Orewa Beach has it all. An all-season destination, the beach is three kilometres of pristine golden sand, safe swimming in gentle waves, watersports, and endless ocean views. Nestled against a charming seaside community, Orewa offers boutique shopping, art galleries, an array of international cuisine, a cycle and walkway, and more. At only a 25 minute drive from Auckland, and with so many things to do in Orewa, it’s easy to see why we believe it’s an ideal getaway destination.
For me and others living nearby, Orewa Beach is the town down the road. It’s a change of scenery, a place to relax with friends, or to enjoy an evening out. It’s a local’s paradise that we share with the world.
Orewa makes it easy to enjoy an active lifestyle. Whether you prefer adventure sports or a stroll along the beach, this town’s got you covered. And, if you don’t have your own gear, there are places to hire kayaks, bicycles, and SUPs.
An iconic Auckland getaway location, Orewa Beach was a favourite of young Sir Edmund Hillary and his family. In fact, his father is responsible for planting all of those fabulous Norfolk Pines lining the beach area.
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Things to do in Orewa Beach
Hang out at the beach – it’s why you’re here!
First and foremost, is the unmistakably stunning three kilometres of golden sand beach. On a warm summer day, Orewa beach attracts everyone from water sports enthusiasts to sun worshippers. It’s a favourite beach amongst swimmers, surfers, sand-castle building families, and even couples enjoying a romantic picnic under the shade of a beach umbrella.
Considered to be one of the safer Auckland beaches, it is home to a popular surf lifesaving club. On summer days and often on weekends all year, the lifeguards are out. Large beach flags mark the patrolled swimming area.
Try a new watersport at Orewa Beach
Whether you want to catch a wave on a classic surfboard, try stand up paddleboarding (SUP), kayak, body surf, or kitesurf, you won’t be alone in your sports at Orewa Beach. Popular amongst all water sports enthusiasts, the expansive and wide beach is also great for joggers and walkers.
It’s a beach that attracts visitors year-round. While winter winds draw the athletic crowd, we also see families in the sand and kids splashing in the waves all year long.
Be inspired at the Estuary Arts Centre
214 Hibiscus Coast Hwy, Orewa
Free to enter, donations welcome
Open daily 9am – 4pm
With five gallery spaces and art displays changing monthly, there is always something interesting to discover at the Estuary Arts Centre. The exhibits range from impressive local talent to renowned national artists. The centre attracts 70K+ visitors annually.
Best of all, it’s also a local’s learning and discovery centre, featuring three studios and offering classes from painting to ceramics. We see a Spring Fling weekend taster workshop in our future.
Stroll or cycle on the Orewa Estuary (Te Ara Tahuna)
214E Hibiscus Coast Hwy, Orewa
Another must-do in Orewa, allocate time to circumnavigate the estuary along the 7.6 km Te Ara Tahuna Estuary cycleway and walkway. An easy walk, it generally takes us about 90 minutes to complete the path, unless we run into friends along the way.
The ever-changing scenery offers some great bird watching, including the small lake by Maygrove Park.
Importantly, this is a shared space for cyclists and pedestrians, and everyone is requested to keep to their left. Be kind as you pass, and remember that on this path (according to the signage), it is feet before wheels and slower users have priority.
Watch or ride at the skateboard park
More than just a competition standard skateboard park, the Orewa skate park is built as a multi-use summer facility. Redesigned, it reopened in 2015 and features both large and medium half pipes, turn-around quarter pipes, ramps, bridges, rails, ledges, and a judging area. There is something for all skating abilities.
Find it behind the Estuary Arts Centre and along the Te Ara Tahuna walkway.
Enjoy a meal or a snack
(including gluten-free options)
There are seemingly endless great choices of where to eat in Orewa Beach. In fact, at last count, there were 52 options covering the range from kiwi cafe to international excellence. I have to admit, we haven’t tried them all. Although, we already have a few favourites:
- Goodhub Eatery, 326 Hibiscus Coast Highway:
A cafe featuring great coffee and plenty of gluten-free, vegan, and keto options on the menu. Open early, they are great for breakfast, lunch, or snack time.
- Driftwood Cafe, 214 Hibiscus Coast Highway:
Located inside the Estuary Arts Building, this cafe has great coffee and classic cafe treats.
