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  • Writer's pictureRach Stewart

TOP 10 BEST BEACHES IN COROMANDEL NEW ZEALAND


Best Beaches Coromandel Blog

When I think of summer in New Zealand I am reminded of the best beaches in the Coromandel! My summer holidays as a child consisted of my family loading up the pop top caravan with surf boards and boogie boards and hitting the best of the Coromandel beaches. White sand, bright blue water and tropical vibes were always on the cards when visiting the Coromandel.


Octopus Bay Onemana Coromandel
Octopus Bay near Onemana

Situated on the eastern side of the North Island, the Coromandel Peninsula is surrounded by the Hauraki Gulf on one side and Pacific Ocean on the other, with the Coromandel Range (elevation 900m) running down the centre of the peninsula separating the two.


NZ Canvas and Prints

The beaches in Coromandel are in my opinion some of the most beautiful and tropical you will find in New Zealand, and there is a reason why everyone flocks to this part of the country to wind down and relax for the summer .. Coromandel best beaches!


Top down view of waves Sailors Grave Tairua

It's hard to just list only 10 of the best Coromandel beaches when there are so many incredible blissful seaside escapes dotted in and around the Coromandel coastline, but I've gone through all of my absolute favourites and these are the ones that I have loved for the good vibes and the amazing photography. In no particular order, here they are:


MY TOP 10 BEST BEACHES COROMANDEL

 

NEW CHUMS BEACH COROMANDEL


New Chums Beach is a stunning and secluded Coromandel beach located near Whangapoua. Voted one of the worlds top 10 beaches, it is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on the planet, and for good reason. Golden sand beaches, native bush, red flowering Pohutukawa trees in the summer and turquoise blue water where dolphins can be seen playing in the waves all year round .. New Chums Beach truly is one of the best Coromandel beaches on offer.


New Chums Beach Coromandel
New Chums Beach Coromandel

New Chums Beach is only accessible on foot, via a 30 minute walk over rocks and boulders, and then through native bush to reach the beach, adding to its charm and seclusion. The walk itself is an experience in its own right, with beautiful scenery and a diverse range of flora and fauna to admire along the way.


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For photography, around the halfway point along the track to New Chums Beach, there is a track leading up to Motuto Point which is a magical spot at sunset and sunrise. It looks over the coast from above and gives a stunning perspective of the beach. However, this track is not for the faint hearted as it is very steep and requires a lot of climbing, even for such a short track. Do this at your own risk.


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WHANGAMATA BEACH COROMANDEL


Whangamata Beach is one of the more well-known Coromandel beaches in my Top 10 Best Beaches in Coromandel, but it's popular for many good reasons. Famous for its epic surf breaks, golden sand, and laid back atmosphere, during the summer months Whangamata is home to an influx of kiwis on holiday and tourists visiting New Zealand wanting a beach getaway.


Whangamata Beach also has close access to offshore islands including Whenuakura (Donut Island) which can be visited by kayak or paddleboard with local tour companies and guides.


Drone view over Donut Island Whangamata
Drone view over the Whangamata Islands

Whenuakura and the Whangamata Islands are classified as Wildlife Sanctuaries and Taonga (sacred) and there are strict rules that must be followed when visiting or getting close to the islands. There is no fishing, no dogs, and you mustn't land on the island even though that little beach is very tempting! Your safest bet is to go with a guide and learn more about the history and the rules.


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I found that Whangamata Beach is best to photograph at sunrise and golden hour in the morning. There is plenty of beach and sandy foreshore to choose from, but I really liked positioning the Whangamata Islands in my frame to give the image a focal point and contrast.


 

OTAMA BEACH COROMANDEL


Otama Beach is one of those Coromandel beaches that you just cant quite believe exists. I actually didn't know it existed until a friend who had a beach house in Whitianga took me there many moons ago. Otama Beach is the epitome of tropical paradise. White sand that squeaks underneath your feet as you walk to the shore, bright blue turquoise water that is so clear you can see the sun making patterns in the sand under the surface, and remoteness that takes you away from the crowds.


