Beaches & Boats

Written by: S Stern of United States

kayak

If you like beaches and the lifestyle that goes with them, then you’re going to love New Zealand. Because the great thing about it being an island nation is that it's literally surrounded by beaches. Over 15,000 km of them in fact.
 
Generally you’ll find white sand beaches down the East Coast, and more wild, black sand beaches line the West Coast. The laid-back Kiwi lifestyle is well known around the world, and the closer you get to the coast, the more chilled out things become. And with all of its major cities situated on the water, it’s a pretty sweet place to live and visit.
 
Sailing, surfing, kayaking, fishing – Kiwi’s love the water and are spoiled for choice when it comes to water activities, whether it be on beaches, rivers or lakes. Top off your bliss-filled days in the sun, partying with new friends around a bonfire on your favourite beach.
 
Looking for trip ideas? Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands off Paihia, among 144 spectacular islands and sparkling secluded bays. Head north and body board down the massive Te Paki Sand Dunes by Ninety Mile Beach in Northland at thrilling speeds. Or go scuba diving at Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula.
 
Looking to catch some waves? Head to the chilled out surfer town of Raglan or to Auckland’s west coast beaches. Or, take to the water in a kayak. One of the best spots is Abel Tasman National Park where you’ll glide along white sand beaches, granite rock formations, and native forest.
 
If you’re into fishing, head to Taupo where you can get out on a boat and be reeling in snapper, kawhai, blue cod and crayfish in a matter of minutes. And definitely don’t miss taking a cruise through the spectacular Milford Sound in Fiordland, past towering mountains and cascading waterfalls.
 
There’s no better way to explore the coast, and all the adventures that it offers, than by doing a classic kiwi road trip during summer. Hire a car, rent a campervan or utilise the hop-on-hop-off bus networks, and hit the road. Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and have your boardies and bikini ready, because you’re going to find it hard to resist getting the sand between your toes at every opportunity.