The top 50 beaches have been named

Here are the ones closest to New Zealand
23 May 2023

A list of 50 of the world's best beaches was recently published (2023), as voted for by top international travel influencers, bloggers and experts, and while most people tend to think of New Zealand as being far away from almost everything, a good few of the world's best beaches are relatively close to home!

Experience the beauty of exotic shorelines, surrender to the calming sounds of the waves, and delight your senses with the sun-kissed sand beneath your feet. We've uncovered the world's most stunning beaches nearest to us and detailed them below beside their official Top 50 ranking. If you'd like to check out the entire list of all 50 of the world's best beaches, you can do so here. Or read on for some serious sun-drenched inspiration for your next unforgettable beach-break. 

#1 : Lucky Bay, WA, Australia

Lucky Bay WEB

Just a hop, skip and a jump across the pond to Australia, you'll find the world's best beach, Lucky Bay near the seaside town of Esperance, in Western Australia. Known for its inquisitive kangaroo population, Lucky Bay's white sandy beach is popular with locals and tourists alike.

We recommended hiring a car and exploring all the incredible beaches along this stunning stretch of coastline.

#4 : Whitehaven, QLD, Australia

Whitehaven WEB

Australia really is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches, and as Kiwis we're blessed that Australia is so close to home, meaning visiting these beaches is easier for us than most. Whitehaven Beach on Queensland's Whitsunday Island boasts some of the purest and most pristine white sand in the world! Definitely one to add to the bucket list!

#5 : One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands

One Foot WEB

Ahh the Cooks, one of the most popular island destinations for us Kiwis. Easy to get around, New Zealand Dollar currency and beach after beach of white sand and turquoise waters. Take a short plane ride from the mainstay of Rarotonga and you'll encounter a paradise like no other; Aitutaki. If escape, relaxation, and awe-inspiring beauty are right up your alley, Aitutaki doesn't fail to deliver. With a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, a day-trip to One Foot Island is an absolute must-do while you are there.

#17 : Turquoise Bay, WA, Australia

Turquoise WEB

Here's Western Australia with another beach in the top 20! Turquoise Bay near Exmouth further north in WA, really is what it says it is, a beautiful deep turquoise lapping a shore of powdery white sand. Situated at the foot of the Cape Range national park, it boasts glorious weather year-round, with the best time to visit (and avoid the scorching temperatures) precisely when New Zealand's weather is at its worst; April to October. Could this be your next mid-winter escape destination?

#28 : Little Hellfire Bay, WA, Australia

Little Hellfire WEB

Ok Australia, we get it, your beaches are amazing. Here we go again WA, with yet another stunner, albeit outside the top 20 this time. Little Hellfire Bay is Hellfire Bay's lesser-known sister, accessed by a short walk through bush. Being the hidden gem that it is, you'll find fewer people and enjoy a more serene experience, with swimming an absolutely essential activity at this sheltered bay of blindingly white sand. If peace and tranquility are high on your beach-going agenda, Little Hellfire Bay is sure to delight.

#37 : Matira Beach, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Matira WEB

Sunsets, snorkelling and sand as white as snow, Matira Beach at the South-Western tip of Bora Bora Island is regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world. It's a public beach that stretches for 1.5km and is easily accessible by the Round Island Road. Its crystal clear waters are home to an abundance of colourful fish and the shallow, sandy-bottom lagoon makes for safe swimming. Nearby you'll find the famed Bloody Mary's restaurant, but there are a number of eateries right on the beach and a few accommodation options to choose from only a short stroll away. Laze the day away under a shady palm tree and take in the awe-inspiring beauty that Bora Bora is renowned for.

#42 : Champagne Bay, Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu

Champgne Bay WEB v2

Given the name "Champagne" Bay on account of the natural thermal activity that causes effervescent bubbles to rise through the crystal clear water near the shore at low tide. A popular port call with cruise ships, you can find cruises that visit Champagne Bay in varying months of the year. It's also a 45min drive from Luganville on a well-formed tar-sealed road. Excellent snorkelling and amenities such as a campground, changing rooms and ablution block, plus as a BBQ area await those who make the worthwhile trek to this stunning stretch of white sand. You can fly direct from Auckland to Port Vila with Air Vanuatu and easily connect to a domestic service out to Espiritu Santo. Vanuatu offers Kiwi holiday-makers an absolute treasure-trove of experiences, it's time more of us chose to travel there.

#49 : Piha, Auckland, New Zealand

Piha WEB v2

Last but by no means least, you can't get much closer to home than Piha on Auckland's wild west coast. Famed for its black sand, and sometimes unforgiving surf, Piha is overlooked by its iconic and majestic Lion Rock and on a good day will wow you with its rugged natural beauty. 40km from the heart of the city, it's a day trip well worth the drive, but, do you think it's worthy of its 49th spot in this top 50 compilation? Perhaps another Kiwi beach is more deserving of a mention...?

Still close, but a little further afield

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