Otama Beach Coromandel
Under the Pohutukawa Trees at Otama Beach

Access to Otama Beach is on a fairly dicey road from the small Coromandel town of Kuaotunu and takes around 10 minutes from Lukes Kitchen restaurant to get there.


Once you're there it's time to relax at one of the best Coromandel beaches and take in the incredible scenery. 2 kilometres of magical sandy goodness and sometimes not a soul in sight.


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Sunrise at Otama Beach Coromandel
Sunrise at Otama Beach

My images from Otama Beach were taken at sunrise from the beach. The sunrise beach images were taken from the left end of the beach when you first drive into Otama.


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ONEMANA BEACH COROMANDEL


One of the true hidden gems and still off the tourist path is the stunning coastal town of Onemana not too far past Whangamata Beach heading north.


Onemana Beach is one the Coromandel's best beaches for its white sand, epic surf, stunning scenic walking tracks (including the Peninsula Lookout and the Onemana Walkway to Octopus Bay) and of course it's quiet laid back vibe. You can visit Onemana Beach and be one of the only people there. There are New Zealand Native Dotterel nesting on the beach which you can watch from a distance, rocky outcrops at each end with huge native Pohutukawa trees, and it is perfect for surfing and snorkelling.


The Alderman Islands New Zealand
The Alderman Islands seen from Onemana Beach

If you're freedom camping there are some spaces to stay the night near the public toilets however you need to be in a fully self contained camper.


Onemana Beach aerial Coromandel
Onemana Beach from the air

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There are beautiful compositions from Onemana Beach looking out to the Alderman Islands, and if you have a drone the coastline looks incredible from above. Take the walk over to Octopus Bay where there's a small beach and enjoy the Castaway moments where you feel like you're on a deserted island!


Onemana Beach works best at sunrise and golden hour in the morning.

 

OPOUTERE BEACH COROMANDEL


Opoutere Beach is another Coromandel Beach tucked away in a quiet and remote location just a little further on from Onemana Beach mentioned above. Opoutere Beach is the perfect spot if you're wanting to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful day at the beach and some of New Zealand's precious wildlife.


Opoutere Beach Coromandel
Opoutere Beach harbour entrance by drone

Opoutere Beach is one of the best places to unwind and soak up the natural beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula. The small coastal town has a quintessential hippy vibe to it, and you can stay at the Opoutere Coastal Camping campground and be a quick walk through the pines to the beach.


Opoutere Beach Coromandel Forest
Walking through the Pine forest to Opoutere Beach

Another best Coromandel Beach for perfect surf, squeaky white sand and bright blue water, Opoutere Beach is also a wildlife sanctuary. If you are lucky you will get to see a large range of native flora and fauna in the area including Kaka, Dotterel, the critically endangered Fairy Tern, Ruru, Fantail and Kingfishers.


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Opoutere Beach Harbour Inlet
Opoutere Beach Harbour Inlet by drone

My favourite way to photograph Opoutere Beach is by drone. The coast and then the inlet look absolutely incredible from the air .. you really get a sense of how magical this place is. Definitely a reason why I put it on my Best Coromandel Beaches list!


Opoutere Harbour Coromandel
Opoutere Harbour Coromandel

Opoutere Beach works best at sunrise and golden hour in the morning, or later in the afternoon with the drone.

 

TAIRUA BEACH COROMANDEL


Tairua Beach is the stunning Coromandel beach that sits under Mount Paku. Mount Paku is an ancient volcanic peak was born from an eruption around 8 million years ago. Nowadays you can see the peak dotted with holiday homes and locals who have chosen Tairua as their paradise to live in.


The coastal town of Tairua is surrounded by the Tairua Harbour and the surf beaches of Tairua and Pauanui. It is a popular spot for fishermen to launch their boats, a lot of the game fishing charters leave from Tairua, you can go out to the incredible Alderman Islands with local charters, and there are lots of options to kayak, sail and do watersports right from the harbour. Visitors also love to climb to the Mount Paku summit and complete the nearby Pumpkin Hill track.


Tairua Beach is very popular with surfers with it often becoming a surf hot spot when the tropical cyclones pass through and leave epic surf behind.


