Bethells Beach
Bethells Beach
4.5

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles333 reviews
Excellent
220
Very good
90
Average
18
Poor
4
Terrible
1

SouthSeasAmerican
Luganville, Vanuatu340 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
We went to the Beach on a rainy Saturday morning on Waitangi weekend. It was not raining when we arrived, but only a few cars were in the parking lot. We walked along the Waitakere River down to the beach and turned toward the large sea cave at the other end of the beach. When we were about two-thirds of the way there, it began to rain. The wind was blowing in from the Tasman Sea, causing the rain to fall sideways. My right side was soaked and my left side was relatively dry. The beauty of it was that we had the beach all to ourselves for at least a half hour, and it never was crowded. The sea cave was amazing for its large size. The daylight penetrates all the way to the back. The sandy floor was damp, but the cave was relatively dry at low tide. We waited inside until the rain sqalls passed. Then we explored the other sea cave, which is not as wide or high but just as deep. I was able to walk upright for all but the last few meters, where I crawled into the darkness until the passage became too small to navigate. Back outside, we explored tide pools full of small crabs and prawns. We were never tempted to swim in the dangerous surf, but we did wade into the shallows as we walked back down the beach. We also waded up a small stream and explored its canyon. By the time we made it back to the river, the wind had picked up and was pelting us with the fine volcanic black sand, but then we left. We spent about three hours at the beach. It was fabulous.
Written 5 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheila2309
Yeovil, UK21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
We visited this beach on our first day in New Zealand. What a great introduction to a beautiful country. The neighbouring Piha Beach is also stunning. Neither of these beaches are particularly suitable for swimming but stunningly beautiful. The black sand is hot underfoot when the sun is shining!
Written 2 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Acineto
Auckland Central, New Zealand20,172 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021
We stopped by Bethells on the way back from the Te Henga walk to O'Neill Bay. We went through the path that connects O'Neill Bay to Bethells Beach. It was interesting that there looked like there was a house on the Island at Bethells.
We rested here a bit by the cliff close to the island. There wasn't much shade on the beach though so it would be wise to bring something if you were planning on staying a while.
The beach itself was quite nice and large and there were lifeguards on duty. You do need to cross some water to get to the island side of Bethells but it wasn't very deep. The water was also quite warm, compared to the sea. The caves around the cliff by the river was quite interesting, some were big enough to easily walk in.
The sand did get quite hot, particularly away from the beach so just be wary of that as you head in/out.
Written 12 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike Rennie
108 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021
Intense surf and left to the masters however it’s great to watch them and swim in the shallower water between the flags! Walking north there’s a cool little bag there then can go up and over the small sand dune to O’Neil beach which was very picturesque. Take jandels/footwear as the stand can be roasting! The coastal walk leads onto O’Neils beach and Lake Wainamu is just around the corner also. Certainly worth a visit.
Written 3 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Naina-Damani
London, UK1,032 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Bethells beach is a large, dark sandy stretch of sand that stretches almost 2 kilometres along New Zealand's west coast and is made up of black volcanic sand.
Written 23 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rantin rover
Biggar, UK8,695 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
When I was planning our trip to New Zealand I discovered that Bethells Beach had been used in the Shania Twain music video for her song "Forever and Always". My wife and I are fans so for a bit of a laugh I thought I'd include a visit so that we could recreate the video (in a fashion)!

What I didn't plan for was the weather and the fact that there are quite a few places of interest to see in the area, the beach apart. So our overnight stay at nearby "Scenic Ridge" in the Waitakere Ranges was never going to be long enough. It's a pity, as the area is worth exploring and the accommodation was excellent.

The road from Auckland is fairly straightforward until the latter stages where it becomes a bit more "rural" and twisting but nothing particularly demanding in comparison to many in New Zealand. On the day we visited it was midweek and overcast so there wasn't any difficulty getting a parking space at the official beach car park. The catering van only operates at weekends so there were no facilities for eating and drinking.

We headed onto the dunes from the car park initially but gave up when the track became unclear and we were struggling to find a passage through the dense scrub. Better just to keep low and follow the path alongside the Waitakere River inlet. The sand here is black however further on it is more of a mix with some parts looking as if effected by a patchy oil slick and others just typical of any beach. After a few hundred metres the shore opens into a wide expanse.

To the right side (north) we crossed the water inlet to explore a small cave but it didn't go very far back into the rock. I decided to venture further along that stretch of beach however my wife was concerned about the incoming tide. She thought we would have difficulties returning so she doubled back and went to explore the southern stretch. With light rain, which we initially mistook for sea spray, I carried on towards the northern end. A key feature offshore here is Ihumoana Island which had some manmade structure on it which was a bit of a blot on the landscape - a jetty perhaps. A few guys were surfing here where the waves seemed to be particularly challenging. There was a track at the end leading over to O'Neill Bay but with time against me I turned back. By this stage the inlet for the river was no worse than it had been when I set off so it was easy to paddle across.

My wife meantime had headed far down the main stretch of sand in search of driftwood. The sun started to make an appearance. I followed and was able to stop on the way to take some photos of the oystercatchers scouring the beach for some morsels. There were very few people around and those that were there, were lost in the seascape.

Bethells Cave at the far south of the shore was my destination and on getting there I debated about venturing in as the waves were lapping in to the cave entrance. My wife again demonstrated her safety first approach and left me to it but with careful timing I managed. This is a large cave but with no torch and an incoming tide I didn't venture beyond the point where it was getting dark. I'm not sure if there is much deeper you could venture in any case. Ironically when I headed back to join my wife at her "safe point" a large wave almost knocked her off her feet and her trousers were soaked. It wasn't a look she was seeking. Fortunately I had swimming shorts so after stifling my laughter I suggested we should head back.

Thoughts of a Shania remake were distant at this point and we just walked along the length of the beach taking in the impressive surroundings...and drying off in the breeze.

We didn't get to see the giant dunes or Lake Wainamu, the trail to these is signposted about 1 km back at the single lane bridge. Another key place we missed was the Te Henga Walkway which apparently provides a great view along the coast at Bethells Beach. More time, as always, was needed and it would have been better to have allocated a couple of days in the area which would be my recommendation to potential visitors.
Written 29 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roger E
London, UK70 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Third world mobile phone coverage. Te Henga walkway start and finish difficult to find on line. Walk is difficult and potentially dangerous in places especially as no phone coverage if you get into difficulty. Some people/walkers express opinion that you should only walk south to north but depends on who you talk to. Sea at beach is extremely rough, beware! Long walk from car park to beach. End of Te Henga walkway not near beach but near one way bridge 2km from beach.
Written 22 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ross C
Richmond, New Zealand265 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Beach is popular, has capable, well equipped surf life guard on patrol, flags for swimming area. Nearby walk sand dunes and lake circuit is worthwhile too. Try a sasnd dune slide.
Written 5 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael and Jennifer
13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Coming from Southern California beach country, I can tell you this beach, so close to an urban area would be absolutely ruined by too many visitors. GO THERE BEFORE everyone finds out about this place. If you like beautiful wide beaches and stunning rock formations and a giant sea cave, then this place is for you.
Written 8 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Holli1212
Escondido, CA18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Beautiful black sand beach...one of the sites where Xena the Warrior Princess was filmed so my daughter, who is a fan, wanted to come here. Very pretty beach and scenery all around.
Written 10 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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