It’s no secret that I spent the majority of the year 2012 being a beach bum in New Zealand’s Far North – an area of the country very few people – both tourists and Kiwi’s alike – ever explore. In fact, after speaking with travellers who’ve been to New Zealand, very few, if any ever made it north of Auckland, and if they did they usually only ever went as far north as the Bay of Islands.
So why was it that I decided to spend the entirety of my working holiday in New Zealand in a town with a population of only 1065? Because who wouldn’t want to live amongst some of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand’s Far North? It may have made getting paid work a bit more difficult than expected, but was oh-so-worth it when I got to literally fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the ocean.
Below I wanted to share some of my favourite beaches – some of the ones I consider to be the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand’s Far North.
I completely stumbled upon the beach at Rangiputa one beautiful day when I was out cruising and exploring my new surroundings – this particular day I was taking in the Karikari peninsula – a 40-minute drive from where I was living. While I never got to enjoy getting into the water here – it was a delight to photograph, and the fact that nobody was around, made it all that much more special.
Checking out Puheke Beach had been a recommendation from a local friend of mine. He told me it was usually deserted, which was part of what made it so special (see the trend here?). In fact, when I found myself wandering over the sand dunes to make it down to the waters edge – I even found a couple who too had found it’s beauty irresistible, as they were enjoying a little romp in the sand. Awkward… hopefully they read this post first! Thankfully, the beach is quite long, so I managed to head in the opposite direction to take in the natural beauty of New Zealand’s Far North.
Whatuwhiwhi (pronounced Fah-two-fifi)
While this particular beach isn’t one that knocks your socks off in terms of its beauty… there was something so peaceful and serene about this place. There were often times when I would simply drive there and spend some time in my own head. There were rarely others around, which made it that much more special.
While living in New Zealand’s Far North, Coopers Beach is where I would go to get the best fish and chips around (shameless plug for Out of the Blue Takeaways). What’s better than eating fish and chips on the beach? Since half my friends lived around this area, I found myself frequenting this beach whenever I made the 40-minute drive out that way. With views of the Karikari Peninsula to the northwest, and Mangonui, Hihi and Taemaro to the east – the views here are absolutely stunning.
Just down the road from Coopers Beach, you’ll find Cable Bay – across from this stretch of beach you’ll find an ice cream shop that scoops some of New Zealand’s finest ice cream… sure to hit the spot after your meal of fish and chips down the road. Take your cone, and enjoy a nice stroll along the beach.
I spent a couple nights camping at this very-Far-North beach just a short drive from Cape Reinga – the top of New Zealand. My friends and I found ourselves swimming, building sandcastles and fishing right off of the beach here, and some of the members of my group were even so adventurous to go spearfishing and brought in quite the haul! It’s a nice long stretch of beach, and wasn’t overly busy – perfect for groups of friends or families with children. (Photo credit: Kate Clarke, Life Outside My Comfort Zone)
Ninety Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach – a misnomer – as it’s actually only about 55-miles; will always hold a very special place in my heart. It was home, after all. The first flat I lived in was literally across the street from the beach and my bedroom (and living room) had magnificent views of Ahipara Bay. My second home still had similar views – only the flat was up on the hill giving a more expansive view of the area – and the beach just seemed to go on forever. On very rare but special occasions I would see whales or dolphins cruising by. Some of my unemployed days were spent horseback riding along the beach, while others enjoyed surfing, fishing or ATVing. Closer to the north end of the beach visitors can even go sand boarding down the great sand dunes.
It was the small town charm and breathtaking landscapes that had me settling into the Far North for the long haul while I was on my working holiday visa in New Zealand. The beautiful beaches just made it all the more perfect in my eyes. Don’t take my word for it, though, go see it for yourself and let me know if there are any other beautiful beaches that you’ve managed to find in this special corner of the world.
Have you been to any of these beautiful beaches in New Zealand’s Far North? Have you been to others that you feel should be added to the list?