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Clear blue water in blue pools spring, Mt Aspiring, New Zealand

Top NZ Summer Swimming Spots for 2021

This summer, New Zealand hotels aren’t filling up with the usual influx of tourists. Instead, domestic travel is picking up as Kiwis continue to support the local tourism businesses across the country. Even though the holidays are over, there are enough public holidays toward the front of the year for us to make the most of the end of summer, and plenty of Kiwis spend the long weekend enjoying the sunshine with a swim!

If this summer is the first time you’ve really started exploring Aoteroa’s great swimming spots, you might not know where to start. The sheer number of beaches, rivers, lakes, and swimming holes can be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to some of Aotearoa’s best swimming spots. By no means is this guide completely exhaustive, but we’ve tried to include something for everyone. Let’s dive in!

Lake Wainamu, Auckland

Te Henga—also known as Bethell’s Beach—is a classic Auckland destination, attracting plenty of swimmers all summer long. However, slightly off the beaten path is a lesser known nearby gem; Lake Wainamu. Popular for its black sand dunes and incredible scenery, the lake is one of the most-loved freshwater swimming spots in the North Island. It takes about half an hour to walk up the stream from the Lake Wainamu carpark, but the trek through the water generally keeps it from getting too crowded. Be sure to bring jandals for when you arrive—that black sand can get hot!

Lake Wainamu

Lonely Bay, Whitianga

One of our favourites, Lonely Bay is a hidden beach found just around the corner from the popular Cook’s Beach. To get there, you can walk for an hour or two from Whitianga using the ferry crossing to reach Ferry Landing. Alternately, you can drive right into Shakespeare Cliff Reserve and climb down from the track for ten to fifteen minutes to find the bay.  The view from Shakespeare Cliff is pretty amazing too, so it’s well worth the walk.

Lonely Bay, Whitianga

Blue Pools Track, Mt Aspiring

Wanaka has long been one of New Zealand’s big tourist towns, offering some of the country’s most impressive scenery. About an hour out of Wanaka you can find the Makarora River, home to stunning native bush, and a track that will lead you to the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Pools. It’s places like these that remind us why New Zealand is one of the most magical places on earth. For those looking for a truly unforgettable experience this summer, this is it.

Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring

Anchor Bay, Tāwharanui

While Blue Pools Track might be the ideal freshwater swim, Anchor Bay is the ideal beach swim. A beautiful beach only an hour or so north of Auckland Central, Anchor Bay has gorgeous white sand, rolling surf, and wealth of tide pools, filled with all sorts of interesting critters. Few beaches are better to explore.

Anchor Bay, Tawharanui

Kendall Bay, Birkenhead

Another spot close to NZ’s biggest city, Kendall Bay is probably the best place for a dip if you don’t want to leave the city, and you want to dodge the crowds at Mission Bay or Narrow Neck. Hidden within Birkenhead’s Kauri Point Centennial Park, you can find Kendall Bay at the end of a short hike that winds behind the Chelsea sugar factory. It also has a great view of the distant city skyline!

Kendall Bay, Birkenhead

New Chums Beach, Whangapoua

Famous for geothermal activity, Rotorua has a few hidden springs of its own. Kerosene Creek is a freely accessible hot pool with a little waterfall, surrounded by bush. The perfect place to unwind and relax! To find it you’ll need to make your way to the Old Waiotapu Road turnoff, between Taupo and Rotorua on State Highway 5. It’s a great destination for those looking for activities close to their Rotorua accommodation.

New Chums Beach, Whangapoua

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

Famous for geothermal activity, Rotorua has a few hidden springs of its own. Kerosene Creek is a freely accessible hot pool with a little waterfall, surrounded by bush. The perfect place to unwind and relax! To find it you’ll need to make your way to the Old Waiotapu Road turnoff, between Taupo and Rotorua on State Highway 5. It’s a great destination for those looking for activities close to their Rotorua accommodation.

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

The holiday capital of the country, Queenstown has a reputation as an adventure destination, and it’s plain to see why. Lake Wakatipu is last on the list because it’s not for everyone—typically ice-cold in summer as well as winter—but some people can’t get enough of it. For them, the height of summer is the perfect time to take an icy plunge.

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Looking for summer accommodation?

If you’re planning to get away for the weekend this summer, CPG Hotels can help. We offer top Auckland accommodation, along with locations in Wellington, Dunedin, and more. Our hotels are some of the few which aren’t being used as MIQ facilities, so you can be assured of a safe stay. Book a stay with us today!

 

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