We're searching for the nation's finest beach — and we need your help.
The Herald's Best Beach series will run through January and it all starts with entries from Herald readers, so tell us which beach you think is New Zealand's very best.
We are a nation of beach lovers, and many of us have a favourite — whether it's an everyday local for a morning stroll, or a beloved holiday spot you spend a few weeks at each year. But which stretch of sand is the country's best?
We last crowned a winner in 2018, with thousands of votes and a fierce competition seeing Whangamata coming out on top.
"A worthy winner, Whangamata holds a special place for many New Zealanders," said Best Beach 2018 judge Matt Williams, chief executive of Surf Life Saving NZ's northern region.
"Much of its treasured status comes from the unique coastal environment. It's a widely accessible beach kept safe by the guardians of the coast at Trust Waikato Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club since December 1949."
Will the Coromandel favourite claim the crown again this year, or can you help get your favourite beach into the top spot?
It's all up to you. We need you to nominate your favourite, telling us why you love this beach and what makes it so special.
Is it the quality of the sand and surf? The local amenities that make it perfect for the whole whānau? Is it easy to get to? Or does its remoteness add to its charm?
Send us a favourite photo of the beach, too, and we'll profile some of your entries throughout the summer.
Nominations are open until the end of Sunday, January 10. From there, your entries will be counted and the 10 most popular beaches will be named as our finalists, with a bonus three wildcard entries chosen by the Herald Travel team. You will then be able to vote for one beach from the top 13 to be crowned the ultimate winner.
Any stretch of New Zealand's coastline could make the final list, anywhere around the country, from the tip of Northland to the bottom of Stewart Island. Spots off the beaten track are just as welcome to be nominated as big name favourites. Lakeside beaches are eligible for consideration as well.
As we enjoy a much-needed summer break, it's the perfect time to get some research in.
Grab your towel, slap on the sunblock and get to your nearest beach to see whether it measures up to our 2018 winner.
Once you've sufficiently experienced all your beach has to offer — and yes, ice creams are an essential part of the research process — go to nzherald.co.nz/bestbeach to submit your nomination.
May the best beach win.