waiheke island beaches auckland new zealand
Auckland,  New Zealand,  North Island

10 Best Beaches On Waiheke Island & What To Do There

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Last Updated On 6th February 2024 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

Waiheke Island is a beautiful paradise and has some of the best beaches in New Zealand. The little island, just 40 minutes from Auckland by ferry*, can be visited in a day or enjoyed at a slow pace.

The seawater on Waiheke is clear, warm and safe for swimming. Plus, there are opportunities for surfing and snorkelling. If you prefer just to take a walk or chill, then Waiheke has great beaches for you too.

In this post, I share the 10 best beaches you must see on your visit to Waiheke Island and the best activities for each beach! I have also included a map so that you can easily locate all of these awesome beaches on Waiheke Island.

The Best Beaches On Waiheke Island – North Island, New Zealand 🏖️ 🇳🇿

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Map of the best beaches on Waiheke Island and what to do there:

10 Best Beaches On Waiheke Island & What To Do There

1. Little Oneroa Beach – Best Beach For Swimming

sunset at little oneroa beach waiheke island auckland new zealand
Sunset at Little Oneroa Beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

If you’re keen on a swim, then head to Little Oneroa Beach. This gorgeous little beach is sheltered by rocky cliffs on either side. The water is clear and great for wading into. Not far from the shore you will get your depth. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the warm waters of Waiheke and enjoy a swim. Sunsets are also lovely from this beach. Little Oneroa Beach is my favourite beach on Waiheke Island!

There’s a small car parking area, children’s playground and toilets at this beach. If you’re hungry, then try Dragonfired. Their small food truck is always parked up at Little Oneroa and serves delicious pizza and calzone.

You can easily walk to Little Oneroa Beach from Oneroa village – it just takes 5 minutes. To get there by bus from the Mataitai Ferry Terminal, take bus 50A, 50B or 501.

2. Big Oneroa Beach – Best Beach For Walking

big oneroa beach on waiheke island
Big Oneroa Beach

Head down to Big Oneroa beach for a wonderful walk along the sandy bay. Little Oneroa Beach is one of the longest beaches on Waiheke Island at approximately 1km long.

At the eastern end of the beach, there is a rocky area to explore, while the western end is backed by bush.

The beach is dog friendly and many people are enjoying their walks here.

Oneroa is also a good place to swim, but be careful of the many boats which come into shore here. I prefer to swim at Little Oneroa Beach which is more sheltered and safe for swimming.

Being so close to Oneroa village, you can combine your beach trip with a stroll around the town and enjoy a coffee or visit an art gallery. Check out the best things to do in Oneroa here: 11 Awesome Things To Do In Oneroa, Waiheke Island

The best way to get to Big Oneroa Beach is to walk from Oneroa (it’s just a couple of minutes!). There are toilets available in Oneroa village. To get there by bus from the Mataitai Ferry Terminal, take bus 50A, 50B or 501.

Oneroa is one of the main townships on Waiheke Island. Check out the best things to do there in this post: 11 Awesome Things To Do In Oneroa, Waiheke Island

3. Palm Beach – Best Beach For Chilling

palm beach waiheke island
Palm Beach, Waiheke Island

The tiny village of Palm Beach has a relaxed vibe. The nearby beach makes the perfect place for chilling and enjoying the waves.

There are toilets, picnic benches here and a couple of small cafes and shops. Try Arcadia for a coffee or drink, and they also have a brunch menu.

There is parking by the roadside and the beach is just a short walk through the reserve. Get there on the bus using route 502.

4. Little Palm Beach – Best Beach For Sunbathing

Just a short walk from Palm Beach is Little Palm Beach. This secluded beach is only accessible on foot. To get there, just walk to the western end of Palm Beach and around the rocks.

Backed by bush and enclosed by rocks on each side, Little Palm Beach is a nice, private spot for a swim and sunbathing.

Little Palm Beach is popular with nudists, so don’t be surprised if you see many naked people here flaunting and enjoying their bodies!

5. Onetangi Beach – Best Beach For Surfing

view of onetangi beach and bay from waiheke backpackers hostel waiheke island auckland new zealand
View of Onetangi beach on Waiheke Island

Onetangi Beach is the longest beach on Waiheke Island. It is also one of the most beautiful. The wide, sandy bay is exposed and gets good wind and waves, making it a top spot for surfing. Bodyboarding is popular here too, or just enjoying jumping the waves.

You can also enjoy taking a walk along the 2 km long beach and admiring the scenery.

Onetangi Beach is my second favourite beach on Waiheke Island.

Onetangi is a cool village and there are many cafes and restaurants along the beachfront. Up in the hills, there are some great vineyards and wineries to visit, including Casita Miro.

There is parking available all along the beach in Onetangi. There are also toilets. Take bus 50A or 50B to get to Onetangi by bus.

