Some of our beaches have gained international recognition as New Zealand’s best beaches. From the sweep of coastline from Mauao right up to Maketū, or the white sands of Waihī Beach, Pukehina, and Ōhope, our regions beaches are popular locations appreciated by many.
Mount Maunganui’s main beach has been named by Trip Advisor as New Zealand’s best beach consecutively for five times running. The rankings are generated by Trip Advisor user reviews and ratings worldwide. The Bay of Plenty region features several times with Papamoa Beach taking out the fourth best beach in New Zealand, and Ōhope Beach named the seventh best.
Beautiful beaches of the Bay
Read about some of New Zealand's favourite beaches.
Known affectionately by visitors and locals alike, ‘The Mount’ is the ultimate summer destination. With perfect white sand and thundering waves, and popular spots like Tay St and Ōmanu, you won’t find a better place to swim, surf, sunbathe and socialise.
Pāpāmoa beach is 16 kilometres long and hugs the coastline between Mount Maunganui in the west and the Kaituna River in the east. It is a popular beach for surfing, swimming, kite surfing, wind surfing and sunbathing.
Pilot Bay beach sits on the edge of Tauranga Harbour, beneath Mount Maunganui and is sheltered from the open ocean. This calm beach is great for swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and sunbathing. You can also enjoy the harbour views and cruise ships that dock in this bay. It is a perfect spot for families to relax and enjoy the harbour scenery.
Matakana Island is truly an untouched paradise, with 20 kilometres of white sand beach surrounded by a thick green pine forest. The island forms one side of Tauranga Harbour’s main entrance and sits directly opposite Mauao at the tip of Mount Maunganui’s peninsular. Matakana is a popular place to surf – a powerful north-easterly swell on a high tide produces great sand barrels along the ocean side of this island.
The 10 kilometre long Pukehina peninsula has a sheltered estuary on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, providing plenty of swimming options. This beach is also a popular surf-casting spot for fishermen. Both Mōtītī Island and Moutohorā (Whale Island) are a short distance out to sea.
Ōhope’s pristine sandy beach stretches for 11 kilometres from the Ōhiwa Harbour entrance in the east before gently curving around to West End beach at the foot of the Kōhi Point headland.
Moutohorā (Whale Island) – so named because it’s shaped like a whale – sits prominently offshore, while the active marine volcano Whakaari (White Island) is just visible on the horizon. The North Island’s East Cape can also be seen off in the distance.
Picture nine kilometres of sweeping white sand and awesome surf and you can see why Waihī Beach is such a popular holiday spot for surfers and families alike. This can either be a fantastic day trip from Tauranga or a destination itself.
Check out these videos on Mount Maunganui and the Bay of Plenty region.
Here are a couple of maps that detail the locations of New Zealand's favourite beaches in the Bay of Plenty.