Corsair Bay is a lovely little beach in the Lyttelton Harbour that’s ideal for those travelling with their families. With shelly sands, shallow swimming waters, a playground and grassy picnic areas nearby, this beautiful bay is a great go-to for a laid-back weekend in the sun. Make the most of your time there by swimming out to the pontoon and exploring the walking tracks around the beach.
The historic town of Akaroa is a nice place to soak up some coastal vistas while getting up close to some of the rarest marine wildlife you’ll ever see. Beach lovers can head on a dolphin-spotting cruise around the harbour, have a pleasant swim around Daly’s Wharf or learn how to paddle board so they can embark on a nighttime waterfront tour.
Sumner and Scarborough Beach
Two incredibly popular Christchurch beaches, right next to each other. Sumner is the one that garners the most attention from local swimmers, who flock to the sheltered seaside suburb whenever they’re seeking a getaway that’s not too far away from the city. The neighbouring Scarborough beach is a fantastic spot for surfing and fishing. While you’re out exploring, make sure to take a stroll on the beach promenade that connects them.
Venture further up from Sumner and Scarborough, and you’ll come across Te Onepoto/Taylors Mistake. While the origins of its English-language name remain a mystery, this beach is definitely known for its epic surfing conditions and picturesque coastal views. The Godley Head Recreational Reserve is just a stone’s throw away if you want to add some hiking or cycling into the mix.
If you have a car handy, consider spending a day exploring Kaikoura. It only takes two hours and 40 minutes to drive there, and right on arrival, you’ll be greeted by a great selection of rugged beaches filled with interesting wonders. Spend some time dolphin and fur seal spotting or try your hand at surfing in some of the area’s most famous hot spots.
Waikuku is a small town just 35 minutes north of Christchurch. Its sandy beach is a great contender for those who love fishing, kite surfing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming and camping. For a nice contrast from the white sands, make sure to check out the forested walking tracks nearby.