The Bay of Islands in the Northland region is home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches. All boasting soft sand of gold and white with crystal-clear seas and spectacular scenery, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Bay of Islands beaches. You can find beaches ideal for families with children to swim, beaches known for sunsets and picturesque scenery, beaches with reefs and waves for water sports and much more. Whether you want adventure, relaxation or time to make memories by the water, take a look at the best beaches in the Bay of Islands to prepare for your seaside holiday in New Zealand.

Paihia Beach for beach activities with family

Paihia Beach is the main beach in town and offers sunbathing, swimming, picnics and other activities. Families and couples like to visit for its relaxing atmosphere, though adventurers often come to kayak or sail. Paihia Beach is also the endpoint for the open-water swim event that takes place every year. After spending the day by the water, you can head into town for eateries, shops and attractions.

Long Beach for young kids

Long Beach is just a short distance from the city centre and boasts golden sands on a long shoreline with sheltered swimming. Families with young children can visit at any tide to let the kids swim safely. Sunbathing and sunset viewing are also popular at Long Beach, thanks to the views of Roberton Island.

Te Tii Bay for family fun

If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach, Te Tii Bay is the best choice. The sheltered bay beach has soft, golden sand and pohutukawa trees that protect the beach and waves from the wind. The waters are gentle and calm, perfect for young children to swim and wade. You’ll also have access to a children’s playground close to the edge of the beach.

Takou Bay for diving and snorkelling

Just north of the Bay of Islands, Takou Bay is a sheltered surf beach surrounded by rolling countryside. You can sunbathe or swim at Takou Bay, but you’ll also have opportunities to explore the area around the Takou River and hike in the rocky outcroppings. Diving and snorkelling are also popular at Takou Bay.

Oke Bay for wildlife sightings

Nested on a remote part of the Cape Brett Peninsula, Oke Bay is a picturesque beach with a charming seaside settlement. The beach is known for its romantic sunsets and native dolphin pods that frequent the area. Families also like the quiet atmosphere and calm waters at Oke Bay at low tide for safe swimming and wading.

Tapotupotu Bay for beach adventure

Found on the point of Cape Reinga, Tapotupotu Bay is a stunning shore area surrounded by lush rainforest. The beach can be windy and wild, but it receives abundant sunlight and boasts excellent conditions for water sports. The giant dunes on the beach are popular for sandboarding as well. If you want to experience more of Tapotupotu Bay, the area has a campsite for overnight stays.

Matai Bay for a relaxing beach day

Located on the outer Karikari Peninsula, Matai Bay is a stunning crescent-shaped bay with a sheltered atmosphere. The white sand is backdropped by colourful pohutukawa trees, giving the beach a picture-perfect appearance. Families enjoy the beach for its laid-back vibe and calm waters. After swimming and sunbathing, you can take nature walks around the trees to take in the scenery.

Matauri Bay for watersports

Located north of Paihia, Matauri Bay can be reached by a scenic coastal drive with stunning bay views. The beach itself is long and wide with white sand and crystal-clear waters. The waters are safe for swimming, especially for young children, and many snorkellers and divers come to the beach to explore the reef at the nearby Cavalli Islands. You could find numerous fishing spots near the beach as well.

Rarawa Beach for fishing with the kids

Boasting sugar-white sand and clear, blue waters, Rarawa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bay of Islands. Families and couples come to Rarawa Beach to sunbathe and swim in the gentle surf, but you could find prime fishing spots and excellent surf breaks nearby. If you want to spend more time at the beach, there’s a campsite nearby.