Preference Center

We use cookies and similar technologies to collect device data and usage information for analytics, measuring the effectiveness of ads, personalizing content, and tailored advertising. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to such purposes and the sharing of your data with our partners. To learn more, CLICK HERE. To change your preferences at any time, click the “Do not Sell my Personal Information” link in the footer of this page.

Awaroa, Tasman: Situated deep in the Abel Tasman National Park, this secluded area at the top of the South Island was bought by thousands of Kiwis as part of a crowd-funding campaign so that it would stay open to the public.
Moeraki, Otago: The sands of Moeraki are famous for a group of large spherical boulders, located along Koekohe Beach, which were formed from ancient sea sediments millions of years ago.
Courtesy Mike Hollman
New Chums Beach, Waikato: One of the last undeveloped beaches in New Zealand, this protected bay can only be reached by boat or a 30-minute clamber from Whangapoua -- the nearest holiday settlement.
Destination Coromandel
The Catlins, Otago: The most southeasterly point of South Island, this New Zealand region is known for its beautiful beaches, including the horseshoe-shaped Porpoise Bay and nearby Curio Bay.
Venture SOuthland
Rarawa Beach, Far North: With white sand so soft it squeaks and no facilities to speak of, the little-visited Rarawa Beach on the Aupouri Peninsula has an otherworldly feel.
David Kirkland
Wainui Beach, Gisborne: Famed for its waves and golden sand, Wainui Beach is also the site of a sperm whale grave, where 59 whales were buried after beaching themselves here back in 1970.
Tourism Eastland Inc
Gillespies Beach, West Coast: Based near an old mining settlement, this windswept and desolate coastline is covered with mounds of bleached driftwood and rocks.
Tourism West Coast
Karekare Beach, New Zealand: A filming location for Jane Campion's 1993 "The Piano," Karekare's idyllic black sands still feels untouched despite their Hollywood status.
Hot Water Beach, Waikato: For around two hours before or after low tide, you can dig a hole at the tide line of this gorgeous beach and relax in a personal, natural hot springs spa.
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Piha Beach, Auckland: The country's most famous surfing beach is also considered one of its best beaches thanks to its rugged cliffs, the commanding Lion Rock standing guard and the bush of the Waitakere Ranges.
Courtesy Murat WithHat/Creative Commons/Flickr
Kaiteriteri Beach, Tasman: Based at the top of the South Island, Kaiteriteri Beach has golden sands formed by a high content of quartz and is also the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park.
Whale Bay, Waikato: Situated between Mount Karioi and the ocean, the Pohutukawa tree-framed Whale Bay is world-renowned for its surf, with the left-hand point break a favorite of surfers.
Courtesy Florian Bugiel/Creative Commons/Flickr
Mission Bay, Auckland: A seaside suburb of Auckland city, this best New Zealand beach entry is a great location for a little relaxation in the heart of the city.
Courtesy russellstreet/Creative Commons/Flickr
Ocean Beach, Bay of Plenty: While Tauranga's Mount Maunganui has both an ocean beach and a harbor beach (Pilot Bay), the scenic Ocean Beach comes out on top and is popular for surfing and bodysurfing.
Courtesy Christoph Strassler/Creative Commons/Flickr
Ninety Mile Beach, North Land: With dunes that resemble a desert landscape and the stunning Aupouri Forest as a backdrop, Ninety Mile Beach is arguably New Zealand's most famous stretch of sand.
Courtesy Adamina/Creative Commons/Flickr

New Zealand asks travelers to help protect the environment

(CNN) — New Zealand is known for its strict environmental rules and regulations.
Already, people who travel to the country have to go through rigorous screening when they arrive to ensure they haven't brought in any outside plants or foods that might affect New Zealand's environment.
Now, visitors to New Zealand are can go one step further by agreeing to the "Tiaki Promise," wherein they pledge to be good stewards of the environment during their trip.
"Tiaki" means "to guard" in the Māori language, and it informs the Māori principle of being responsible for caring for the land.
"The idea of tourism in New Zealand is bigger than the border process," Stephen England-Hall, CEO of Tourism New Zealand, explains to CNN Travel.
He notes that the promise isn't a list of "do this" and "don't do that" guidelines that will remind you of a classroom chore chart -- rather, it's a way of putting people in a certain mindset when they arrive in the country.
Travelers can learn about the Tiaki Promise ahead of vacationing by going on Tourism New Zealand's website, checking out the dedicated Tiaki website and while traveling internationally on Air New Zealand, where a video about the mission will be shown on flights.
"Tiaki talks to guidelines or guiding principles about how we would like people to behave when they're in New Zealand. The idea is that we have a deep and symbiotic relationship with our environment here in New Zealand. You are welcome to come and to experience our landscape, but we want you to please be mindful of the fact that it's a really important place."
Getting into the Kiwi mindset may just help you have a great vacation, too.
According to the United Nations, New Zealand is the eighth happiest country in the world, with easy access to nature being one of the key reasons.
Even its national airline, Air New Zealand, encourages people to relax and be kind to each other -- while still following air safety guidelines, of course. After all, when you have to spend 17 hours in the sky, it helps to spend it alongside people who are polite.
To England-Hall, tiaki is about both the little things (hey, remember they drive on the left here!) as well as the big ones (being kind to others).
And if you get so into the mindset that you just can't bear to leave the country, we hear there's a town up for sale.
The original version of this story referred to the Tiaki Promise as a document. Visitors to New Zealand will not be asked or required to sign any such promise.
Read more
More from CNN Travel