New Zealand boasts 29,000 kilometres of coastline, and Auckland has more than its fair share. We’ve picked out the best of the best; the must-see family beaches in Auckland.
Where? 275 Hibiscus Coast Highway, Orewa, Auckland
Orewa’s sweeping shoreline is three kilometres of paddle-boarders, volleyballers, windsurfers, kite surfers, joggers, dog-walkers, and every kind of surfie! Don’t worry, there’s still a spot for everyone. Kids will love watching the colourful action unfold in the sky — don’t forget to pack your kite to join in too. Active lifeguards keep an eye on the kiddies between the flags. Also mums, there are cafes, boutiques, op shops, ice-cream parlours and pubs right by the shore.
Where? Sunrise Boulevard, Snells Beach, Auckland
Snells Beach is a perfect place for toddlers to play and poke around. There’s no lack of rock pools to explore, there’s heaps of flat space for little feet to run around (meaning you can keep an eye on them from your comfortable set-up on the beach), and there’s a whole stretch of water that stays shallow. Surrounded by pohutukawa trees, and with a playground nearby, we’re sure you’ll love this kid-friendly spot.
Where? Beach Road, Waiake, Auckland
This cosy beach is rarely crowded with the hustle and bustle of Aucklanders, and remains a peaceful getaway. With a pontoon to lure in the teens, rock pools for the littlies to splash around in, a playground close by, and an expanse of sandy shoreline, everyone can have some summer fun. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the brave locals venturing out to Sugar Loaf Island at low tide for a daring climb!
Where? 39 The Strand, Takapuna, Auckland
Takapuna Beach is the chosen child of the North Shore. This is far from a sleepy beachside town; rather, Takapuna is a vibrant spot to add to your summer hit list. With beautiful white sands, this flat stretch of shoreline is perfect to paddle around in, socialise, build sand castles, and sunbathe. The new $1m playground is also a huge drawcard, plus the Mr Whippy truck is always hanging around. Keep a look out for the Takapuna Family Beach Day Festival hitting February next year, featuring a huge slide, ferris wheel, live music, and carnival favourites such as ice-cream, candy floss and toffee apples.
Long Bay Beach
Where? 2000 Beach Road, Long Bay, Auckland
It’s called Long Bay for a reason — there’s heaps of room for all. Kick back on the grass in the shade, or kick around your rugby ball, either way, soaking up the sun never felt so good. There’s an epic playground, barbecues available to book, and of course, a whole beach. This golden shore is truly the best part. You’ll be wanting to bottle up the chill beachy vibes and take them home with you.
Where? Huia Road, Huia, Auckland
Cornwallis is a calm, shallow beach, perfect for those who like to wallow in the warm waters, and for kiddies with little legs — making things a little less stressful. But there’s still fun for the older ones too. A huge wharf stands waiting in the water to be dive-bombed off. Make sure you pack your frisbee, soccer ball, volleyball, and of course the classic kiwi rugby ball too, because there’s heaps of space to play around.
Where? Anzac Road, Browns Bay, Auckland
This popular bay is now safer for kids to take a plunge with life guards on duty over summer. The beach is busy in summer’s full swing, but the park still has room to lay out the picnic rug and bask in the view of Rangitoto. (Plus there’s a fantastic playground and skatepark.) The treats are dangerously close with beachfront cafes and ice-cream parlours, and it’s less than a two minute walk to the centre of Browns Bay which is a hub of shops and stop-offs (and even Starbucks).
Where? Vauxhaull Road, Devonport, Auckland
With views of Rangitoto, Devonport’s idyllic seaside setting is the place where you’ll find your new favourite beach! The youngin’s can gather seashells, and lap up the summer sun at this gentle beach. There’s a playground, park, and even a fish and chip shop close by; the perfect opportunity to grab some kiwi grub without getting sandy fries. Cheltenham is only a wee walk from the ferry terminal and Narrow Neck Beach (which is friendlier than it sounds). It may be safer for the kids, but you’ll be wading for a while before reaching deep waters.
Big Manly Beach
Where? The Esplanade, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Auckland
Dubbed the best family beach on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, the ride will be worth it once you arrive at Big Manly Beach. This beach is full of adventures! At low tide you can take a trek over the rocks all the way to Tindalls Bay, another family favourite. A playground, barbecues and picnic tables are waiting to lead you to a relaxing afternoon. This beach is also boat-friendly, so drag along the dinghy too.
St Heliers Beach
Where? Tamaki Drive, St Heliers, Auckland
It can be a bit of a mish to get a spot at Mission Bay Beach. Luckily, St Heliers is close by. If you’re taking littlies, you’ll love this beach, as it is low tide, and there’s plenty of squelchy fun to be had. Mud not your thing? Then skip the swim and stroll across the scooter-friendly boardwalks, or hit up one of the many quaint cafes, ice-cream shops or restaurants.
Taurarua Judges Bay, Parnell
Where? Judges Bay Road, Parnell, Auckland
Stumble upon this hidden beauty, tucked away by the CBD. There’s a quaint beach, a pier, a boardwalk fitted with loungers, a pontoon, and all within the reach of central Parnell. Trip up to the Rose Gardens, or the Parnell Baths, or just for a sneaky shop. This man-made wonder is a safe swimming spot for those land-locked in the city. So if you want in on the secret bliss, be prepared for ‘do we have to go home yet?’.
By Olivia Stanley
Image at top: Judges Bay in Parnell