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by Shaye Boddington

This NZ Beach Convinced Me That I Live in Paradise!

Last month we went on an nz beach holiday that convinced me I live in paradise... We packed our bags, popped our new baby into her car seat and headed off on the short 2 hour 45 minute drive north of Auckland to Matapouri bay on the Tutukaka Coast. We arrived late afternoon and instead of going to our beach house, we decided to check out the beach first... I walked over the sand dune which hid the beach from the road and my mind was officially blown!

This is what I saw....

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Walking to Matapouri Bay from the car park

... Well actually that's what Tom saw because I'm the chick in the purple sarong!

I was absolutely gobsmacked by the perfect horse shoe bay that lay before me. I had heard that Matapouri bay (which is one beach of many that make up the Tutukaka Coast) was beautiful - but I was not expecting it to be this amazing!

Very quickly Matapouri became my all time favorite Kiwi beach. I fell in love hard. For the next 5 days we would pack a picnic, umberella, towels, sunscreen and head to the beach at 10am - only to return as the sun began to set in the evening.

It was our little baby Hazel's first beach holiday - she loved it as much as I did. She even went for a swim at the ripe old age of 3 months - the water was so warm!

Take The Time To Explore All of Matapouri's Beautiful Spots

One of the awesome things about Matapouri Bay is that there are so many stunning spots dotted around the bay...

To the one side of the beach are three other mini beaches (you can see them to the left in the photo above) which have beautiful Pohutukawa trees that offer lovely shade - perfect for those who burn easily or have a little bubba... We made that our spot for the 5 lazy days we spent at Matapouri.

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The 3 little bays to the North of Matapouri bay

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Crystal clear waters at my favorite nz beach - Matapouri Bay

Then, as if that wasn't beautiful enough, climb over the hill and you get to Mermaid Pools... A stunningly beautiful natural rock pool. Perfect for jumping off the rocks and doing bombs ;)

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Natures Perfect Swimming Pool - Mermaid Pools

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Walking down to Mermaid Pools Over the Hill

There used to be a natural tunnel that made getting to Mermaid pools super easy. Unfortunately there was a large rock that fell within the tunnel, blocking off that access... So now you get there by climbing over the hill. There's a path but it's still a bit of a steep walk so make sure you take some good shoes and a bottle of water.

It's also best to visit mermaid pools at low tide - that way there won't be waves crashing over the rocks and you can enjoy the pools at their calmest.

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How to get to Mermaid Pools from Matapouri Bay

Another stunning spot is the Estuary that leads into Matapouri Bay. The water is crystal clear and there's even a bridge you can jump off! You'll find the estuary to the south side of the beach. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of this - but trust me, just like the rest of this beach - it's breathtaking.

And then of course, If you don't want to walk far (hey, you're on holiday - we can forgive you for that!) you can plonk youself right in front of the path that leads to the beach. That'll take you to the center of the horeshoe shaped bay - a stunning spot for sunbathing, swimming and catching some waves. The waves at this part of the beach were the largest as it was the most exposed to the open ocean.

Sleep in Luxury - or on the Cheap - in Matapouri Bay

Camping around Matapouri Bay

Unfortunately there were no really nice campsites in Matapouri bay that we could find... We ended up staying in a little unit at the Tutukaka Holiday Park and they also offer camping or parking for your campervan. This was about 8 minutes drive from Matapouri. Ideally I would have liked to be closer to the beach - but if you're on a budget this is one of the better options to explore the Tutukaka coast. It's clean, tidy and a good base. It doesn't have beach views but is close to the Tutukaka marina.

Holiday Homes in Matapouri Bay and The Tutukaka Coast

If you want to holiday like a real Kiwi you'll want to rent a holiday house in Matapouri bay. Kiwis call holiday homes 'baches' as in... "Wanna head down to the bach for the weekend?" - A bach is normally a house owned by a Kiwi family who enjoy it for some parts of the year when on holiday. When they are not there, they often rent it out to travellers and holiday makers. If you're travelling in a group, often it can work out cheaper to rent a bach than to stay at a hotel or holiday park. There are thousands of baches scattered around New Zealands beaches - many of them in the most spectacular spots. To find a bach in Matapouri you can look on either or - We use those websites at least twice a year to book houses for our nz beach holidays.

Head To These Other Amazing Spots Close To Matapouri Bay

Matapouri Bay isn't the only stunning beach in the Tutukaka Coast - in fact, there are many, many more! Some of the others that come to mind are:

  • Whale Bay (2 minute drive from Matapouri follwed by a 15 minute walk)
  • Woolleys Bay (3 minute drive from Matapouri)
  • Sandy Bay (28 minute drive from Matapouri)
  • Whananaki Beach (40 minute drive from Matapouri)

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The Tutukaka Coast - A perfect spot for your NZ beach holiday :)

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The Spectacular Whale Bay - only a few minutes drive (and then a 15 minute walk) from Matapouri Bay

If you are short on time in New Zealand and limited in how many New Zealand beaches you can visit - I would strongly consider making Matapouri bay and the surrounding Tutukaka coast your spot. It's absolutely stunning, close to Auckland and relatively undiscovered. Please allow yourself a few days to explore the area - don't try to rush through in a day - there's so much to see and so much relaxing to be done!

I am a little spoilt in terms of where I have travelled and what I have seen and so it takes a lot to make my jaw drop... but Matapouri Bay and the Tutukaka Coast did just that!

new zealand beaches