Accessible only by foot, in the heart of the Coromandal peninsular, lies the secluded New Chums Beach. Fringed by pohutukawa trees and pure New Zealand bush, with crystal clear waters, this is the Robinson Crusoe style shit that every Mother Nature loving traveller will appreciate. Needless to say, taking a hike to New Chums Beach should be on everyone’s New Zealand bucket list.
In this post, I’ll cover the trail for hiking to New Chums Beach, what’s so great about this secluded beach spot and why you must go there if you love to get off the beaten track and explore like a local. Including a few top tips to help you plan your trip for hiking to New Chums Beach.
How to get there
You’ll need to park your car or campervan in the little beach town of Whangapoua. There isn’t a lot in Whangapoua so be sure to stock up on picnic rations or snacks before you head out on your day trip to New Chums Beach. There is a small local store selling snacks and drinks should you have forgotten anything. Follow the main road in Whangapoua all the way to the end where you’ll find the parking area.
The short hike will take from 20 to 45 minutes depending on pace and how good you are at balancing as you scramble across rocks. I say hike, but really it’s a short walk, and if you’re planning to do it in winter, you’ll need to be prepared for muddy and slippery track once you get off the Whangapoua beach side and onto the headland. We decided to go The Hobbit style and rock the barefoot look… it was a bit squelchy underfoot but felt kind of nice at the same time. Planning to go in summer? You should be fine to take the trail in sneakers or flip flops (or jandles as the Kiwi’s call them). The hike is relatively easy, so be sure to enjoy it as you take in true explorer feels to make your way to the remote New Chums Beach.
Wade, scramble, walk
If you love a taste of the serious explorer stuff, you’ll LOVE this. The trail itself consists of three distinct areas – the wade, the scramble and the walk. First you’ll need to navigate a small creek at the northern end of Whangapoua beach which involves wading through water which can be anything from ankle deep to waist deep. You’ll then need to scramble across small boulders on Whangapoua beach until you reach the bush track, at which point you’ll see a clearly marked path (sometimes a little overgrown, but looks like the picture above). Follow bush path – which is mostly flat – with a small uphill towards the end which then descends into New Chums Beach through a beautiful little palm forest.
When you reach top of the uphill part of the trail, a small path veers off and further uphill to the right. Head up here to check out the sick views from the headland at the southern end of the beach before descending down in the bush.
Things to do at New Chums Beach
Relax, take a long beach walk, swim, have a picnic and potentially even surf! It’s the perfect place to just get away from it all and relax either by yourself, with mates, family or your lover. But most of all, this place offers a unique opportunity to enjoy nature, so be sure to soak it up.
Time the tides
The lower the tide the better for the creek crossing so check the tide times when planning your trip – especially in winter when the temperature of the water flowing in and out of the creek is pretty cold. When we hiked there we crossed ankle deep water. When we came back? We both stripped down to our undies and I crossed on tip-toes… You can check the tide times for nearby Whitianga here, which will give you an idea of Whangapoua tide times. The local store usually has the tide times on a chalkboard outside as well.
The balancing act
I won’t lie, I struggled over the rocks on Whangapoua beach and did trip over a couple of times, until Mark found me a stick. SO find a stick in the bush or on the rocks before you head over or on your way back. It’s amazing how much it can help you balance!
A few rules
No camping & no dogs & no fires. These are all on the trail signs but just a heads up for you in case you were planning on any of those…
During summer, the sun is unforgiving
There are a few pohutukawa trees at the south end of the beach so this is a great spot for shade, otherwise be sure to bring some kind of shade if you’re planning to stay for a few hours or the day.
Choose your footwear wisely
As mentioned above – in the winter months or especially after a period of heavy rain, the trail is muddy and slippery. Don’t wear your favourite sneakers because they will be ruined… either sturdy hiking boots or easily washable sandals (like Teva sandals).
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