Ocean Beach

Swim, surf and take long walks in the shadow of unspoiled scenery at this sweeping beach on the southern coastline of Hawke’s Bay.

Get away from the crowds and bask in the spectacular surroundings of Ocean Beach. This long, gently curving beach sits on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island and looks out over the South Pacific Ocean. Ocean Beach is a much-loved location among families and watersport enthusiasts that reside in the Hastings District of the Hawke’s Bay Region.

Visit the beach to discover almost deserted stretches of soft, golden sand backed by rugged green hills. A river runs down from the hills and often forms natural canals and lagoons. Find a quiet spot, sit down and collect your thoughts while watching waves break on the shore. Go for a swim on a warm day but be prepared for chilly water temperatures.

With consistent mid-sized waves, the beach is a favorite year-round hangout of surfers. Bear in mind that powerful rip currents can make conditions precarious. Lifeguards patrol the beach on weekends between November and March.

Stretch your legs on two popular walks, which bring you up close to impressive landforms and century-old relics. Stroll south along the shoreline for about 4.7 miles (7.5 kilometers) to Waimarama Beach. Watch fishermen waiting patiently to catch crayfish and flounder. Allow around 5 hours for the return trip and check the tides before departing.

Head north for 5 miles (8 kilometers) to Whakapau Bluff. From here you can reach the Cape Kidnappers peninsula by wading across a sandbar at low tide. Spot flocks of gannet, pelicans and shags flying above the cliffs. Look for impressive rock arches, the remains of a 19th-century whaling station and the relics of a shipwreck.

Ocean Beach is located about a 30-minute drive from the towns of Hastings and Napier. The most convenient way to get here is via rented car. Free parking is available at the entrance to the beach. There are no shops or restaurants here so bring your own food and drink if you plan to stay for the entire day.