours will give you a first-hand taste of what can be found across the region.
The forest meets the sea
Just 40 minutes from Auckland city centre, the incredible Waitakere Ranges cover a stunning 16,000 hectares (39,000 acres) of rainforests and coastline, and it is the ideal setting for an unforgettable day tour. Within the spectacular region, there are 250 kilometres of walking and hiking trails with breathtaking views of unspoilt beaches as well as an open sea that separates New Zealand from Australia. The area is a surfer’s paradise, with pounding waters rolling onto the iron ore-rich black sand. Being an area of such outstanding natural beauty, you might even catch some filming underway. The Piano and Xena: Warrior Princess are just two examples of some of the many productions that have taken advantage of the beautiful filming location.
The spectacular wildlife
From rare birds to giant marine animals, Auckland’s beaches and waters are home to an abundance of wildlife. The stunning peninsula, vibrant farmland, long, sandy beaches and majestic Pacific Ocean at Tawharanui Regional Park are perfect for picnics, walking and swimming, but above all else, the area is a utopia for bird watching. The park is home to a protected breeding area of very rare New Zealand dotterel birds, with an ecology trail beginning on the beach, continuing onto farmland and then into a valley with a native forest. At night, the skies offer some world-class stargazing opportunities, and you might even see the famous but secretive nocturnal kiwi in its natural habitat.
Besides endemic and rare birds, the bays and harbours across the vast stretch of greater Auckland coastline are lucky enough to be visited by beautiful sea creatures, including bottlenose and common dolphins, and the particularly magnificent orca.
The amazing islands
There are 47 stunning islands dotting the Hauraki Gulf, which stretches between Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island. The islands can be reached by ferry and make fantastic day tours packed with hiking, bird watching and unforgettable sightseeing. The volcanic Rangitoto Island is home to the world’s largest pohutakawa forest and visitors can see the black lava caves while climbing to the summit.
For wine lovers, Waiheke is an absolute must – known as the island of wine, because of its many wineries and vineyards. There are plenty of tasting and tour opportunities on the island, along with beautiful beaches and scenic cycling and walking trails.
Leave the world behind for a truly incredible experience on Great Barrier Island, a sanctuary of untouched wilderness, with wonderful native forests, pristine sea coves, quiet beaches and peaceful walking trails.
The Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and volunteers have put an enormous effort into the conservation and restoration of the region’s spectacular islands. The projects have been particularly successful on Tiritiri Matangi, Motutapu and Motuihe, with the reintroduction of native wildlife.
The best ways to explore Auckland and its beautiful surrounding beaches and landscapes is with a local who knows all the secrets and hidden gems of the region. Habitat Tours offers intimate eco day tours and bird watching tours with passionate expert guides.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist