New Zealand’s best coastal views (with video)

Granted, New Zealand has amazing coastal vistas all over its North and South Islands. There’s certainly something for everyone, from rugged stoney stretches of coastline in the south to surf beaches or wide and long sandy swimming beaches in the north. Here’s a taster for the New Zealand novice, my favourite coastal views around New Zealand.


Banks Peninsula

Akaroa harbour, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

Akaroa harbour, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand


Banks Peninsula is a real gem. Formed by two volcanic eruptions, Banks Peninsula is almost round in shape, and sits just a stone’s throw away from Christchurch. You’ll find plenty of beautiful scenery and things to do on Banks Peninsula. It has many a isolated bays and the only French settlement in New Zealand: Akaroa.



If you arrive in Picton by ferry and drive south to Christchurch, you can look forward to a breathtaking, long stretch of coastal state highway, leading you past Blenheim and Kaikoura. Make sure to take frequent stops, switch off your car radio and listen to the waves crushing into the shore!


The Catlins

The Catlins are a sparsely populated area in the south of New Zealand’s South Island. The Catlins comprise rugged coasts with wide, deserted beaches, endless rolling green hills, wild weather and lots of marine wildlife such as sea lions, penguins and dolphins.

Catlins coast, South Island, New Zealand

Catlins coast, South Island, New Zealand


West Coast / Haast

What is so special about the West Coast is that when you drive on the coastal state highway, you see endless deserted beaches on one side and lush green rainforest and glaciers on the other! And nobody else around.

West coast beach near Haast, South Island, New Zealand

West coast beach near Haast, South Island, New Zealand



Granted, that is not the most obvious one and not really on many a tourist’s route, but those sand dunes were fantastic!

Wanganui sand dunes, North Island, New Zealand

Wanganui sand dunes, North Island, New Zealand

What’s your favourite coastal view in New Zealand?



Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

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  6 comments for “New Zealand’s best coastal views (with video)

  1. 29 March, 2011 at 11:54

    Loved the Catlins and the road between Blenheim and Kaikura as well, but by far the best views are on the West Coast from Haast all the way to the North. So many amazing views there.

    • 29 March, 2011 at 17:56

      The West Coast is amazing, isn’t it? I’m told Karamea is so beautiful. It’s on my list for next time.

  2. Wannes
    14 August, 2013 at 10:36

    Hi Christina,
    Awesome website!
    I’m going to NZ in november and we are passing Haast.
    Can you tell me more specific were the West coast beach near Haast is?

    • Christina
      15 August, 2013 at 08:02

      Thanks Wannes! Glad to hear you’re heading to NZ. How long will you be there for? The beach from the photo above is in Bruce Bay. Have a look here:

      • Wannes
        18 August, 2013 at 08:33

        Thanks for the info Christina!
        Too bad it’s only for 3 weeks, we’re doing a 6000km roadtrip starting from Auckland and going to the south and back.
        Sometimes it’s so hard to decide where to go because there are so many beautifull places in NZ!

        • Christina
          24 September, 2013 at 02:13

          3weeks is a good timeframe, Wannes. Sounds fantastic that you’re taking in both islands. November is coming closer, have you got your itinerary sorted? Glad you’re doing a road trip, it’s the best way to see the most of the country.

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