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Secret, amaz­ing beaches in New Zea­l­and

Some of NZ’s most beau­ti­ful and secluded beaches can only be accessed via a decent walk along a coastal track. These hid­den gems lure you for­ward with glimpses of twink­ling blue water on the hori­zon, before reward­ing your efforts with swathes oNew Chums Beachf sand and birds wheel­ing across the sky.

These spe­cial beaches make for a great day out. Remem­ber to pack a pic­nic!

1. Smug­glers Bay, Whangarei Heads, North­land
Access: An easy 40-minute return track from the car park at the end of Urquharts Bay Rd, straight to the beach.

Tucked away in the coastal forest of Bream Head Scen­ic Reserve, Smug­glers Bay is a treas­ure trove of powder white sand, clear blue waters and rolling break­ers.

2. Whites Beach, Anawhata, Auck­land Region
Access: An easy-to-mod­er­ate 1‑hour return, 1.2km track des­cends steeply from Anawhata Rd, via a private con­crete drive­way to the beach.

Fans of this hid­den gem in the Waitakere Ranges have described tak­ing a dip here ‘like swim­ming in cham­pagne’ and this west coast treas­ure hap­pens to have been the favour­ite hide­away of Sir Edmund Hil­lary. (NB: beaches in this region require cau­tion when swim­ming.)

3. New Chums Beach, Whanga­p­oua Bay, Coro­man­del
Access: An easy-to-mod­er­ate, 1‑hour return track. Wade through the lagoon at the north­ern end of Whanga­p­oua Beach, then around the boulders at the edge of the sea and across the saddle track to New Chums Beach.

With a long curved white-sand beach, clear waters and a pohu­tukawa-fringed shore, this pristine beach is a stun­ner. As one of the last undeveloped beaches on the Coro­man­del Pen­in­sula, New Chums retains its pur­ity thanks to its lack of easy access.

4. Whar­ariki Beach, Golden Bay, Nel­son Region
Access: An easy 40-minute return track from the car park at the end of Whar­ariki Rd, through farm pad­docks and a sec­tion of coastal forest to reach the beach.

Lying close to Farewell Spit, Whar­ariki Beach’s dra­mat­ic coastal land­scape is a spec­tac­u­lar mix of sculp­ted caves, islets, rock pools and vast sand dunes. Keep an eye out for seals when vis­it­ing this beach­combers’ para­dise.

Bluff Oyster FestivalSand­fly Bay, Otago Pen­in­sula

5. Sand­fly Bay, Otago Pen­in­sula
Access: An easy 1‑hour return track from the car park at the end of Seal Point Rd, past massive sand dunes to this wild beauty spot.

This evoc­at­ive beach gets its name from the sand that flies off the sand dunes on windy days, not from those annoy­ing bit­ing insects. There are spec­tac­u­lar views of the coast­line and cliff tops, and it is the land­ing point for the rare yel­low-eyed penguin/​hoiho. Please respect the birds and sea lions by keep­ing your dis­tance.

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