When the heat is on, there’s only one place to cool down – the beach. Lucky then that Auckland has 1,000 beaches but some are more popular than others. Want to avoid the crowds? Scope out 10 of the city’s most secret beaches – all are quiet little spots for throwing down a towel and catching some rays, as recommended by locals.
You know when you stumble across one of New Zealand’s stunning nook and crannies and you have that ah-ha moment? Well this is one of them. Whites is a a beach you go to for peace and tranquillity, unless you’re a surfer chasing waves. It’s so secluded that you’re often alone on its sands, bar the scattering of birds and other local wildlife. You do have to go for a wee little hike in order to get there, but it’s a sweet little nook that you’d want to visit if you had the chance.
This cosy little beach has plenty to offer. Enjoy a picnic on the grass, swim in the bay, or walk out to Sugar Loaf Island when the tide is low and climb to the top. As kids we used to pretend we owned the island. The perfect place to take the family of all ages.
It’s not that often you get to find a beach where you can just take the leash off your furry friends and let them play in the water, which is why Kakamatua Inlet is such a gem. Considered one of Auckland dog owners’ hidden treasures, Kakamatua is a dog-friendly beach, a perfect place to play fetch or just take a morning stroll or swim especially during low tide. A 5-minute stroll through the bushes and trees down to the inlet, you and your pets can easily access the beach.
One of Auckland City’s secret (and very best) inner-city swim spots, Judges Bay is one of my favourite places to swim because it’s got pool steps down into the water. After stripping down to your togs and then dipping your big toe in, you can walk like a lady into the water and transport yourself back to 1914 when the nearby salt water Parnell Baths were first built and when this little hidden gem of an inlet was at its most popular as a bathing spot. And if you’re like me and love to have lots of fun in the water, there’s also a wooden diving platform out in the bay that’s perfect for doing bombs off. In the height of summer, the water in Judges Bay can sometimes become contaminated so it pays to check the Auckland Council website before taking a day out here in early January/February.
Narrow Neck Beach
Spent a lovely, lazy day at Narrow Neck beach – found a shaded spot just above the sand for a family picnic, and after all the swimming was done (and food demolished!), we moved to the park across the road to bring out the soccer ball. It’s a safe beach with a great atmosphere.
Over the hill from Long Bay lies one of the best-kept secret beaches north of Auckland. Known as being one of the safest nudist beaches in the country, there’s lots of shade from the overhanging trees so it’s the perfect spot on a hot, hot day. Plus the views to Rangitoto are incredible!
Through a rocky pathway, past beautiful homes and crashing waves you will find Minnehaha Beach; a cove for the tan and beautiful. This intimate swimming spot boasts a body of clear, blue water and enough sand to perch on with a group of friends or family. Overhanging tree branches provide spots to shade from the beaming sun and you’re bound to bump into someone you know. Minnehaha appears secret in it’s location though popular with it’s visitors. A beach offering space to play, sunbathe and wallow in the waters. Indulge in yourself, bring your beach towel and spend an afternoon here.
Karaka Bay is known to locals as the little hidden gem of Auckland City. It’s so close to all the hustle and bustle, yet manages to stay serene and peaceful. It really is the perfect location for a family day out. Bring the sammies, the bubbles, whatever your fancy, this beach is made for all-day indulging. Make sure you’re wearing at least your jandals though as the only way to reach this sweet spot is through a windy track of Peacock St.
Sentinel Beach Reserve
This is little hidden beach for picnics in the summer. The view across the harbour is 10/10 and if you come at the right times your dog can play on the beach too. The water is always calm and the views of the surrounding cliffs and Pohutukawa trees are picturesque as hell.
A good beach always requires a decent trek and the walk from Bethells Beach over to O’Neill’s is well worth the mission. You will love splashing through the stream on the way to the beach. It is one of the favourite little west coast haunts that’s a bit of a hidden gem.