North Island Beach Town Recommendations
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 27, 2012 4:03 PM Last Post By: arose10
Oct 23, 2012 8:59 PM
North Island Beach Town RecommendationsI'm going to be in New Zealand for the next couple months. I'm spending most of my time tramping on the South Island but would really like to finish off my trip with two or three days at a beach town kicking back and playing in the sun and ocean back on the North Island. (This would be in mid-December.) A few places have caught my eye as a potential destination...
o Great Barrier Island
o Bay of Islands
o Coromandel's east coast
o Bay of Plenty
o Waiheke (although this seems like more of a day trip from Auckland)
o Poor Knights Island (although this seems like more of a diving-centric destination)
Above all else, I'm looking for beautiful white sand beaches with dry, hot weather and swimmable water. Novice surfing options are a plus thought not essential. Youthful nightlife is another plus - I'm a single guy traveling solo - though again not essential. Any recommendations among the above or anywhere else?
Mt Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty is one spot that caught my eye, though it seems like the Rena oil spill might have really hurt its beaches and water?
Thanks in advance for your advice!
Oct 24, 2012 2:06 AM
1The official story is that all is normal in Tauranga/Mt Maungaui now. They did some tests and everything is back to normal. A few months back you would occasionally find a clump of oil if you dug around in the sand (as kids are wont to do) but not sure if that is still the case.
Poor Knights is indeed a day trip and you would stay on the mainland - probably at Tutukaka. It's lovely there but probably wouldn't give you the night life you are after.
Nothing will book out in December so I would wait til a lot closer to the time and see what the weather forecast is like. You could get dry hot weather in any of those places - or it could be cold and 'orrible.
Bay of Islands - you will probably need a car to get to the surf.
Add the Hawkes Bay into your list of possibilities as well.
Oct 24, 2012 12:06 PM
2You would never know Rena had ever happened at Mt Maunganui now. Walked along the beach last week, and it was as wonderful as ever.
Oct 24, 2012 2:36 PM
3yep Mt maunganui and the other nearby beaches are all good.
However the most swimmable water you are going to get in mid- December will be as far north as you can get, with the possible exception of the north eastern end of Coromandel. Later in the summer, the sea warms up everywhere, and the warm current that comes down from Australia way tends to reach right down in the eastern Bay of Plenty... but that doesn't usually happen until Feb/March.
Anywhere on the west coast is always a bit colder than the east, and you don't get white sandy beaches - you get black sand and full-on surf mostly.
East coast coromandel and the Mt might be a good compromise between warm water and still having people around - places like Whitianga, Cooks Beach, Whangamata, Waihi Beach.
Otherwise in the far north - Matai Bay, but might still be a bit quiet at that time of year - and there's only the big DoC campground; Russell - Russell itself is on the harbour side, but you can walk over to the ocean side and there's a half decent beach there - no surf though but much better nightlife; Oakura Bay - lots of school leavers used to head out there after exams, and probably some uni students, but might be a bit young for you; any futher south and it's too far for the water to be really warm.
ETA in case I've confused you entirely... all things considered, I'd focus on the eastern coromandel or northern bay of plenty.
Oct 25, 2012 2:22 PM
4Thank you guys so much for your insights and recommendations! Here's what I think I'm going to do...
Early morning flight from Christchurch to Tauranga. Get rental car. Spend the rest of the day and stay in Mt Maunganui.
Drive to Hot Water Beach and Hahei Beach. Stay in the vicinity.
Drive to New Chum's Beach, Ohana Beach, and Opito. Stay in Kuaotunu.
Long drive to the Bay of Islands. Stay in the vicinity.
Explore Bay of Islands and the Far North (specifics TBD). Stay in the vicinity.
Explore Bay of Islands and the Far North (specifics TBD). Drive back to Auckland.
This squeezes in a lot, including a good amount of driving, but seems like it should be doable...? Any feedback or additional tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
Oct 25, 2012 3:24 PM
5would really like to finish off my trip with two or three days at a beach town kicking back and playing in the sun and ocean
That's what you said you wanted. That's not what you have planned. No kicking back time in that itinerary.
Check flights to Hamilton and Rotorua. They may be cheaper than to Tauranga.
Oct 25, 2012 4:34 PM
6Tauranga's a reasonably busy airport actually, I usually find flight prices for Rotorua and Tauranga (my nearest two big airports) to be about the same.
But my feedback and tip would be - do less. Like here n there said, you're not getting any of that kicking back time you talked about. Also I don't think you need to visit both the coromandel and the BoI, particularly given the limited time you have. What's the motivation for going up to the BoI?
Sounds like a very busy week with lots of driving. And I'd just stay in the one place in the Coromandel and visit the other places you've mentioned if you really want to. Also I wouldn't stay at Hahei itself - it's a very easy journey from Cooks beach, and there's much more at cooks beach than hahei. When the tide's in, hahei is not that fabulous a beach IMO. If you're going there for the hot water, make sure you do some research on the tides.
Oct 25, 2012 11:47 PM
7Disagree about Hahei, not many beaches in NZ that you only have to paddle out a small way at high tide to be out of your depth plus its sheltered and has good snorkelling. The campground is decent. Opito bay is awesome. New chums is a good 30 min hike through the bush, you cant drive there. You really should go to Raglan and just stay there though...
Oct 27, 2012 4:03 PM
8Alright, thanks for all the feedback here. You guys are right, I was probably squeezing in too much. Here's my updated itinerary...
Early morning flight from Christchurch to Tauranga. Get rental car and drive to Whangapoua and New Chum's Beach. Stay in Kuaotunu. (I'm thinking of staying at the Black Jack Lodge...http://black-jack.co.nz. The prices look pretty reasonable. I'm open to any recommendations, though.)
Relax around Otama Beach and Opito Bay. Stay in Kuaotunu.
Relax around Cathedral Cove, Hahei Beach, and Hot Water Beach. Drive to and stay in Mt Maunganui.
Relax, potentially surf, and have a good time in Mt Maunganui. (I'm thinking of staying at the Seagulls Guesthouse B&B...http://www.seagullsguesthouse.co.nz. Or possibly the Pacific Coast Lodge & Backpackers...http://www.pacificcoastlodge.co.nz. I'm open to recommendations, though.)
Relax, potentially surf, and have a good time in Mt Maunganui.
Drive back to Auckland. (This is predicated on being able to return my rental car from Tauranga in Auckland. If that's not a possibility, I suppose I'll just jump on a bus.)
Any final recommendations or thoughts? All your feedback has been very helpful.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$0.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$90.10 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$18.15 per night