New Zealand’s best beach – how to nominate your favourite

Don't miss your chance to nominate your favourite stretch of sand in our search for New Zealand's Best Beach 2021

We’re searching for New Zealand’s finest beach and we need your help. We need you to nominate your favourite, telling us why you love this beach and what makes it so special. Send us a favourite photo of the beach, too, and we’ll profile some of your entries throughout the summer. But hurry, nominations close at midnight tonight [Sunday, January 10].

From there, your entries will be counted and the 10 most popular beaches will be named as our finalists, with a bonus three wildcard entries chosen by the Herald Travel team.
You will then be able to vote for one beach from the top 13 to be crowned the ultimate winner.

In the meantime, here are some of the nominations so far. Don’t see your favourite here? Vote below, or go to

May the best beach win!

Matarangi Beach, Coromandel

It’s one of New Zealand’s few truly north-facing beaches with powdery white sand, beautiful clear water. There’s a variety of sea conditions for all – young swimmers in the shallows, ocean swimmers, boogie boarders, surfers, kite surfers, paddleboarders. The beach is never overcrowded and to top it off you can frequently see dolphins cruising past.
Sally Waters

Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson Tasman

I think Kaiteriteri beach is one of the best in New Zealand, it’s well known for its unique golden sand and crystal-clear water. An ideal and popular summer spot, it has everything you need for an action-packed day, from sailing, kayaking, bike tours and much more. Even better, Kaiteriteri has many more beautiful and unique beaches all located next door to each other.
Yulan Black

Aramoana, Dunedin

The surf pumps, there’s awesome wildlife (sea lions and penguins) and some super cool-looking cliffs and rocks.
Felix Page

Bark Bay, Abel Tasman National Park

It’s off the beaten track (you have to get there by hiking or boat), it has a sloping white sand beach, into beautiful clear, sheltered, seawater deep enough for swimming. It’s also backed by the national park, so it’s 99 per cent nature.
Zoe Cromwell

Mangawhai Surf Beach, Northland

Mangawhai is truly magical because the sunset view is amazing, you can surf, you can walk on top of the cliff to witness a breathtaking birds-eye view of the place that a camera can’t capture, there is local sand dune protection. Everyone should experience the magic of Mangawhai.

John Anggot

Cable Bay in Doubtless Bay, Northland

There’s an icecream shop right there, golden sand, blue water, happy people – it’s the perfect setting.
Parry Jay

Ruakaka, Northland

The soft white sand and pristine clear waters which run for miles makes this our favourite beach. The icecreams at “the chilly bin” after a day in the sun are a bonus.
Koby Jonas

Campbells Bay, Kakanui, Waitaki

It is great for families, surfers, and is dog-friendly. It can be busy or treat you to being your sole friend. Take a great walk to All Day Bay and back, or try a little kite flying. I love it.
Sarah Hailes

Matapouri Beach, Northland

It has soft sand, warm waters, and small waves perfect for swimming and riding waves on a body board. Ample parking means it’s easy to set yourself up for a long day at the beach.
Anushree Sen Gupta

Canoe Beach, at Mapoutahi in Otago

Canoe Beach has everything – it’s beautiful for walking your dog, a cave to go through at low tide, a rope swing, history, a pā to climb up to and watch the surfers, a gorgeous long beach to walk along the other side of the headland. Canoe Beach is also great to swim at as it’s sheltered – you can kayak around to the Osborne inlet, and now there is even a local brewery at Waitati. Nothing is missing.
Amanda Church

Wainui Beach, Gisborne

Not only does Wainui greet the sun before any other place in mainland New Zealandit also has a lovely, nurturing community, excellent surf and beautiful clear water. There are rock pools at each end with interesting critters. The Okitu Store, about half way along, has excellent summer foods and the most friendly staff.
J Dobson

Castlepoint, Wairarapa

Castlepoint is an extraordinary coastal formation with a variety of coastal experiences. Wild surf and a quiet, safe lagoon. Stunning rock forms, lighthouse and sand dunes. Great fishing, swimming, surfing and kayaking. Amazing scenery and walking opportunities. Sitting under the lighthouse after dark is a surreal experience too. It’s an authentic Kiwi beach and bach environment, with annual horse races on the beach.
Melissa de Souza-Correa

Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay

Wharariki just clips Northland’s Mataī Bay and Castlepoint for me. All three are so beautiful. But Wharariki wins because it has rocks that open up like Cathedral Cove, providing their own unique view to look through. It has rock pools for baby seals to swim and play in. It is remote, which adds to its charm. There is lots of space for many people to enjoy it at once. Great surf. You need to walk for a while to access it, which people may think is a negative, but people inclined to make the effort to get there are less inclined to litter and ruin the place. There are plenty of walks, which can expose you to diverse wildlife also.
Patel Veerick

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Cathedral Cove is a slice of heaven. There’s an amazing walk to the beach, pristine clear water, waves and a waterfall. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Mahdi Algargoosh

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