Looking for vast sand dunes to clamber up and roll down before heading home exhausted with sand between your toes? This is the spot.
Choose your own personal playground from acres of rolling sand dunes stretching beside the Waikato River as it exits into the wild Tasman Sea.
A great spot to start your adventures from is Maraetai Bay Reserve. The Reserve is on your right before you reach Port Waikato so keep an eye out for the sign.
There are picnic spots galore near the car park or grab a blanket and head into the dunes.
On a wild day expect some serious wind swept action but on calmer days the Reserve is a good launching spot for kayaks to paddle around the shallow waters.
Horses are welcome but no trail bikes or high performance quads.
To make your outing even more entertaining for the kids, there are fossils at Port Waikato. So fossickers can get stuck in looking for ancient remnants around the cliffs and coastal rocks.
Grade: Easy. Lots of hot black-sand! Bring shoes.
Time: Allow a couple hours to explore the beach, play in the small lagoon and have a picnic. More if you head out to the main beach.
Food outlets: A few options including dairies.
Getting there: Head west from Pokeno through Tuakau. Follow the Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Road. It’s 28km from Tuakau.
Dogs: On leads
Toilets: There are public toilets near the car parks.
Important: Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat! This beach has strong rips and currents, large waves and deep holes. This beach is only patrolled when the yellow and red flags are displayed by the lifeguards. Always swim between the flags.