Cooks Beach

ABOUT cooks beach

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Cooks Beach is a 3km long sandy beach located in Mercury Bay on the stunning Coromandel Peninsula. Close to Ferry Landing, Front Beach and Flaxmill Bay, it is the longest stretch of beach in the area and is framed by beautiful tidal estuaries at each end. 

The 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. More Local History >>

Over the years, Cooks Beach has become a popular holiday destination due to its close proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga (all within a 2.5 hour drive). Normally a quiet seaside community in the low season, during the summer months (December - February), the population of Cooks Beach swells dramatically as people occupy their holiday homes. In the shoulder months of March and November, the area also sees many international tourists exploring the wider region in Campervans and Motorhomes. Some major drawcards within easy distance to Cooks Beach are Hot Water Beach, the start of the Cathedral Cove walkway in Hahei and the passenger ferry across to Whitianga.

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 the 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!

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.

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. 

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.

Aside from private holiday house rentals, there is limited motel style accommodation in the Cooks Beach area. Flaxmill Accommodation offers some of the only all-year round accommodation in the nearby area, from fully self contained Houses and Cottages to Sleeper Cabins and a boutique Campground for tents, Motorhomes and Caravans.  

snap shot ON cooks beach...

  • Located on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula in Mercury Bay
  • 3kms of sheltered sandy swimming beach
  • General store, hardware shop, takeaway, bottle store and restaurant
  • Framed by Shakespeare Cliff at one end and Purangi Estuary at the other
  • Tidal estuaries at each end provide shallow spots for wading or gentle body surfing
  • Great picnic areas with BBQs, playgrounds, seating areas and public toilets
  • Beautiful walks through to Lonely Bay, Flaxmill Bay and further for the more adventurous!
  • Near popular tourist attractions and the passenger ferry to Whitianga
Map of Cooks Beach View from Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach Purangi Estuary in Cooks Beach at dusk Historical sign at Cooks Landing, Cooks Beach Cooks Beach in mid winter

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