A Day Trip to Anchor Bay (Tawharanui Regional Park), One of the Best Beaches Near Auckland
There’s nothing better to do on a sunny day in Auckland than to visit one of the nearby beaches. Which one should you visit though? I’ve been to a few, and Anchor Bay, around an hour north of Auckland, is the best I’ve seen. The day trip to Anchor Bay from Auckland is easy (if you have a car) and there is quite a bit to see. Join me on a tour of one of the Auckland region’s best beaches!
Getting to Anchor Bay
Anchor is in the Tawharanui Region Park and is located 80 minutes’ drive north of Auckland. If you’re visit in the height of summer it could be double that though. Auckland’s traffic is terrible! It took us over two hours to drive there on New Years Day though, one of the busiest Auckland beach days of the year. The drive is easy – just head north to Warkworth and turn right at Matakana Road (Matakana is also on this route). The last bit of the drive is along a gravel road but it’s easy, just take it easy as there are a few winding bits. You can also check out Omaha Beach if you have time. Tawharanui is a protected area which is home to lots of native birds — dogs are forbidden and so is fishing off the beaches.
It was completely packed when we visited Anchor Bay, especially at the main part of the beach (the bit closest to the car parks). It’s a massive area though and you’ll find a quiet section if you’re willing to walk. It’s not just a place for relaxing though – there are some good viewpoints to seek out and it’s also a great place to surf (especially for beginners). There are bathrooms and changing rooms near the beach but no shops or anything — bring your own food and drinks!
If you walk down to the main part of the beach you’ll see a little rocky hill in the middle of it. It’s fairly easy to climb (a bit slippery though, so take it slow) and from the top you can see right out over the beach in both directions. It’s the perfect spot to sit a while and grab some photos.
Back towards the main part of the beach you’ll see a big headland. This separates the two most popular sections of Anchor Bay and it’s a very quick walk to the top. From there you’ll get more awesome views of the beach below in both directions. You’ll also see some pohutakawa trees (a famous NZ tree with red flowers) and maybe some native birds (we saw a few tuis).
You can also walk around the rocks between the two main sections of beach (probably best at low tide) or there’s a proper track from the main area. The section of beach on the right-hand side was a lot quieter and we managed to find a nice spot in the shade. This bit of the beach (close to the headland) is probably the most photogenic of the lot too, so make sure to check it out!
There’s another big headland in the distance which you can walk to. A friend of ours who we were there with did it and said the views were nice too, although it’s a lot further than the two viewpoints I mentioned earlier.
The road to Anchor Bay is a detour from the main road heading north from Auckland. It’s a good place to start if doing a Northland road trip. From there you can head further north to places like the Whangarei Heads, the Tutukaka Coast (home to two of New Zealand’s best beaches), the Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga and the Kai Iwi Lakes .The far north of New Zealand generally has the best weather and it’s the place to go if you’re a fan of beaches and coastal views. The only other place that compares in terms of tropical looking beaches is Abel Tasman National Park.
East Coast VS West Coast Beaches in Auckland
If you’re keen on a trip to a beach in or near Auckland, you have two main options. The West Coast beaches are rugged, black sand affairs while the East Coast is home to calmer, white sand beaches. I know which I prefer, but the west coast beaches like Piha and Murawai do have their charms. There are also waterfalls nearby, which is always a bonus.
Did you enjoy my post about the day trip to Anchor Bay from Auckland? Let me know in the comments below!
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