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Auckland's Best Beaches

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by Alex Cordier (subscribe)
I'm an Auckland Based freelance writer & occasional photographer living in the Waitakere Ranges.
Published March 14th 2017
Lion Rock, Piha Beach (Photo Credit: Russell Street, Flickr)

Tourists to New Zealand's largest city are in luck if they enjoy swimming, surfing, snorkelling, or simply relaxing in the sun. Auckland's beaches are among some of the best of the world, especially if you consider location, ease of use, and proximity to the city to be of importance. Following are some of Auckland's best beaches.

Mission Bay
If you're wanting to stay close to Auckland's centre, consider visiting Mission Bay. The beach provides picturesque views of Rangitoto Island, and its location is perfect for a stroll – a long seawall runs adjacent to the sand, upon which cyclists and rollerbladers can often be seen enjoying the sunshine. Mission Bay is also home to plenty of diverse restaurants and cafés, making it the perfect place to have a cold drink or meal of fish and chips while watching the sunset.

Devonport
A short ferry ride away from the city centre, Devonport is a quaint suburb of Auckland's North Shore. The beach is more popular for picnicking than swimming due to its relative lack of sand, but it makes the list of Auckland's best beaches for its charming location and views of the city from its shores. There are plenty of eateries and boutiques nearby, and a stroll up Mount Victoria or North Head will give you panoramic views of the suburb and greater city.

Takapuna
Another gem located on Auckland's North Shore, Takapuna Beach can be found just over the bridge from the city centre. The suburb boasts a variety of cafés, restaurants and bars, many of which provide impressive views of the sea. There's also ample grass room to picnic or enjoy the view without dealing with the sand, and lifeguards are often on duty, so you can enjoy a safe swim.

Goat Island
Wanting to partake in a bit of snorkelling while in Auckland? A picturesque drive up to Leigh brings you to Goat Island Marine Reserve. Located further north than Takapuna or Devonport, but still easily accessible by car from the city centre, the beach is ideal for those looking for an experience with Auckland's marine life. Best on a calm day in order to ensure optimal views of life underwater, the beach is popular with children and adults alike, and the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre, open on weekends, is a must-see for those interested in the species found at the reserve.

Piha
A fairly remote beach on Auckland's west coast, Piha is popular with locals and tourists alike for its wild waves, black sand, and spectacular views from Lion Rock, which is accessible from the beach. Lion Rock is home to a pouwhenua dedicated to a Māori woman who loved the area, and provides a seat for visitors to sit at and gaze at the sea. Piha is extremely popular with local surfers, as its untamed waves provide excellent conditions for surfing.

Muriwai
Also found on Auckland's west coast is Muriwai Beach. Again popular with surfers, Muriwai is famous among locals for its gannet colonies, which offer a unique glimpse into New Zealand's bird life from August to March. There are several bush walks surrounding the beach, suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. Near to the beach is the Kitekite track, which is popular for its cascading waterfall.

Some of the best things to do in Auckland are found at, or nearby, the sea. The country's small population and proximity to the ocean means there is no shortage of stunning beaches, so if your flying in its worth collecting an Auckland Airport rental car and exploring. Auckland's beaches are much less crowded than those that are found in many other cities in the world, and they are loved by both tourists and New Zealanders.
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