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Last reviewed: Mon, 20 Oct 2014

Christchurch beaches

The coastline of Christchurch has much to offer for both recreational activities and for our wildlife.

Visitor information

New Brighton Pier.

The Christchurch shoreline has many geographical features and each area provides a unique niche for wildlife and specialised coastal plants. It is a dynamic, ever-changing environment with much to see, do and treasure.

The New Brighton Pier
The New Brighton Pier is a great place for strolling, fishing or watching the surfers. Nearby is the New Brighton Library, children's play areas, a paddling pool, shops and cafes.

The original New Brighton Pier, built in 1894, stood on the same site as the present pier. When the original pier was threatened with demolition in 1963 a group of residents formed the Pier and Foreshore Society to try to save it. They were unsuccessful and the pier was demolished in 1964.

On 1 November 1997, the new pier was officially opened. It was the culmination of more than 30 years work by the Pier and Foreshore Society which raised almost $2 million from the community. This was matched by a further $2 million from the Christchurch City Council.

NIWA New Brighton Pier webcam overlooking the Pier 
NIWA New Brighton webcam looking down the beach

South New Brighton Park 
The park offers sheltered picnic areas and easy walks along the estuary margins.

Southshore Spit
Southshore Spit provides important roosting grounds for many wading birds.

Sumner is a great beach for swimming, with ice-cream shops, cafes and restaurants close to the beach.  

Taylors Mistake
Taylors Mistake is very popular with surfers and is a departure point for walks and mountain-bike trails to Godley Head, which has many interesting historic military sites.  

Banks Peninsula beaches
Corsair Bay, off Park Terrace Lyttelton
Rapaki Bay, off Omaru Rd Rapaki
Sandy Bay Beach, off Sandy Bay Rd Governors Bay
Paradise Beach, off Marine Drive Charteris Bay
Quail Island beach
Diamond Harbour beach, off the access road to the wharf
Purau Bay beach, off Purau Ave
Little Akaloa Beach, off the Chorlton Rd
Okains Bay beach, off Okains Bay Rd
Le Bons Bay beach, off Le Bons Bay Rd
Wainui Bay beach, off Wainui Main Rd
Tikao Bay beach, off Tikao Bay Rd
Akaroa Beach, off Rue Lavaud Akaroa

Things to consider:

Metroinfo has up to date bus information.

Shag rock


Coastlines offer a rich diversity of habitats and support abundant and varied wildlife populations. In this area three bird communities are mixed: the true seabirds, coastal birds and those of the estuaries and other coastal wetlands.

Important roosting grounds for many wading birds are provided by the Southshore Sand Spit. A number of the birds here and on the estuary are international migrants from the Arctic. One such migrant is the Eastern bar-tailed godwit.

The sea cliffs from Sumner to Godley Head provide nesting sites for spotted shag colonies. The isolated bays and coves at the base of Godley Head are home to white flippered penguins.

Pests and predators include rabbits, cats, ferrets and rats. Rabbits consume the vegetation, especially young shoots of important sand binders such as the native pingao. The use of poison baits is difficult in some areas where children play and dogs are walked. For specific purposes, for example on pingao, a repellent spray is used to deter rabbit foraging. To help protect the penguin colonies at Godley Head a predator fence has been erected. Control of pests is generally ongoing in this environment.

Plant life

Some specialised plants and plant communities exist in the coastal environment, an environment that many other plants can not survive in.

A mixture of native and introduced species are planted in our coastal areas. Native plants are established rather than exotics, except where coastal protection requires quick and efficient growth, or when exotic species offer better amenity values or have unique characteristics such as tolerance to foot traffic, salt laden winds and sand inundation.

The restoration of the native coastal vegetation environment provides cover, habitat, and food for birds, lizards and insect communities.

Removal of unwanted weeds is ongoing. One of these is boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera). Found in coastal areas and very tolerant of dry soils, Boneseed smothers native plants and becomes a potential fire hazard.

Further information: Dunes Restoration Trust of New Zealand.


Coast Care Park Ranger
Phone: (03) 941 8999

Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust
General Enquiries: Victoria Keene
Phone: (03) 384 3495 ext 31

c/- Mt Pleasant Community Centre
McCormacks Bay Road
Mt Pleasant
Christchurch 8081


Authorising Unit: Transport and Greenspace

Last reviewed: Monday, 20 October 2014

Next review: Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Keywords: beach, beach access, beaches, christchurch, coast, coast care, coast care restoration, coastal, coastal clean up, coastal region, coastline, coasts