The 10 Best Coromandel Peninsula Beaches

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The Coromandel Peninsula, or just Coromandel for short, is an absolute must for any beach-lover visiting New Zealand. Despite being within a stone's throw of Auckland, the country's largest city, this 85 Km spit of land is as pristine as it is picturesque

Fringed with some of New Zealand's most iconic beaches, such as Cathedral Cove, Coromandel sits between the deep blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean and the sheltered waters of the Hauraki Gulf. There are in fact nearly 400 Km of coast surrounding the peninsula which offers a truly diverse range of beautiful beaches.

Running the length of the interior of the peninsula is the Coromandel Range of mountains surrounded by extensive rainforest of the Coromandel Forest Park. This provides a spectacular backdrop and also offers some great opportunities to explore beyond the powdery sand of its beaches.

  • 1. Whangamata Beach

    Whangamata Beach
    Simon Morris
    Great for:
    • Swimming
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    Recently voted the best beach in the country by New Zealanders, Whangamata Beach is also famed for its breaks, and welcomes surfers from across the globe eager to tackle the left hand break of Whangamata Bar. But if you're not expert enough on a board to try your hand at this just yet, there are plenty of gentle peaks for even beginners to stand on a board for the first… read more »

  • 2. Otama Beach

    Otama Beach
    © Pseudopanax@Wikimedia / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Otama Bay lies 20 kilometres north of Whitianga, on the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Its white sands stretch for two kilometres, protected on the landward side by low dunes. At its northernmost end there is a small stream and a rocky outcrop with some shady trees. The sands have a pleasing squeak when you walk over them, and are as close to pristine as its possible to… read more »

  • 3. Cathedral Cove

    Cathedral Cove
    © muha04

    Cathedral Cove is considered by many to be the gem of the Coromandel Peninsula, which is quite an accolade given the stunning landscapes here. Set amongst the lush rolling landscape of the Coromandel Cathedral Cove is a small sandy beach backed by cliffs of white volcanic rock. At one end of the beach stands a towering sea stack of the same white rock, and like the cliffs small trees cling… read more »

  • 4. Hot Water Beach

    Hot Water Beach
    Carsten Arsten
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming
    • Surfing

    Not your run-of-the-mill beach by any means, Hot Water Beach gets its name, not from the waters of the Pacific Ocean it meets, but from two underground naturally heated springs that well up through the soft sand two hours either side of low tide.

    Rent a spade from the onsite café and prepare your very own private spa, relaxing in mineral rich waters up to 64°C in temperature, just a few… read more »

  • 5. Tairua Beach

    Tairua Beach
    Great for:
    • Swimming
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    Located on State Highway 25a on the opposite side of the bay from Pauanui, Tairua Beach is one of the most centrally-located beaches found on the North Island's epic Coromandel Peninsula, making it a great base for exploring the region as well as a beach destination of some standing in its own right.

    Tairua Beach sits at the base of the twin peaked Mount Paku, in an area of picturesque grandeur… read more »

  • 6. New Chum Beach

    New Chum Beach
    © Pseudopanax / CC BY

    The 1 km long pristine white-sand of New Chum beach sits in a secluded spot on the northeastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Although not far from the nearest settlement this beach retains a very unspoilt feel.

    At the northern end of the beach is the 171 m tall wooded hill of Pukenui whilst the southern end is overlooked by the rocky Motuto Point which separates the beach from Whangapoua.

    read more »
  • 7. Hahei Beach

    Hahei Beach
    © Luke Harries / CC BY

    Set on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, Hahei is often overlooked in favour of its better known neighbour, Cathedral Cove. Famed for its limestone rock arch, Cathedral Cove has been used a location in a number of films including the Chronicles of Narnia movies.

    But Hahei beach itself is well worth a visit. It has the same limestone cliffs and pale, golden sand fringed with pohutukawa trees; it is lapped… read more »

  • 8. Buffalo Beach

    Buffalo Beach
    Great for:
    • Fishing
    • Swimming

    Buffalo Beach can be found forming the coastline to the town of Whitianga in Mercury Bay. This V-shaped inlet lies on the eastern side of the famed Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand's North Island.

    Intimately connected with the first European explorations of the country, it was here that Captain Cook took his measurements of the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun in 1769, leading to… read more »

  • 9. Opoutere Beach

    Opoutere Beach
    © Glenn Howell / CC BY
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    Situated on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula facing out into the depths of the Pacific Ocean, Opoutere comes from the Maori for "place of floating posts" and boasts five kilometres of white sand.

    At its southern end visitors will discover the picturesque harbour of Wharekawa, protected by a curving natural sand spit. It forms a lagoon-like appearance and is an important breeding site for many native and endangered New… read more »

  • 10. Kuaotunu Beach

    Kuaotunu Beach
    Simon Morris
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    Kuaotunu is a wide sandy beach backed by grassy dunes and mottled woodland 18 kilometres north of Whitianga on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. One of the most northerly beaches on the Coromandel, it has a shallow entrance into turquoise waters, while offering a naturalistic experience. The endangered dotterel nests just off the beach, and dolphins are often observed in the shallows.

    The high number of permanent residents living… read more »