Top 10 Most Beautiful Coastal Towns in New Zealand

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Small seaside communities in New Zealand are among the world's most welcoming, carefree, and unexpected locations. Every small town can take pride in a unique ... read more...

  1. On the North Island, Coromandel is among the most stunning beach communities. Coromandel, which is located on the northernmost tip of New Zealand's North Island, is encircled by numerous breathtaking coves, beaches, and wilderness areas. A key to the private road is required to access Ruffins Bay, a stunning private bay that can only be reached by boat or if you have it. For a quick getaway, there are a number of tiny vacation rentals available. Fishing is always available at Ruffins, so make sure to bring your gear!

    The Driving Creek Railway is one of Coromandel's other amazing attractions. You can have a journey on a tiny gauge railway through the nearby mountains and woodlands. The railroad has three brief tunnels, two spirals, and a number of viaducts. You will reach the summit of the hill after making your way up it and have amazing views of the densely populated Hauraki Gulf. It is a great experience for anyone who enjoys nature.

    TripAdvisor rating: 5.0/5.0

    Location: North Island, New Zealand

  2. Mangawhai is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in New Zealand. The village of Mangawhai is located not far from Auckland, at 82.06 kilometers, next to the Mangawhai Harbor. Mangawhai provides guests with an experience that blends life living close to the sea and farming due to its location in the Kaipara District of Northland, New Zealand, along the Pacific Coast. The beaches in the area, where water activities like surfing are prominent, are what draw many tourists there.

    Mangawhai is a village by the sea that offers a variety of beach activities. Its Pacific beaches provide the thrill of surfing, while its calm harbor, surrounded by sand dunes that are home to endangered flora and birds, provides safe swimming and kayaking. Events like the Mangawhai Walking Weekend, which takes place every autumn, inspire both locals and visitors to explore the town's natural beauty. Mangawhai has long been a haven for artists as well, with a bustling arts community and a large number of galleries and studios.

    TripAdvisor rating: 5.0/5.0

    Location: Northland, New Zealand
  3. Without Kaikoura, a ranking of the top coastal towns in New Zealand would prove inadequate. The town of Kaikoura is relaxed, hip, and welcoming, and it is full of interesting small surprises. Not to mention that it is inhabited by some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you will ever encounter!

    The idyllic seaside town of Kaikoura, which is a few hours' drive north of Christchurch, is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, eco-friendly attitude, and breathtaking position where rocky mountains meet stunning seascape. The name of the town, Kaikoura, which is Maori for "eat crayfish," reflects the area's strong Maori culture. Freshly caught crayfish may be purchased and prepared at neighborhood food trucks and restaurants. You should not miss a boat excursion out of Kaikoura and a hike through the Kaikoura Mountains for beautiful views of the coast. Some of the best whale, dolphin and seal sightings in the world are available in this town.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.7/5.0

    Location: east coast, South Island of New Zealand
  4. Top 4


    On State Highway 23, 48 kilometers to the west of Hamilton, New Zealand, is the little beachfront town of Raglan. Both surfing and beaches with volcanic black sand are well-known features. Raglan is a surfing paradise as well as a stunningly beautiful stretch of black sand shoreline. Manu Bay, located on this coast, is reputed to have the world's longest, easiest-to-reach, and most reliable left-hand break. You can catch a wave and cruise for up to two kilometers is achievable if you have the necessary amount of talent. Endless Summer, a 1966 surf film, was filmed in Manu Bay (also known as The Point).

    Raglan is a charming coastal town. Raglan, a town whose beaches are frequently praised as having some of the greatest surfing in the nation, is also home to a number of other outdoor pursuits, including trekking at Bridal Veil Falls and traveling through Te Toto Gorge. The town's relaxed, bohemian atmosphere is equally refreshing, with hospitable locals and an eclectic neighborhood of cafés, clubs, and art galleries.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.5/5.0

    Location: West of Hamilton, New Zealand
  5. Top 5


    The Bluebridge and Interislander ferries, which connect the major islands of New Zealand and the Marlborough Sounds, have their South Island bases in the charming seaside town of Picton. The town, which is built around a well-protected harbor, has a charming seashore that is lined with cafés, restaurants, and different kinds of galleries. A marine aquarium and a floating maritime museum are also present. You can go sailing, fishing, dolphin watching, sea kayaking, or mountain biking with local guides.

    Picton is a must-see for any aspiring oenophiles; the Marlborough Wine Region, which produces the majority of New Zealand's wine, lies right outside the town. However, Picton's tranquil harbor is ideal for savoring locally caught seafood and browsing for handcrafted souvenirs, so you don't even need to leave town to enjoy the region's natural beauty. The nearby Queen Charlotte Track, which is 71 kilometers (44 miles) long and offers breathtaking coastal views and frequent water taxis back into town, is ideal for more strenuous activities.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.5/5.0

    Location: Marlborough Region, South Island of New Zealand
  6. Whakatane ranks second in the list of the most beautiful coastal towns in New Zealand. Whakatane is a settlement in the eastern Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located near the mouth of the Whakatane River, 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of Tauranga and 89 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Rotorua. With the exception of the enclave of Kawerau District, Whakatane District is the encompassing territorial authority that includes a region to the south and west of the town.

