Despite being a little out of the way, or perhaps because of this, Te Arai Point is one of our favourite Auckland Beaches. And by ‘out of the way’ we mean it’s 100km north of Auckland itself, and getting there involves a bit of gravel road driving. But don’t let that put you off, this beach is well worth the drive. It’s usually a lot less crowded than its neighbouring beaches, Mangawhai and Pakiri, and it really does offer something for everyone, whether it’s a chilled family day out or something a little more adventurous.

When there’s a swell running from the north east, Te Arai has a great beach break for surfing although, being an east coast beach, it tends to be fairly calm more often than not, so perfect for swimming and diving. Not a surfer and keen to learn? The crew from Aotearoa Surf School usually setup there in the busier months and will have you up on your feet and having fun in no time.

If surfing or standup paddle boarding is not your thing but you’d like to stretch your legs, there’s a well formed path that makes its way south, up and along the headland. From here you’ll get excellent views of Pakiri beach as it stretches south for almost 14km. Looking north, you’ll see the unmistakable outline of Taranga Island, part of the Hen and Chicken Islands as well as Bream Head. Then of course there’s Te Arai beach itself and the Te Arai Regional Park, with its important dune lake ecosystem. From Te Arai Point, the beach stretches north for almost 10km to the mouth of the Mangawhai Estuary so if you enjoy long walks along near deserted beaches, Te Arai is the place for you. Along the way you’ll almost certainly see pairs of black Oystercatchers (Torea) with their distinctive orange bills along with the ever-frantic Northern New Zealand Dotterel (Tuturiwhatu). And if you’re really lucky, you may even spot one of New Zealand’s critically endangered Fairy Terns near the mouth of the Te Arai stream.

Of course our favourite part of Te Arai is the bit that’s often overlooked. Most visitors to the point will simply walk to the small bay and possibly climb to the top of the rocky mound before returning to their cars or back to the main beach. But if you’re up for a little adventure, and don’t mind some gentle coasteering, walking south you can in fact make it all the way around the point to the northern end of Pakiri Beach. Along the way you’ll be rewarded with interesting rock formations, secluded little coves and some excellent swimming spots. Do it and you’ll see what we mean. The photos below are a little taster.

Te Arai
Te Arai
Te Arai
Te Arai
Looking south towards Pakiri Beach
Te Arai

Have you visited Te Arai Beach? Share your experience with us.