Close to Flaxmill Bay, Front Beach and Ferry Landing, this 3 km sandy beach is the longest stretch in the area and is neatly framed by tidal estuaries at each end. Its close proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, has meant that Cooks Beach has become a popular holiday destination.
Aside from private holiday home rentals, there are limited accommodation options available in Cooks Beach, Flaxmill Bay, Front Beach and Ferry Landing. Flaxmill offers some of the only year-round Accommodation in the area, including a boutique summer Campground (open October – April) with large sites for tents or motorhomes.
Cooks Beach is within a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
It is within a short walking distance to Flaxmill Accommodation & Venue at Flaxmill Bay (1km).
This area plays an important part in the early history of New Zealand. It was here that Captain James Cook anchored in 1769 while he observed the transit of Mercury and carried our maintenance on his ship The Endeavour. Hence the name, ‘Cooks’ Beach.
Anytime! But this depends on what you want from your holiday or break away.
Cooks Beach is a quiet seaside community in the low season (May – September), however during New Zealand’s summer months (December – February), the population swells significantly as people occupy their holiday homes.
In the shoulder months of March, April, October and November, the area usually sees many international tourists exploring the wider region in Campervans and Motorhomes.
Due to its location, Cooks Beach is relatively sheltered from the open ocean and doesn’t see the big surf or rips that you find on other beaches around this coastline. Because of this, and also due to its sheer size, it offers one of the best swimming beaches in the area. Even with the large number of people in the area over summer, you can always find a great spot to set up for the day. In winter time, the pace slows right down and you can often find you’re the only one on the whole beach!
The Purangi Estuary, at the southern end of the beach, houses the main boat ramp where local boaties launch their boats. There is also a popular family picnic spot with electric BBQs and a playground for the kids. The estuary at the northern end is also a popular spot for people with young families allowing smaller children to potter about in the shallows away from the waves. If you have a kayak you can also explore the caves at the base of Shakespeare Cliff.
Some major attractions within easy distance from Cooks Beach are Hot Water Beach, the start of the Cathedral Cove walkway in Hahei and the passenger ferry across to Whitianga (the main town in the area).
A popular summer event is the annual Cooks Beach Gala, held on the 4th January every year raising money for the local Whenuakite School. Over 100 stalls include local produce, arts and crafts, clothing, food and rides for the kids.
Within strolling distance from the beach are the local Cooks Beach shops – perfect for grabbing some fish and chips, a coffee or an ice cream. For those already “sold” on the area, there is also a local Richardson’s Real Estate office for you to browse the properties for sale in the area.
Other dining establishments include Go Vino, the local bar The Vessel and Mercury Bay Estate where you can enjoy Italian inspired platters or woodfired pizza with spectacular views of Cooks Bay.
A short drive (or walk) to Flaxmill Bay takes you to Eggsentric Cafe with all day offerings from breakfast to dinner as well as live music events (closed during winter) and Cooked, just before you get to Ferry Landing for Mexican fare. For a special night, take the passenger ferry from Ferry Landing to Whitianga and choose from the range of restaurants, cafes and cuisines on offer.
See our dining guide for more info.