Franklin is a very lucky region!
We are pretty close to most beaches (I think that I just MAY have mentioned that before 🙂 ) We have the best of both coasts – the white sands and calmer seas of the East coast for easy swimming (such as Maraetai, Kawakawa Bay and also there’s Kaiaua, part of the seabird coast as well).
The East coast waters can also be reached on the amazing Awhitu Peninsula at the Awhitu Regional Park. The beach here is very calm and brilliant for families with young children. The park has the added attraction of having a camp ground and even when there are zillions of vehicles in the car park of the park, the beach is big enough to not be on top of one another – in fact most of the time, you have to wonder just WHERE the people are!!
Clarks Beach is another glorious beach to take advantage of, as do many boaties. The Clarks Beach camp ground and Holiday park is right at the waters edge and also have bikes and pedal cars for hire (that’s if you are looking for extra things to fill your day!)
Orua Bay and Big Bay are also white sand beaches that have great swimming opportunites (accommodation also available in the form of both campgrounds and cabins as with Clarks beach)
The “wild” west coast is where not only swimmers, but also, the surfies, (those keen on surf boarding) head to. Great black sand beaches like Port Waikato and Kariotahi.
Hamiltons Gap is a real surf beach – not sign posted so I guess you need to know someone who knows where it is (head along the Awhitu Road and keep an eye out on the left, for West Coast Road and, hey presto – yu’re there!)
As noted on a googled site by someone who’s been – Hamilton Gap is another ‘secret’ little place that most Aucklands don’t know about. While jafa’s (slang for aucklanders) crowd murawai, piha and karekare beaches, hamiltons gap stays relatively empty. There are massive dunes and wierd clay structures. You can even drive on the beach if you like. I love the fact that its only an hours drive from Auckland.Black Sand beach. You can see Manukau heads from the distance from there.
If you aren’t planning on staying a night or two at any of the beaches, then take a picninc and have a fun time exploring whichever beach that takes your fancy. They will all have something to offer your particular interest – whether that be swimming, surfing, or exploring somewhere a little out of the way and yet close enough for a day trip from the CBD of Auckland!!