The South Island of New Zealand is famous for its stunning Southern Alps and extensive rainforest. With more than 5,800 kilometers of coastline, it also has some of the best beaches in the world. Everyone can find a beach, for sure! Let’s explore the top 10 beaches that the South Island has to offer.
1. Kaiteriteri Beach, Tasman
This charming beach with gold sand is close to the Abel Tasman National Park. Probably the most well-known beach on the South Island, it offers fantastic swimming, kayaking, and fishing options. The Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve has many of lodging options for guests, or you may unwind for the day at one of the neighborhood cafes and take in the sunshine. Just keep in mind to reserve early because lodging and camping spots sell out quickly.
2. Wharariki Beach, Tasman
Due to its location on a stretch of coast that is exposed to all types of weather, Wharariki Beach is a fantastic place to camp (there is a great Beach Holiday Park nearby) and experiences some of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see. We are comparing ferocious gales to brilliant sunshine. The beach is a typical South Island beach.
Particularly with children, Wharariki Beach is a very popular day trip destination. There are several opportunities to crash down at breakneck speeds on the enormous dunes. At high tide, the raging surf gives an added exhilaration, while at low tide, there are rock pools deep enough to unwind in.
You might see one or two seal lions as well as the occasional penguin. Since there are no facilities here, be sure to come prepared and bring whatever you need with you when you leave. Don’t pass up the chance to visit one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches.
3. Tahunanui Beach, Nelson
Due to its proximity to Nelson’s central business district, Tahunanui Beach is particularly well-liked by both locals and visitors. A few kilometers of golden sand line Tasman Bay, making it the perfect place to unwind or play in the shallow seas.
There are two sections of the beach: the “front beach” and the “back beach.” Pet owners can walk their dogs on the rear bench, and kite surfers have plenty of room to put up their gear and launch into the water. Families will love the front beach, which is pet-free.
A sizable parking lot that looks out over an excellent adventure playground is where you enter the beach. The lovely, white sand beach is just a fast 1-minute walk away once the youngsters have finished swinging and sliding. Prepare to enjoy the rising light and the tranquil sea waves.
4. Koekohe Beach & Moeraki Boulders, Otago
If you get far enough south, you’ll come to the extraordinary Moeraki Boulders. The shore is littered with boulders, which are large, spherical rocks that date back to the time of the dinosaurs. Additionally, several of them weigh at least two tonnes, making them as heavy as a dinosaur.
The boulders are thought to be gourds that the enormous sailing canoe Araiteuru washed ashore with when it arrived in New Zealand hundreds of years ago, according to Maori mythology.
It’s impossible not to be in awe of the amazing geological wonders on exhibit. While there, be sure to walk along the beach path to stretch your legs. It’s one of those uncommon places where you can’t help but feel insignificant in the face of nature.
5. Punakaiki Beach, West Coast
Punakaiki, which is only a 38-minute drive north of Greymouth on the west coast, makes a fantastic home base from which to explore the stunning Paparoa National Park. The Pancake Rocks, one of New Zealand’s most well-known natural wonders, are also located there. It’s a densely forested coastal area with stunning limestone cliffs and canyons, intriguing caverns, wonderful rivers, and a fantastic beach.
The beach itself is a magnificent expanse of sand with huge surf, gulls, and driftwood. It’s a wonderful location to take in the stunning west coast sunsets. The ideal place to swim is at the entrance to the Punakaiki River lagoon because swimming on the beach itself might be risky.
Stay a bit to take in everything there is to see if you want to spend some quality time in the neighborhood. Excellent short and long walks, including the Paparoa Track, rivers to swim in, waves to surf, spectacular sunsets, and stunning night skies are all available.
6. Kaka Point Beach, Clutha
Kaka Point, which is 20 minutes from Balclutha and 1 hour and 50 minutes from Invercargill, is a well-liked summer gathering place with first-rate beach amenities and a motor camp in the back beach area. On this beach, swimming, fishing, and surfing are all very popular.
It really is the ideal summertime experience at South Island Beach. It has become a family favorite since it is a sizable flat beach with golden sand, surf lifeguards (between November and March), and lovely rolling waves. Don’t forget to pack a boogie board, bucket, and spade!
Additionally, it is a great location for wildlife observation and fishing. There are numerous native birds to be seen, as well as sea lions and penguins. Nothing compares to taking a stroll in the evening past an elephant seal that is asleep! One of the top beaches in the South Island can be located there.
7. Caroline Bay Beach, Timaru
One of Timaru’s busiest beaches, Caroline Bay is well-liked for a good reason. Even when it’s busy, there is space for everyone in the bay, which spans up to 100 meters between the Pacific Ocean and the Central Business District. On a bright day, the main beach’s expansive grassy area is great for picnics, frisbee games, and just hanging out with friends and family.
This is the ideal place to spend the day because it has enough of parking, a great long boardwalk, and activities for people of all ages. There are two free barbecues, a children’s play area, outdoor exercise equipment, and large open spaces. Additionally accessible are beach volleyball courts, minigolf, tennis courts, a skate park, and a park-circling train.
8. New Brighton Beach, Christchurch
Take a stroll down the sandy New Brighton Beach, which is just ten minutes from the Christchurch CBD, if you’re staying in Christchurch and need to get your beach fix. There is a skate park, a playground, and a big pier at the shore as well. Take the kids for a stroll around the pier, which is a terrific sight in and of itself. You’ll see people fishing, kite surfers, swimmers, and perhaps even a few gulls. Pegasus Bay offers amazing views in all directions and is a great place to watch the sunset.
The He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools are right on the beach’s edge. Enjoy breathtaking ocean views while relaxing in the pools. Five opulent hot tubs, a sauna, a steam room, and heated locker rooms make it the ideal place to unwind and unwind.
This well-liked play area recently underwent a substantial makeover, and it’s wonderful. They will be entertained for hours by musical toys, swings, slides, a huge waka that kids can climb and play in, and a portion of a basketball court.
9. Bushy Beach, Otago
A beautiful place to soak in the landscape, observe the curious seals and observe local fauna is Bushy Beach. The world’s rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin, may also be seen as they cross the beach and land. To increase your chances of spotting them, there is even a specially constructed viewing hide.
If you’re an avid walker, the Bushy Beach walking trail is a quick cliff walk with breathtaking views that take less than 30 minutes. Bushy Beach, which is only five minutes from Oamaru settlement, is a great place to stop for a break and to see some of the local fauna.
10. Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
You must hike along the about one-kilometer-long Tunnel Beach track to get to Dunedin’s cutest small beach. Exceptional panoramic views of the coastline, including a natural archway/land bridge, may be seen from the trail as it ascends a cliff along a headland. An ancient tunnel from the 1870s offers access to a small but picturesque beach tucked away among imposing rocks.
This South Island beach is quite out of the way. The stroll will be enjoyed by children, and the sandy beach itself offers a secure area for them to construct sandcastles and, during low tide, play in the rock pools. Unfortunately, the powerful currents make it unsafe to swim there during high tide.