For us Kiwis, you can’t have a summer without beach-trips, face-planting-surf and sunburns in the oddest places. In fact, when you debate which beach is best in our fair isle, things can get a little heated. Accordingly, this is a highly subjective but nonetheless thoughtful list of what we think might be the best sandy spots in the upper North Island.

Muriwai Beach reviewed by Leslie V.

This is my favourite beach, we often come here for walks with the kids or do a bit of body surfing. The waves are wild so I stay quite shallow with young kids and we always have a good time. The perfectly calm swimming pool beaches on the east coast are better for really young kids. Another attraction here is the Gannet colony, quite a sight. We sometimes grab some food in Kumeu and park at the beach to eat and watch the sunset.

Pakiri Beach reviewed by Helene R.

One of my favourite places to go that’s not too far from Auckland but pleasantly far enough that it feels like a holiday is Pakiri Beach. As well as the horse rides and surfing to occupy your time it is close enough to Leigh to grab coffee and pizza at the Sawmill, and if you come for a weekend then you can’t pass through the Matakana markets without making a stop.

Piha Beach reviewed by Sera V.

Piha is your answer. Just 45mins away from Auckland city, you feel like you are far far away from the concrete jungle. The beach is relaxing and it is always sunny. Visit the SLSC for an afternoon beverage, take surf lessons or visit the waterfall. I love coming to this amazing place, but watch out for the rips! Stay in between the flags!

Ninety Mile Beach reviewed by Chris Y.

Ninety Mile Beach is one of New Zealand's most iconic beaches and once you've been there, you'll understand why. It's actually only 64 miles long but one of the few beaches in the world you can drive along, the view is just amazing on a sunny day. TIP: I did a bus tour and let someone else do the driving but if you are going to drive your own car, drive on the wet sand or you might get 'beached as'.

Matai Beach reviewed by Ella I.

Matai Bay is gorgeous wee bay popular as a holiday destination and a day trip spot. The water is lovely and clear and the waves are small, making snorkeling around the rocky points a wonderful experience. Be sure to explore the caverns and the rock pools which team with cute little oceanic critters. Bring a picnic and some sunblock for an unforgettable northern beach trip.