6. Enclosure Bay Beach – Best Beach For Snorkelling

If you want to do some snorkelling on Waiheke Island then be sure to check out Enclosure Bay. This lovely little sandy/pebble beach is partially separated from the sea by rock formations. This makes Enclosure Bay a safe, sheltered spot for exploring the waters. The water in the bay is quite shallow, so you would need to head out a little to get your depth.

Enclosure Bay is more off the beaten track, so if you’re looking for something a little different it makes a nice place to visit.

There is a small parking area next to Enclosure Bay Beach. To get there by bus, take the route 502.

7. Sandy Bay Beach – Best Beach For Boating

Sandy Bay Beach is a pretty little beach just down the road from Enclosure Bay. The beach is popular for boat launching.

I wouldn’t recommend swimming here because of the amount of boat activity. But you could enjoy some other water activities on the water, like kayaking or stand up paddleboarding.

There is a small parking area just by the beach. To get there by bus, take the route 502.

8. Rocky Bay Beach – Best Beach For Bird Watching

whakanewha regional park rocky bay beach waiheke island
Rocky Bay Beach at Whakanewha Regional Park, Waiheke Island

Located in Whakanewha Regional Park, Rocky Bay Beach is a great place to get away from it all. This quiet corner of Waiheke Island is a lovely setting for a picnic or wandering the many trails through the park.

Rocky Bay Beach is a nesting site for the variable oystercatcher and New Zealand dotterel. The dotterels have been nesting at Whakanewha Regional Park for many years. The dotterels are endangered and under threat due to predation from non-native species, loss of habitat and disturbance from humans on the beach. So, if you visit Rocky Bay Beach, make sure to be mindful of the nesting birds and do not disturb them.

You may find many other bird species along the coastline, including kingfisher, herons, terns, ducks and stilts.

Further inland from Rocky Bay, Whakanewha Regional Park also has a large wetland area. This wetland is home to many birds, including bittern, banded rail and spotless crake.

It’s possible to swim at Rocky Bay but go at high tide because the mudflats are exposed at low tide.

There is a campground at Whakanewha Regional Park too in case you want to stay overnight. This is the Poukaraka Flats Campground at Rocky Bay and is booked through Auckland Council ($16 per person per night).

Parking and toilets are available in the parking area in Whakanewha Regional Park. You can also get there by bus on the 502, 50A and 50B.

9 & 10. Blackpool Beach & Surfdale Beach – Two Bonus Bird Watching Beaches

If you enjoy bird watching, also check out the Surfdale and Blackpool Beaches.

Located just south of Oneroa village, these two beaches are good spots to see bar-tailed godwits and lesser knots. These birds spend the summer (between October to March) on these beaches after migrating from the arctic.

The godwits are amazing flyers and return to New Zealand in a direct, non-stop 9-day flight over 11000 km.

The lesser knots are smaller than godwits but are often seen in their company. Their precise migration route is still unknown.

You can easily walk to Blackpool and Surfdale beaches from Oneroa. Or take the bus using service 502 or 50B to get to Blackpool Beach and the 50B or 50A to get to Surfdale.

Map Of The 10 Best Beaches On Waiheke Island

Here is a map I created to help you find these beaches. Open it in Google Maps and save it for later!

More Awesome Waiheke Island Activities

Looking for more fun things to do on Waiheke Island? Check out these ideas:

Search For Accommodation On Waiheke Island

Finding a place to stay for your trip to Waiheke Island? Take a look at options on Booking.com, Hostelworld and Tripadvisor. Or use the search box below:

If you’re looking to stay at a hostel on Waiheke, then check out my review of The Best Hostel On Waiheke Island: Waiheke Backpackers Hostel Review. Located above Onetangi Beach, this awesome hostel has amazing views across Onetangi Bay. The hostel is comfortable, well-equipped, in a great location and, best of all, it is an affordable price.

Stay On Waiheke Island For Free (& All Over New Zealand!)

Never pay for accommodation while travelling in New Zealand again! Join Kiwi Housesitters and get FREE accommodation in beautiful homes across the North and the South Islands.

During my trip to Waiheke Island, I did house sitting for a week in the cute town of Oneroa. I got accommodation completely for FREE by house sitting through Kiwi House Sitters. It gave me a chance to explore Waiheke without having to worry about how much I was spending on accommodation. So my budget could go on wine tastings and nice restaurant meals instead!

I have been house sitting in New Zealand for more than 2 years and it is SO worth it! Join now* and find a housesit on Waiheke Island for free! It costs just $84 for a year’s membership (less than 3 nights in a hostel). Get $10 off your membership with my unique referral code6SLUJC

10 Best Beaches On Waiheke Island & What To Do There – Thanks For Reading!

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Lauren is a coffee and cat obsessed travel writer from the U.K., specialising in solo female, couple travel and budget backpacking. She has previously lived in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England and Scotland. Follow her adventures around the world on her blog WildLovelyWorld.com


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