More well-known Kiwis — and one famous international fan — give their picks for the best beach in New Zealand . . . and it's your last chance to crown the winner.
The most memorable beach I have visited in New Zealand would be any of those around the Kaipara Harbour. The mix of desolation and tragedy from the events that took place around that area make it a truly unique place. It's incredibly picturesque but with a feeling of loss and tragedy. It's quite an experience to explore.
● Neil Oliver presents Coast New Zealand. The third season returns to TVNZ 1 this year.
Brett and Angel Renall
Cathedral Cove was the first beach we ever really went to together so it will always be a special place for us. There's so many great things to do in such a small radius. It's nice to do the walk into the cove early to beat the rush. Afterwards we headed out to Hot Water Beach and by that time the tide was still in so all the pools were ready made. It's a great NZ location with scenery to die for. Pretty romantic too.
● Brett and Angel Renall met — and married — on the first season of Married at First Sight NZ.
My favourite beach is Tawharanui, 90 minutes north of Auckland. I love it for so many reasons, not least of all because we make it an all-day event, packing up the night before and leaving at dawn to stake our spot. It's part of a regional park on Takatu Peninsula, and is a marine reserve. There's something for everyone at Tawharanui, depending on tides: swimming, snorkelling, body boarding (even surfing if the swell is right), exploring rock pools at low tide or playing a game of beach cricket on the wide sandy stretches lined with pohutakawa. We usually set up camp under a tree on the grassy cliff up above the beach, where the outlook is second to none, and if we summon the energy after lunch we take some of the coastal walks to check out the birdlife or the working farm livestock. I am never ready to go home.
● Lorna Subritzky hosts the Days show, 10am-3pm on Coast.
When I was growing up we spent a lot of our holidays at a friend's bach in Leigh, north of Auckland. With no road access, there were rarely other people on the beach and it felt like it was ours alone. At one end was a huge rope swing we would spend hours on. At the other end was a deep channel that would swiftly funnel water into a shallow inlet as the tide was coming in. We would swim to the start of the channel and let ourselves be pulled through over and over. I never knew the name of the beach and it's not on Google maps, but we always just called it Golden Bay.
● Todd Emmerson stars in Westside, returning to Three this year.
For years Back Beach in Taranaki has been one of my favourite beaches to visit. It's the perfect place to walk the dogs, swim or catch epic sunsets over the Tasman Sea. Paritutu Rock towers over the sand dune and takes just 15 minutes to climb to see breathtaking panoramic views of the Taranaki coastline and Mt Taranaki. It's one of my top recommendations when visiting my home town of New Plymouth.
● Annalee Muggeridge is a Taranaki-based beauty blogger, YouTuber and make-up artist.
Taylors Bay — Mahia Peninsula. A nondescript scruffy little crescent of sand, sticks and stones; but I love it because it's where I learnt to beach. It's where I learnt to surfcast, to kontiki, to surf, row a boat, set a craypot, light a bonfire and put out an out-of-control bonfire . . . sorry Dad.
● Clarke Gayford hosts Fish of the Day, with a new season coming to Prime TV this year.
HOW TO VOTE
This month the Herald is searching for New Zealand's best beach. Readers have nominated their favourites and our panel of beach experts — Associate Professor Karin Bryan, of Waikato University; Surf Life Saving New Zealand boss Matt Williams; and singer-songwriter and surfer Jamie McDell — sifted the entries down to a shortlist of 10 great beaches. Now is your chance to vote for the ultimate winner. Go to tinyurl.com/votenzbestbeach to find out the top 10 and to cast your vote. Voting closes at midday, Wednesday, January 24.