Waiheke Island is a spectacular island on the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. The island boasts a rugged coastline with numerous white-sand beaches against emerald seas. From coastal reserve beaches with romantic sunsets to popular urban beaches with facilities for families, you could find something for everyone at Waiheke Island beaches. Depending on your interests, you could kitesurf, fish, paddle board, snorkel, sunbathe or enjoy a quiet beach picnic with the family in the sunshine. You’ll even have opportunities for beachfront dining and nightlife with stunning water views. Find out more about the best beaches in Waiheke Island to plan your trip.
Onetangi Beach for family activities
Onetangi Beach is one of the longest beaches in Waiheke and boasts white sand and a serene backdrop of pohutukawa trees. The beach is popular for coastal walks, fishing and swimming, especially for families. On windy days, you could surf on offshore breaks. After spending the day on the sand, you can head to town for bars and restaurants on the beachfront.
Oneroa Beach for beach picnics
One of Waiheke’s most popular beaches, Oneroa Beach boasts white sands and calm waters on a north-facing shore. The beach is backed by pohutukawa trees and grassy areas with grills and picnic areas, seating areas and swings for kids. Along with swimming in the calm waters, you could also paddle board, kayak or snorkel.
Palm Beach for family amenities
Lined with phoenix palms, Palm Beach is a tranquil beach with white sands, gentle shallows and numerous sheltered anchorage areas. Families like Palm Beach for its many practical facilities, such as grill areas, a children’s playground, showers and public toilets. If you’re feeling daring, the western end of Palm Beach has a clothing-optional area known as Nudie Bay.
Shelly Beach for a relaxing beach trip
Shelly Beach is a sheltered shell and stone beach with calm, flat waters that are ideal for children to swim. The beach has numerous facilities, including picnic and grill areas and public toilets. There’s also a diving platform on the edge of the water.
Matiatia for wildlife sightings
Located on the northern end of the island, Matiatia Bay is a bay beach with a ferry wharf and rocky outcroppings. The beach has headlands that shelter the waters, creating calm, gentle surf for swimming. Wildlife is common at Matiatia, especially dolphins and stingrays. If you want to try some water sports, you could book boat tours from the wharf.
Enclosure Bay for fun with the kids
Enclosure Bay is a lovely beach with dramatic rock formations that keep the water calm and sheltered. The bay is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and warm waters, which draw many swimmers. For little ones, the bay has rock pools and coastal rocky areas to explore. Other activities at Enclosure Bay include kayaking, snorkelling and fishing.
Blackpool and Surfdale beaches for watersports
Blackpool and Surfdale beaches are close to each other and offer unique beach experiences. Blackpool Beach is popular for its high tide with ideal conditions for paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and swimming. Surfdale Beach is separated from Blackpool by a peninsula and offers a tidal beach area that’s great for families. Nearby, you’ll find shops, eateries and other facilities.
Cactus Bay for scenic views
Only accessible by boat or kayak, Cactus Bay is a remote and quiet beach that offers picnic areas for a romantic couples outing or for families looking for a relaxing afternoon in the sun. Cactus Bay is also close to Picnic Bay, a reserve beach area with wildlife, beautiful scenery and views of Auckland. The beach is popular for sunset viewing and romantic evenings.
Man O’ War Bay for a relaxing beach day
Found on the eastern end of Waiheke, Man O’ War Bay is a remote bay area with pohutukawa trees and quiet waters. The beach is accessible on a scenic road, making it less crowded than some other beaches during the high season. From the sand, you could see views of the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula coastline. If you want to see more of the scenery, there’s a walking track that travels along the coast to Stony Batter, a historic defence installation on a scenic reserve.