Ninety-Mile Beach at Sunset – Northland, New Zealand

Ninety-Mile Beach runs along the western side of the Aupouri Peninsula, the strip of land leading to the Northern Tip of New Zealand. It’s one of the more famous beaches in the country. Its name is a bit of a misnomer as the beach is only 60 miles (96 km) long. Officially, it runs from Shipwreck Bay to Cape Maria van Diemen.

I can’t believe I hadn’t been here before. Our December road trip was my third visit up that way. We allocated one day on Aupouri Peninsula and spent it enjoying the white sands of Rarawa Beach, at Cape Reinga, and sandboarding at Te Pake. We almost missed ninety-mile beach again, but managed to squeeze it in just before sunset. Technically, the giant sand dunes at Te Pake are on Ninety-Mile Beach, but I wanted to walk at the water’s edge.

Sunset at Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula in New Zealand

Sunset at Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula.

Running along Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula at the North end of New Zealand

Our girls and their friend enjoying the beach.

Haze over the distant hills before sunset at Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula in New Zealand

I love the haze over the distant hills just before sunset. This one seemed best as a panorama.

Sign at Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula in New Zealand

At low tide vehicles can drive on the beach, and “oops, we are stuck” happens far too often from tourists. Hubby felt the sand on the ramp was a bit slippy, and with this sign right next to the driving entrance, he opted to park the car and walk down to the beach.

Car driving on Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula in New Zealand

This car came by so fast, I wasn’t prepared to take a photo. Sorry, this was the best I could do.

Additional Information on Ninety-Mile Beach: 

  • Ninety-Mile Beach boasts one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world (Being that I am not a surfer, I am not sure how important this is).
  • If you decide to drive on the beach you really should have 4WD. As it is officially a highway, all New Zealand road rules apply. Also remember to drive to the conditions, and these change rapidly.
  • Most rental car agreements do NOT allow driving on the beach. Be sure to check your contract before you go.
  • There are many entrances to Ninety-Mile beach. We opted take West Coast Road and enter from Waipapakauri Ramp. The cut off from Hwy 1 is just over 5km north of Awanui.
  • Several companies offer day bus tours along Aupouri Peninsula. Tours generally start from Kaitaia or the Bay of Islands and include a drive along the beach, sand surfing, and Cape Reinga. Some include a stop at Rarawa Beach.

***Ninety Mile Beach is part of our recmmended  4-5 day itinerary around the top of the North Island.***


Have you been to Ninety-Mile Beach? Did/Would you drive your own vehicle on the beach?

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Sunset at Ninety-Mile Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula at the top of New Zealand

This post linked to: Monday Escapes at My Travel Monkey, Travel Tales at Girl on the Move, Travel Tuesdays at Lauren on Location, and Wednesday Wanderlust at My Brown Paper Packages.

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  1. says

    Hi Rhonda – fun to see the sign .. but people are incredibly naive. So pleased you got there and were able to spend a little time amongst a bit of the 90 miles or (60/96 kms) … lovely sunset – cheers Hilary

  2. says

    The sunset shots in particular are gorgeous! I laughed to see the sign about 4WD vehicles, and thought the pictures they showed were really effective ways to let people know what could happen. How awful it would be to get stuck like that! I’ve never been to New Zealand. Maybe someday… Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Yes, it would be pretty bad. I think most people only get mildly stuck and then manage to get out. But we were not going to risk it. That’s why there are busses to do it.

  3. says

    Wow, that is a huge beach…. There is something magical about sunset, and especially sunset in the sea… Love it, so I got a bit lost (in a good way) in your pictures – they are amazing:-)

  4. says

    That’s a really long beach.

    In NC, they allow 4WD and other vehicles on the beach. My best friend was shocked to discover NC allows them when she visited. In Oregon, few beaches allow any vehicles.

  5. says

    Gorgeous. I’m pretty sure I would rather explore by foot, but I guess you can cover more ground in a vehicle. The first photo is crazy beautiful.

  6. says

    Beautiful shots especially the sunset one, nearest beach to me is Brighton and that’s not got sand it has pebbles arrgh! LOL

    Have a beachtastic day … you knew that one was coming heheh!

  7. says

    Good question …I don’t know if they allow any vehicles on the beach in California, since most of them are packed with people most of the year.So, probably not! Beautiful beach scapes here!

  8. says

    That first sunset pic is absolutely stunning! Wow! Thanks for sharing all the info, and it sounds like your husband was wise to park the car and walk. No need for a stuck, waterlogged car! 🙂

    • says

      We thought about doing the bus, but we like traveling on our own timeline, and decided that driving along the sand wasn’t really a big enough thrill for us. Maybe one day.

  9. says

    Great photos of the beach and beautiful sunset shots. Thanks for bringing back memories for me. We lived in Kaitaia when I was a child and drove on the beach all the time. No 4 wheel drive vehicles back then – (I think maybe the military had some?!) – so you had to be an extremely good driver and know both the beach and the tides. Dad was an excellent driver and very careful as well. I remember coming home one afternoon and there was a storm off shore somewhere that had driven the tide in very early. Dad drove us up into the sand-hills, we pitched a tent, made a fire, and had tea until the tide went down to where it was safe to drive again. It was a real adventure!! AND close to 60 years ago!

    • says

      Wow, what an adventure. Thanks so much for sharing that story. What a fantastic part of the country to grow up. So much beauty and peacefulness. Even today, you need to know the beach, which I think is why the buses are so popular.

  10. says

    Oh, I have read about this beach. Your shots are fabulous! That sign is a bit funny, they have pictures and all. I guess people do not trust words alone. Can you imagine being on the beach and then having your car swallowed by the sand? I would be freaking out. ;-D

    Lisa at Life Thru the Lens (

  11. says

    I was actually thinking of going to New Zealand this Summer. If I do, I definitely have to go there! It looks beautiful and the pictures you took are stunning! I dont think I would chance getting my car stuck in the sand though..

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