Swimmers urged to take extra caution as Cyclone Hale leaves changed and dangerous beaches in wake

Cyclone Hale may have passed but it's left behind some major changes to our beaches.

Surf Life Saving is urging swimmers to stick to the flags and take extra caution in the water in case their usual swimming spot has become more dangerous.

It might look like the calm after the storm but Cyclone Hale has left significant coastal changes in its wake.

"The lifeguard tower actually got buried in sand, the bottom. We think we've lost a whole step which is actually quite a lot," said Long Bay lifeguard Luci Marra.

At Auckland's Long Bay ridges of sand and shells have been further carved out in the storm.

"The wave height and the wind has definitely increased, which really increases the dangers of the water so it pretty much goes from a flat safe beach, to a much more wavy, rippy beach which is a lot more dangerous," Marra said.

Up the road at Orewa a line of 'warning flags' mark an even more serious landscape change. Sand that was deliberately moved onto the beach to build it up has been completely eroded - leaving behind a steep bank more than two metres high.

"They made a big effort to make a big long beach here, and now it's all gone," said Orewa local Eric Goodhew.

"I've seen it before definitely but not this bad. Definitely not this bad," another said.

At beaches up and down the Coromandel Cyclone Hale left its mark, shifting the sand from dunes and beach accessways, eroding the sand and leaving this lifeguard tower exposed. And that's just the damage we can see.

"Your normal swimming spot, you might have been swimming there for the past couple of weeks and it's been quite pleasant, you might find now that the sand has actually shifted and new inshore holes or troughs have appeared and new rips have opened up as well," said Surf Life Saving NZ's Eastern Region lifesaving manager Chaz Gibbons-Campbell.

So while the good weather has finally allowed for some beach days a reminder to approach with extra caution.