    Whakatane, a gem of the North Island's Bay of Plenty, offers history, culture, breathtaking coastline beauty, and, as the four-time recipient of the title of New Zealand's Sunshine Capital, a welcome escape from some of the country's more severe weather. At the 130-year-old Maori meeting house Mataatua Wharenui, the Whakatane Library And Exhibition Center, or possibly on occasions like The Summer Arts Festival, you may learn about the local Maori culture. There are numerous outdoor activities available on the adjacent White Island, which is home to the only active marine volcano in New Zealand, and Ohope Beach, one of the nation's most popular beaches.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.5/5.0

    Location: eastern Bay of Plenty, North Island of New Zealand
  7. On the South Island of New Zealand, in the province of Otago, sits the tourist destination of Queenstown. There are 15,450 people living in the city (June 2021). The town is situated around Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long, narrow, Z-shaped body of water formed by glacial processes. From here, residents may see The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak, Ben Lomond, and Queenstown Hill, as well as other neighboring mountains.

    Queenstown, located in the South Island and known as the "adventure capital of New Zealand," is perched on the shores of the emerald-green Lake Wakatipu. The area's lakeside setting offers a variety of activities, including fly fishing, relaxing river cruises, and high-intensity jet boating, while the breathtaking scenery of the neighboring mountains is ideal for walkers, hikers, and photographers who want to capture the region's distinctively untamed landscape. Queenstown is a small, laid-back city that is still cosmopolitan and active. It has upscale dining establishments, a thriving bar scene, and a jam-packed cultural calendar, including the Queenstown Winter Festival, a massive celebration known for its rowdy street parties.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.0/5.0

    Location: Otago, south-west of New Zealand's South Island
  8. One of the most well-liked places to visit in New Zealand's Bay of Islands is the beach town of Russell. The architecture and historical sites show how the region is a mash-up of indigenous and European heritage. You can explore the numerous personalities of The Gables 1847, which has served as a bakery, bordello, and refuge for AWOL sailors on the run, or sail around the bay on a chartered boat or famous tall ship.

    Russell is a charming coastal hamlet tucked away in the Bay of Islands that is small in size but full of history (or northern New Zealand). Russell, one of the earliest European settlements in New Zealand and its first capital, is home to some of the nation's oldest buildings, including the charming Christ Church and the Pompallier Mission, the country's oldest church and industrial structure, respectively. Before retreating to one of Russell's quaint waterfront restaurants, like the storied Gables Restaurant, for locally caught seafood and breathtaking bay sunsets, you may charter a yacht and go dolphin spotting.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.0/5.0

    Location: Bay of Islands, north of New Zealand
  9. Top 9


    Wanaka is a charming lakeside town on New Zealand's unspoiled, mountainous South Island. It was given its name after its eponymous river and has as its backdrop views of snow-capped mountain peaks. The magnificent Mount Aspiring National Park, which is right outside its front door and is home to several waterfalls, glaciers, and towering peaks, has also been used as a backdrop in The Lord of the Rings.

    It's only natural that Wanaka has developed into a shelter and base for tourists experiencing the South Island's rough, untouched beauty given the presence of the beautiful Mount Aspiring National Park and two pristine alpine lakes right outside its door. The park, which is a World Heritage Site and was shown in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is home to spectacular peaks, waterfalls, and glaciers. There are numerous other recreational opportunities in the town's namesake Lake Wanaka and the close-by Lake Hawea, including kayaking, cruising, and fishing. Wanaka has a cosmopolitan community of cafes and restaurants serving cuisine from award-winning chefs, so foodies won't be let down either.

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.0/5.0

    Location: South Island, New Zealand
  10. For individuals who enjoy leading active, healthy lives, New Plymouth in New Zealand is a playground. At the base of the magnificent Mt. Taranaki and tucked up against the Tasman Sea, New Plymouth is a city on the North Island's untamed west coast. The amazing 12.7-kilometer long coastal boardwalk, the plethora of cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants, as well as the 105 km long state highway 45 (also known as "Surf") coastal road, are just a few of Plymouth's most well-known features. With over 100 surf sites and countless beaches, coves, and sand dunes to choose from, Surf Highway 45, which travels south, is known for its surfing.

    If you enjoy camping, New Plymouth offers a ton of fantastic places to set up camp for no cost. Most of which offer breathtaking views of the beach and mountains. It's quite difficult to beat watching the sunset while relaxing with a bottle of wine at your campground near the beach!

    TripAdvisor rating: 4.0/5.0

    Location: west coast of the North Island, New Zealand

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