A Guide to Wellington's Beaches and Bays

Oriental Bay
Oriental Bay | © Phillip Capper/Flickr
Thalita Alves

If you’re visiting Wellington in the summer, you’ll absolutely fall in love with its scenic beaches and bays. New Zealand’s cool capital city has plenty of harbourside vistas to share with locals and tourists alike. As you dive into this the capital city’s best destinations, make sure to check out the eight main coastal attractions in your surroundings.

Lyall Bay

There’s something for everyone in Lyall Bay. Soft sand for the chilled out sunbathers, Pacific waters for the swimmers and surfers – there’s even an Art Deco building nearby if you feel like doing a bit off-shore sightseeing. The beach’s south coast location invites you spectate as the South Island ferry makes its trip in and out of the city. If you’re going to plunge into the ocean, make sure to wear a wet suit – even on a warm day, those water temperatures can get quite nippy.

Lyall Bay

Oriental Bay

Oriental Bay

Days Bay

Venture across the Wellington harbour to get to Days Bay – the journey can be done on the road, or by ferry (the latter will definitely be more memorable). The Dominion Post Ferry leaves from the Queen’s Wharf downtown and will take you across to Days Bay in 20 minutes. There, you’ll be able to partake in variety of water sports and you can even explore the nearby Eastbourne village.

Days Bay Wharf

Makara Beach

Want to add a bit of hiking to your summery pursuits? Then Makara Beach is the place for you. Pass through Wellington’s western suburbs to encounter this hidden gem. You’ll be surrounded by undeveloped stretches of sand, plenty of greenery, and 6km (3.7 miles) worth of hiking trails to follow.

Makara Beach

Island Bay

A smooth sailing paradise, Island Bay is the perfect spot for boat-watching and snorkelling. The serene anchorage attracts quite a few boaties to this harbour – but only for a scenic trip, as fishing is strictly prohibited. If you’re a keen diver, some companies offer guided tours of the local shipwrecks and reefs. Otherwise, just follow the water buoys to make the most of the Island Bay Snorkel Trail.

Island Bay

Red Rocks Beach

Let’s make one thing clear: this beach is not for sitting. Red Rocks is at the farthest end of Wellington’s southern coast, and is a popular place to walk around on a summer’s day. The jagged shoreline is ideal for hikers wanting a unique adventure – it’s lined with red rocks, a scenic reserve, and a seal colony you can visit.

Te Kopahou Reserve, Red Rocks Beach, Wellington

Scorching Bay

Scorching Bay is a small, intimate beach on Wellington’s east coast. Rocky plains on the northernmost side gives the bay just the right amount of ruggedness to contrast with its family-friendly grassy plains and sandy stretches. Scorching Bay is well-served with cafés nearby and there’s even a playground for children to enjoy.

Scorching Bay, Wellington

Petone Beach

Petone is a local suburb, easily reached by bus, car or ferry. The beach itself stretches from this area right up to the mouth of the Hutt River. Because of its length, Petone Beach is a popular jogging spot, as well as being a lovely place for a lie-in. There’s a shopping district within walking distance, and the nearby Settler’s Museum is a good place to get a feel for local history, too.

Petone Beach

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
Edit article