A police search for a man in the water near the Hibiscus Coast highway north of Auckland has ended after the man came out of the water unharmed.

He had simply gone for a long swim, a police spokeswoman told the Herald.

A member of the public called police when the man failed to come back to shore after entering the water around 5pm.

The police launch boat had been sent from Auckland to search the water for the man, but had since been stood down.