- Asahi, 6 Bakehouse Lane:
This is the place to go for sushi or Japanese food.
- Cheek and Chong, 348 Hibiscus Coast Highway:
Fabulous Asian fusion with lots of gluten-free options.
- Casablanca, 336 Hibiscus Coast Highway:
Full of flavour Mediterranean and North African fare with several gluten-free options.
Sunday Farmer’s Market
Orewa Square at the corner of HBC Highway & Florence Ave.
Free to enter
Sundays 8am – 12pm
Orewa’s Sunday market is just fun. It’s also a great place to pick up some fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, some of which is organic. Plus, there are usually free-range eggs, raw honey, delicious nuts, and natural artisan products.
There are also food stalls, usually offering a variety of warm and cold international flavours or freshly baked bread and sweets. You never know what you will discover next. As a bonus, there is often live music and, of course, coffee.
Attend an annual event
Located beachside, Orewa is an ideal place for several really fun annual events. A few of our favourites (many of which were skipped in 2020) include:
- Surf club events
- Buskers festival (usually the first week in February)
- The longest dinner (March)
- Sandcastle competition (March)
- Santa parade (November)
Where is Orewa, New Zealand?
A destination on its own, it is technically a part of the of Auckland super city. More specifically, Orewa beach is part of the area called the Hibiscus Coast and sits about 36 km from central Auckland.
Getting to Orewa Beach
Getting to Orewa beach is easy, either via self driving or the bus.
Driving to Orewa: It’s a straight shot north on State Highway 1 from Auckland (towards Whangarei). You can opt to exit at Silverdale and continue north for about six minutes until you see the beach on your right. Or, stay on the motorway until the Orewa exit (#394).
Take a public bus: From central Auckland there are regularly running Northern Express (NX1) busses. Travellers will need to transfer busses at the Hibiscus Coast stations to the 981. Check the AT journey planner for your specific travel times.
Nearby things to do
While there are plenty of things to do in Orewa, if you are staying for an extended time, you might want to venture outside of the town.
- Regional Parks: If you want a change of scenery and another place to hike and swim, head to one of the Auckland regional parks. Within a 30-minutes drive from Orewa are Wenderholm, Shakespear, and Long Bay regional parks.
- Adventure: Enjoy the luge or other games at the Silverdale Adventure Park (Click here to check for discounts).
- Coastal hikes: Take a rocky coastal walk from Milford to Takapuna
- Skiing or snowboarding: Snowplanet is the largest indoor snowdome in the southern hemisphere.
- A bird sanctuary island: Discover several rare and endangered birds on Tiritiri Matangi Island.
A few tips for visiting Orewa Beach
- Free wifi hotspots are found throughout much of the visitor and shopping areas of Orewa.
- If you are thinking about surfing, check the Orewa surf report here.
- In contrast, if kayaking from the sea to the estuary is in the plans, be sure to check the Orewa tides here. The estuary is quite tidal.
- If you are headed up to the Bay of Islands or all the way to Cape Reinga, Orewa Beach is a fun stop on the way.
Orewa Beach accommodation options
While Orewa Beach makes for a fabulous day trip from Auckland, it’s also a great place to unwind over a weekend, take a mid-week getaway, or stay longer. There are plenty of Orewa accommodation options, but we are partial to Airbnb in communities where locals knowledge is so important.
Booking tips for your New Zealand travel planning
First-time visitors start here: New Zealand travel guide or with our favourite New Zealand road trips.
Flights: We use Skyscanner to find all the available flight options at the best prices.
Rental Vehicles: For cars, we always use RentalCars.com, a rental car search engine with no hidden costs. For campervans, note that Spaceships Rentals NZ offers free one-way drop-off between Auckland and Christchurch.
Accommodations: We use Booking.com to find all levels of accommodations in most NZ cities.
Activity Discounts: We use Bookme.co.nz to find discounts on entry tickets and tours in New Zealand.
Travel Insurance: We purchase insurance that covers medical and travel emergencies when we head overseas. We start with World Nomads.
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**Find more money-saving resources on our Travel Resources page.
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Disclaimer: We worked with Destination Orewa Beach, the local tourism board, to aid in the writing of this article. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.