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by Shaye Boddington

Mangawhai: A Beautiful NZ Beach, just 1.5 hours from Auckland!

Are you looking for a NZ beach that has stunning clear water, jaw dropping scenery, plenty of accommodation options, Pohutukawa trees galore and an estuary for family fun? Mangawhai Heads can offer you all this and more! And what's best - this gem of a holiday spot is only a short hour and a half drive from central Auckland. We head to Mangawhai for a New Zealand beach holiday at least once a year - but sometimes as often as every couple of months! And why wouldn't we with views like this...

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View of Mangawhai Beach (with islands in the distance)


Swim for Hours in The Crystal Clear Water

One thing that I absolutely love about this NZ beach is the clear water. Every time I've been to Mangawhai heads beach - I've been treated to crystal clear waters... In fact, it is so clear that you can see straight through the waves. This is even more amazing when the dolphins come out to play - we've only had this once at Mangawhai - and it was breathtaking!


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Even on this cloudy day the waves were crystal clear (That guy in the speedos is my cousin - not Tom - just saying!)


Learn to Surf on Mangawhai's Gentle Waves

Almost every time I go to Mangawhai heads beach, I see a van with "Surf School" written on the sides. The waves at Mangawhai are gentle enough for beginners but large enough for those who already know how to surf... unless you go to Mangawhai after there's been a cyclone... then the waves look more like this....

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HUGE waves at Mangawhai Heads after Cyclone Pam.


Get Huffy and Puffy On Mangawhai's Coastal Walk

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View from the Mangawhai Heads Beach Walkway

At the far end of Mangawhai beach there is a stunning coastal track which you won't want to miss out on. It takes you high up above the beach so that you can enjoy the beautiful clear water from above. The track is about 5 kilometers long and will take you a couple of hours return. It's a stunning walk and a brilliant way to spend the morning.


Sit Beneath The Pohutukawa Trees and Revitalize Your Soul

To the North of Mangawhai Beach you'll find a number of beautiful big Pohutukawa trees... This is the perfect place to set up camp and enjoy a picnic. For those of you who have little kiddies - or sensitive skin - it can be a great spot to stay out of the sun. You'll find the Pohutukawa trees perched above the beach on the sand dunes and they give you an ideal elevated position to enjoy the views.

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Relaxing beneath the Pohutukawa trees, listening to the waves crashing on the beach = pure bliss!


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Looking through the Pohutukawa trees onto Mangawhai Beach


Take your Pick Of Accommodation At Mangawhai Beach

Being so close to New Zealand's biggest city - Auckland - Mangawhai is a very convenient holiday location. There are plenty of choices for accommodation including:

  • Backpackers
  • Camping
  • Holiday Homes
  • Lodges
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • etc

For a complete list of Mangawhai accommodation check out this link.

Despite it being so close to Auckland, don't worry, Mangawhai seldom feels crowded. It's only the week or two surrounding Christmas and new year that you'll struggle for a car park at the beach.


Explore These Nearby Beaches

Mangawhai beach is not the only stunning beach in the area... This part of NZ is blessed with an abundance of stunning coastline! Other beaches nearby that I'd recommend you visit are Langs Beach and Waipu Cove - both just a short 10 minutes drive away. Waipu Cove also has a large campground and quite a few beach houses for rent. (Check out to see what holiday homes are available)

If you're happy to drive further afield, the stunning tutukaka coast (home of my all time favourite nz beach - matapouri bay) is only an hour and twenty minutes away.


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Chilling with my bubba at Waipu Cove


Mangawhai - The Perfect 'All Rounder'

On our most recent holiday to Mangawhai beach I thought to myself "What is it that brings us back to this beach time and time again?" - what I came up with is that it's the perfect all rounder...

Mangawhai Beach is one of my favorite beaches because it's...

  • Close enough to Auckland that it rivals Auckland beaches in terms of ease to get to
  • Waters are clean and clear
  • Accommodation is plentiful
  • Shops are small but have everything you need
  • Lifeguards are on patrol during summer
  • Beautifully Scenic and has other lovely beaches close by

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Mangawhai beach - Just a fantastic all round beach! (Made a little less fantastic by my cousin Craig wearing Speedo's)