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Tairua Beach is absolutely beautiful at sunrise and also when the surf is pumping. Over the hill and a much lesser known beach, Sailors Grave is a stunning location to photograph the sunrise and put the drone up for an aerial view.


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HAHEI BEACH & CATHEDRAL COVE


Coming back to a couple of the more popular Coromandel Beaches in this list we have Hahei Beach and Cathedral Cove. But just because they are popular it doesn't mean they are any less beautiful!


Hahei Beach aerial image

Hahei Beach is a stunning slice of paradise located around 40 minutes south of Whitianga in the Coromandel. Like many of the best Coromandel beaches already mentioned, it is know for its crystal clear waters, white sandy beach, and picturesque surroundings.


The small coastal town of Hahei is a popular holiday spot during the summer time, with plenty of accommodation options and activities for visitors of all ages. The beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, and it is one of the safer Coromandel beaches on offer. There are several walking tracks that wind their way around the beach and the surrounding hills, one of them heading to the famous Cathedral Cove.


Cathedral Cove is a natural archway that has become an iconic landmark of the area and became quite famous after featuring in the Narnia movie a few years ago. The Cove is only accessible by foot or boat (there are plenty of companies operating), with a 1 hour hike one way. Once you arrive at Cathedral Cove, you'll be greeted by the sight of the archway, the surrounding cliffs, and that turquoise blue water.


PHOTOGRAPHY


Sunrise at Cathedral Cove Hahei
Sunrise at Cathedral Cove Hahei

Photography opportunities are endless at both Hahei Beach and Cathedral Cove, with options for both sunrise and sunset . The Coromandel has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand, so astrophotography here is also amazing. If you like seascapes, then this is the place to come.

 

MATARANGI BEACH COROMANDEL


Matarangi Beach is a quiet little paradise with 4.5 kilometres of squeaky white sand and turquoise blue waters. When the surf is up there is plenty of coastline to catch the perfect waves, and with rocky outcrops at the end of the beach with easy access to fishing spots, this is one of the best Coromandel Beaches for a reason.


Matarangi beach is only a short 25 minute drive from the town of Whitianga, making it an easy day trip or weekend getaway for anyone visiting the Coromandel. The beach itself is long and wide, with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.


PHOTOGRAPHY


The Matarangi Bluff walk is an easy walking track from the end of Goldfields Drive in Matarangi and has some great rocky outcrops which make for beautiful seascape photography.


The beach is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset for some wave photography and if you hit the tide right you can get some magical reflections in the sand.

 

FLETCHER BAY COROMANDEL


Fletcher Bay Coromandel
Fletcher Bay Coromandel

I can't have a list of the Coromandel's Best Beaches without mentioning one of the most beautiful locations on the other side of the peninsula in Northern Coromandel.


Fletcher Bay is the last stop on the Port Jackson Road and the furthest point in Northern Coromandel. It is a no exit road so the only way out is to go back the way you came. There is a Department of Conservation camp site meaning you can stay as long you want to in this stunning area of the Coromandel. In terms of Coromandel Beaches, this one is a little more rugged and more pebbly on the foreshore, but there is so much to do and explore from Fletcher Bay.


From Fletcher Bay you can start the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, a 20km (return) hike that provides for some of the most spectacular scenery you will find on the Coromandel.


The path runs from Fletcher Bay to Stony Bay (or vice versa and can be started at either end) and covers many diverse landscapes such as native bush, secluded coastal bays and farmland. Outlooks along the way include the vast expanse of the pacific ocean, Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Coastline, and Mount Moehau just to name a few. If you would like to do the walk one way (10km) there are tourism operators in the area that run pick-ups and can return you to your vehicle.


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The are endless photo opportunities on the Coromandel Coastal Walk so definitely make sure you have the camera ready!


 

Thanks so much for reading my blog on the Top 10 Best Coromandel Beaches ! There are so many amazing coastal locations in the Coromandel with these just being a few of my favourites.


If you are interested in prints of any of the New Zealand Landscape Photography seen in this blog, please feel free to head on over to my New Zealand Photography Print Store and have a little look around.




1 commentaire


gauthierphi04
08 mars 2023

Wonderful blog 😍🌟🙏🏼

Congratulation 👏🏼👏🏼

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