Auckland is known as the City of Sails, and home to many top-notch beaches, from gentle shores to extreme surf spots. You’ll need a vehicle to make the most of Auckland’s beaches but a car rental from Hertz will see you right. Auckland car hire and Auckland Airport car hire options are all available.
Just a short drive east of the CBD, Mission Bay is always popular with locals and visitors alike. Follow Tamaki Drive along the waterfront and enjoy sweeping views of the harbour, which will be dotted with yachts on a clear day. This beach is ideal for sunbathing, strolling and picture-taking. Just be prepared to fight for parking and queue for ice cream.
Suburban Long Bay is usually packed with families, its pristine white sand and clear water appealing to all ages. Half an hour north of downtown, it lies within a charming coastal regional park. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the shore after a quick dip, or slip into some sturdy shoes to explore the walking trails, which offer stunning panoramic views and the remains of WWII gun emplacements.
To the south-east of the city centre lies Maraetai. It’s sited on a headland and dates back to early settler days – “Maraetai” is Maori for “meeting place by the sea”, an apt and accurate description. Whether you want to fish, swim or simply enjoy a leisurely walk and drink in the visual vistas, the area has it all. Nearby is Omana Regional Park, which houses a campground, farm, picnic and barbecue facilities and another swimming beach.
A car rental will be key if you want to make the most of Auckland’s west coast, less than an hour’s drive from the city centre. The sparkling black sand and pounding surf on the wild west beaches are not easy or cheap to get to without private transport. These beaches are generally less crowded and more rugged, but no less enchanting. Among the most famous is Piha – beautiful yet dangerous. Visitors should err on the side of caution when in or near the water. The nearby Karekare is also worth a stop, primarily for its waterfall and waterholes, a few minutes’ walk into the bush.