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Best Coromandel Beaches: Sun, Surf, Scenery

Are you ready for some sun, sand, and sea? Are you looking for the most iconic, most beautiful New Zealand beaches? Search no farther than the spectacular beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand is home to some of the most stunning and diverse beaches you’ll ever lay your eyes on. From long, white sandy beaches to hidden coves surrounded by lush vegetation, there’s something for everyone on this amazing peninsula. When looking for the Coromandel’s best beaches, you’ll find natural wonders, soft sand, excellent surf conditions, and unspoiled natural beauty. 

The Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand feels very much off the beaten path, even though it’s close to three major cities. You could happily spend weeks in the Coromandel, because it’s that amazing.

Choosing the perfect beach can be a bit overwhelming, especially when there are so many great options. So, I’ll be sharing tips, information on the best activities, and everything else you need to know to make the most of your visit.

Whether you’re planning a solo adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, there’s a Coromandel beach for you. Grab your togs, jandals, and beach towel! Let’s dive in and discover the best beaches this amazing peninsula has to offer!

This guide to the best beaches Coromandel visitors can’t miss will help you plan your visit to the spectacular Coromandel peninsula. 

20 Best beaches in the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

The Coromandel Peninsula is a very popular holiday destination in New Zealand. When you see its beautiful white-sand beaches meet the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll know why the Coromandel is a favorite destination for Kiwis and international tourists alike.

This guide to the 20 best Coromandel beaches goes from south to north, roughly following state highway 25 along the east coast of the peninsula (at least until you head to Fletcher Bay). There are hidden gems and well-known beaches, so enjoy exploring any and all of these lovely locations!

1. Waihi Beach

Right at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, you’ll find Waihi Beach. This long, lovely beach is one of the safest beaches for surfing and swimming.

There’s a lot to do in the town, including cycling and hiking. There are lots of restaurants, shops, and accommodations.

If you don’t have time to venture far into the Coromandel, Waihi Beach is a nice introduction to the area.

Waihi Beach, Coromandel, NZ

2. Whiritoa Beach

Whiritoa Beach is a long and wide beach located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. The beach is known for its safe and sheltered swimming, and is a popular spot for families and surfers. Whiritoa Beach is located near the town of Whiritoa and can be reached by following signs from the town. There is a car park available at the beach.

3. Whangamata Beach

Whangamata is a quintessential New Zealand surfing town, offering plenty of surf shops, as well as dining and shopping options steps from the beach. The white sands and excellent surf great of Whangamata beach make it a popular surfing spot with tourists and Kiwis alike.

If you want a bit of adventure, kayak over to Donut Island to look for marine life in the turquoise waters.

To reach the beach, park at the Whangamata Beach car park and take a short walk to the beach. The beach has plenty of room for visitors to spread out and enjoy the waves. It’s a very popular small town, so if you want to stay there, make reservations in advance.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel, NZ

4. Onemana Beach

Onemana Beach is a crescent-shaped beach known for its stunning golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and peaceful atmosphere.

The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, surfing, and fishing. The northern end of the beach is surrounded by lush bush and native trees; you’ll even find a small waterfall there.

There’s parking and toilets at the beach, plus nearby cafe.

5. Opoutere Beach

To reach Opoutere Beach, you’ll walk 20 minutes through a pine forest before reaching sand dunes that lead to a beautiful expanse of white sand. Opoutere is one of the best places to experience the magic of New Zealand’s pristine beaches.

The rips can be dangerous, and there are no lifeguards, so it’s not the safest beach for swimming. The area is a breeding ground for endangered bird species, including dotterels which nest in the dunes.

Be advised that some visitors to Opoutere Beach use it as a clothing-optional beach.

Pauanui Beach, Coromandel, NZ

6. Pauanui Beach

Across from Tairua is Pauanui, a community built as a holiday destination. The beach has a long stretch of white sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Pauanui Beach is safe for swimming, and if the wind is right, it’s great for windsurfing or kitesurfing. For surfers, there’s an easier break and a right hand point break, so good surfing for every experience level.

It’s a popular destination for birdwatching as well, with protected species nesting in the sand dune. Its also a great place for a picnic or a relaxing stroll along the shore.

