Search the world over and you won’t find any beach better than what New Zealand has to offer. And there are few of them too! Millions of New Zealanders and tourists flock to one of the hundreds of stunning beaches over the summer – and yet none of them are ever crowded and are free to enjoy.
How the locals aren’t born with webbed hands and feet we will never know, but Northland’s Bay of Islands is watersports mad. With 144 islands in the area, this popular holiday destination is spectacular from air, sea, and land. Surfing, snorkeling, harbour cruises, swimming, and kayaking are all there.
If you are looking for a reliable, unlimited km vehicle for your water-bound adventure, our vehicles come with 24/7 AA Roadside Assistance. Not that you’ll ever need it, as we are proud to hold a 100% no breakdown record. That’s real peace of mind when travelling through remote areas and just want to get to the beach.
Northland is New Zealand’s narrowest region, which is fantastic news for surfers who can move quickly between each coast to find the pick of the day.
Ahipara is known for some of the best left-hand surf breaks in the world and will be at the top of any surfers itinerary driving North to Cape Reinga. Matauri Bay 30km north of Kerikeri gets a five-star rating from locals.
Mangawhai Heads has a beautiful safe beach for swimmers as well as the estuary to enjoy lots of other watersports. But for surfers, the left-hand break peeling across the river bar is the place to be. Onlookers can walk to the top of “the head” and watch the surfers roll in. There is a coffee and frozen yoghurt kiosk as well so make a day of it!
Many people hire kayaks independently but joining any one of the local tours is a great way to meeting others, learn about the area and be taken to the best spots around.
Haruru Falls half day trip. Haruru means “big noise” so that will give you some idea of how large they are. Or try the Island Time Tour leaving from Paihia or Russell and takes kayakers to the outer islands. Heading away from Paihia is the truly stunning green-blue waters of Waikare. This is leisurely kayaking so you can take in the amazing views and birdlife.
Paddleboarding has really taken off over recent years for all ages and exercise levels. You can take a fitness class on a paddleboard which is a bit like pilates on the water. A great way of honing your balance and muscle strength skills.
Snorkeling and Diving
1/5 hours North of Auckland is Goat Island. The name can be a little misleading as the island is no longer home to goats and the island is very easy to get to without a boat. Simply snorkeling off the adjacent beach and you will be thrilled by the magnitude or fish and marine life to be seen. This is New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve.
Another top snorkeling stop is at Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve, in Tutukaka, half an hour northeast of Whangarei. In fact, it is so good the late Jacques Cousteau recommended it and holds it’s place as one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world.