8 of the Dopest Beaches in Northland, New Zealand

Seemingly endless white sandy beaches, every shade of turquoise you’ve ever seen and some serious doses of vitamin sea; Northland is home to some of the best beaches in New Zealand. And if the saying bare feet, salty hair kind of sums you up, you’ll froth for the beaches in Northland; from secluded little bays to wide open spaces, these beach locations exhibit some of Mother Nature’s finest work and are sure to have you running around like a free-spirited hippy in no time.

And the best bit? You can visit all the beaches in Northland which are featured in this post in one week or less when road tripping through Northland. In this post, I’ve picked out the 8 dopest beaches in Northland including information on what makes each one so – well – DOPE. Plus a map to show the locations and a few pictures which will have you frothing for adventures to the far north.

#1 Waipu Cove

This little town is actually part of the incredible and vast Bream Bay. Why Waipu though? Not only is there adventures to be had in the surrounding area (including a cave!), but there’s a great surf spot here which attracts all the locals and Aucklanders on weekends. And with that comes a really lovely surf vibe; I’m talking big mural paintings on the beach facilities and a cute little cafe & bar hangout to sip on great coffee and local craft beers alike. Although we like to get off the beaten track, we do like to hang out with other people too.

#2 Mangawhai Heads

Just shy of 100km from Auckland, not only is this place a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, but it’s also the huge stretch of white sandy beach at Mangawhai Heads which is sure to have you maxing relaxing and recharging. Run up and down the sand dunes, head out for a surf or build epic sand castles. Whatever your vibe is, a beach stop here is essential.

#3 Whananaki

This area is remote. Like really remote. In fact, strictly speaking it’s actually the beaches just north of Whananaki Beach which make it onto this list. The beautiful beach in front of Motutara Farm is absolutely stunning. We recommend camping there, but if it’s full be sure to ask the owners of the farm if it’s ok to visit the beach. Otherwise, explore on the road leading north to Otamure Bay and beyond along the coast and you’ll find some incredible little coves just waiting to be discovered.

#4 Ninety Mile Beach

FUN FACT: Ninety Mile Beach is not even 90 Miles long… it’s only 90 kilometres long. Turns out someone back in the day got their digits mixed up. If that’s not enough info to get you frothing for a visit, then check this out; you can drive on this beach which is considered a national highway (beware the soft sand and tide times), sit atop the dunes and gaze out to sea, or if surf’s up then grab your board and head out into the waves. The choice, is yours…

#5 Karikari Peninsular – Maitai Bay & Karikari Moana Beach

Crystal clear waters in balmy bays; that pretty much sums up these epic slices of paradise at the tip of the Karikari peninsular. Maitai Bay offers a DOC campground, while Karikari Moana Beach offers a small clearing for parking with beach access and a beautiful view over the bay to Puheke Hill. You can see a few beautiful pictures from here in our 14 Epic Photos of Northland blog post.

14 Epic Photos From Our Road Trip in Northland, New Zealand

#6 Rarawa

Located at the southern end of Great Exhibition Bay in the far northern peninsular of New Zealand, this is a secluded little gem offering water so clear it could be a contender with any tropical paradise. Camp by the creek, take a walk along the beach, grab a board and head out into the surf or just max relax sand-between-your-toes style. whatever you want to do! Recommend to park at the DOC camping as there is a water outlet at the parking to the northern end of the beach which needs to be navigated.

#7 Spirits Bay

Remote and magical feels are on offer aplenty up in the far north of New Zealand at Spirits Bay. Head to the far east of the bay (where this picture was taken), park up or set up camp at the DOC campground and then explore. Considered a sacred place in Māori culture, because according to local legend, this is where the spirits of the dead gather to depart this world and into the afterlife. When you see and feel this place, you’ll understand why; there’s something incredible about the grass covered rocky island and hills that surround the east end of the bay.

#8 Tapotupotu Bay

The farthest north beach in New Zealand that is accessible by car, this is a remote little beauty that shouldn’t be missed. I mean, can you see the picture above? Surf, have a picnic, camp at the DOC Campground, take a dip in the Pacific Ocean or play around with your camera and those reflections at low tide; this place dings up all the dope points.

Find your bearings

Here’s a useful map to help locate all these beaches in relation to one another.


Planning your trip to New Zealand but just in the initial research stage? No worries! You can pin the image below to your Pinterest board for easy access back to this blog for the ultimate list of dope beaches in Northland, New Zealand.

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