7. Tairua Beach

At the base of Mount Paku and across the harbor from Pauanui, you’ll find the lovely Tairua Beach, also known as Ocean Beach. There’s a good reason this beach is popular with surfers: it captures the best of the easterly swells.

Hike up to volcanic Mt. Paku for panoramic views of the Alderman Islands and The Pinnacles.

Tairua Harbor is protected and safe for kayaking and windsurfing.

8. Te Karo Bay

Te Karo Bay is also known as Sailors Grave, because its the site of the oldest known sailor’s grave in New Zealand. You’ll recognize the memorial by the white picket fence around the grave.

But don’t let that sad fact dissuade you from visiting. Te Karo Bay is a gorgeous sandy beach with excellent views of the sea. There’s good surfing and scenic walks.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel, NZ

9. Hot Water Beach

Like no other beach you’ve ever been to, Hot Water Beach is an unforgettable New Zealand experience. On an area of the beach exposed at low tide, hot water rises to the surface, and visitors can make their own spa pool!

At Hot Water Beach, you can dig your own hot water pools in the sand at low tide, then relax in the warm thermal water from the natural hot springs.

From the Hot Water Beach car park, just cross a small stream, and you’re on the beach. Low tide is the best time to visit, so check tide schedules before you go.

Visitors can rent spades to dig their own hot pool in the sand. At high tide, the hot water springs are covered by the ocean, and all the hot tubs wash away.

Hahei Beach, Coromandel, NZ

10. Hahei Beach

Hahei Beach is famous for its long, pink sandy beach edged with pohutukawa trees. Accessible by foot or boat, and protected by off shore islands that form a breakwater, this beach is known for its great snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking.

Hahei Beach is between Cooks Beach and Hot Water Beach, and close to the trail to Cathedral Cove.

Hahei Beach is simply beautiful. If you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or a place to go with children, Hahei is a great choice.

Cathedral Cove Beach, Coromandel, NZ

11. Cathedral Cove 

Perhaps Cathedral Cove is the most iconic of all New Zealand beaches. It’s famous for being featured in Chronicles of Narnia movie and being the image on the Windows 10 lock screen. 

Cathedral Cove features two small, secluded coves, joined by the arch, with crystal clear waters and a sheltered swimming area.

The rock formations surrounding the beach, including a dramatic, naturally formed arch, are a highlight of the visit.

Snorkellers in the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve can expect to see a variety of native fish and seaweed. Scuba divers will see sponge gardens and coral reefs.

Currently, Cathedral Cove can only be reached by boat or kayak, due to damage to the hiking trail caused by heavy rains.

12. Cooks Beach

Cooks Beach is a sheltered beach with clear waters, plenty of parking, and a playground for kids.

Its gorgeous expanse of white sand has a gentle slope, so Cooks Beach is the perfect swimming beach.

While there, you can also kayak or walk to Shakespeares Cliff. Cooks Beach is also a great launchpad for exploring nearby Mercury Bay.

Cooks Beach, Coromandel, NZ

13. Lonely Bay

Tucked between two steep white cliffs, Lonely Bay is, well, a fairly empty place where you can enjoy a picturesque, unspoiled, secluded Coromandel gem.

There’s easy access to Lonely Bay just a short scenic walk and down some steps from the car park, or you can reach the bay by boat.

There are plentiful shells and small caves to explore. It’s a nice beach to go to with kids.

14. Opito Bay

Opito Bay is both beautiful and secluded. This gorgeous spot known for its clear waters and white sand beaches. You’ll have stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Mercury Islands.

Opito Bay is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and it is also a great place for a picnic or a peaceful stroll along the shore.

The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation and has plenty of space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the sun and sea.

Opito Bay’s secluded location provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape–and never feel crowded.

15. Otama Beach

Otama Beach is secluded and beautiful beach located on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. It is known for its clear waters, white sand, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Otama Beach is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and kayaking, and it is also a great place for a picnic or a peaceful stroll along the shore.

There is plenty of space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the sun and sea. You can relax on the beach, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

16. Kuaotunu Beach

This Coromandel beach is a quiet and peaceful long sandy beach with calm waters, ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Explore the rock pools to look for sea life. If you’re there in the evening, sunsets and stargazing are both incredible.

Stop at Luke’s Kitchen for pizza or the general store for the Kuaotuna Killer ice cream!

17. Matarangi Beach

Matarangi Beach boasts a long, wide white sand beach with safe swimming. Its a great spot for a fun-filled day at the beach.

The village beside the beach was built as a resort town with holiday-makers in mind. Even so, the beach feels isolated and unspoiled.

Whangapoua Beach, Coromandel, New Zealand

18. Whangapoua Beach

One of the Coromandel’s most beloved beaches, Whangapoua is known for being a beautiful safe swimming beach, great for kids and families. You’ll find a long sandy shore with easy access to toilets and parking.

19. New Chums Beach

Right by Whangapoua Beach, New Chums Beach (Wainuiototo Bay) is one of the most secluded and unspoiled beaches in the area. This hidden gem is so isolated that even New Zealanders rarely venture there.

The hike to New Chum Beach (approximately a 30-minute walk each way) begins at the northern end of Whangapoua Beach and ends with a steep descent to the beach. The beach itself is a secluded and unspoiled stretch of sand, surrounded by native bush and birdlife.

There are no toilets or restaurants, so take everything you’ll need with you and carry out your trash when you leave.

Fletcher Bay, Coromandel, New Zealand

20. Fletcher Bay

If you want to truly escape the crowds, head up to Fletcher Bay on the very northern tip of the Coromandel. Fletcher Bay is about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Coromandel Township up the western side of the peninsula, so it’s a bit off the beaten path and only accessible by a dirt road.

This remote beach boast amazing views of the Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island, and Mercury Island.

If you go, you should also trek the Coromandel Coastal Walkway. It takes about 7 hours to go the whole way and return. You’ll see the best of New Zealand’s farmland, bush, and coastline.

FAQs about the Coromandel

How do you get to the Coromandel Peninsula?

By Car
The Coromandel Peninsula is on New Zealand’s North Island. The largest town in Whitianga, which is about a 3 hour and 15 minutes drive from Auckland or Hamilton, and two and half hours from Tauranga.  

Just use your GPS to route you to your destination, but expect the trip to take longer than you think. The Coromandel is a rural, with narrow, winding roads through native forest; driving there can be challenging, depending on where exactly you go.

By Plane
Air Coromandel/Great Barrier Airlines run daily flights, as well as scenic flights, between Auckland, Whitianga, Great Barrier Island, and other locations.

By Ferry
You can take a ferry between Auckland and Coromandel Town, then pick up a rental car at the ferry landing in Coromandel Town.

By Bus
There are regular coach services between Auckland, Whitianga, and Coromandel Town.

How long should I spend on the Coromandel?

The Coromandel is close enough to be a day trip from Auckland, Tauranga, or Hamilton. However, I would encourage you to spend a few days on the Coromandel.

If you want to make go just for one day, I recommend not driving there yourself, unless you’re very comfortable driving in New Zealand.

Where should I stay in the Coromandel?

There are plenty of accommodations around the Coromandel. Decide where you’d most like to go, and make that area your base.

If you have time, I recommend staying in different towns. There’s no one perfect place, because you have so many great choices!

What kinds of accommodation are there on the Coromandel?

Campgrounds and Holiday Parks on the Coromandel
You’ll find plenty of campgrounds and holiday parks in close proximity to Coromandel beaches. Pitching a tent or parking your motorhome at a holiday park is an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy the Coromandel during the summer months.

Holiday Homes on the Coromandel
You can book a holiday home, or “bach,” so you can settle in and enjoy your stay.

Hotels on the Coromandel
If you’d like a bit more pampering, a hotel or motel would be the perfect spot for you to relax on your Coromandel vacation.

Final thoughts: best beaches Coromandel visitors love

When visiting the Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand, you have so many beautiful beaches to choose from. You honestly can’t go wrong if you spend a day at any of the beaches on the Coromandel.

Enjoy the clear waters, sandy beaches, and views of offshore islands. The Coromandel beaches are truly one of the best things about New Zealand.

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