Best Beaches in Christchurch

The Top 8 Beaches in Christchurch You Never Knew Existed

As avid beachgoers, we made our way around Christchurch, looking for the ultimate beaches in and near town. But beach after beach, we only found ourselves underwhelmed. Crowds jostled for elbow room, the water was less than inviting, and the vibes weren’t quite what we’d envisioned.

However, as we spent more time in Christchurch, we’ve come across some real Instagram-worthy beaches. So here are all our top picks of the best beaches in Christchurch, New Zealand.

1. Sumner Beach


Sumner Beach is a dream for beach bums. The sand is soft and fine, perfect for building epic sandcastles or sinking your toes into for a spot of relaxation. 

The water is generally calm, making it a safe place for a dip, especially with the Sumner Surf Lifesaving Club keeping a watchful eye during the summer.

But when the conditions are right, this spot transforms into a surfer’s paradise. Beginners can catch gentle rollers near the shore, while more experienced surfers can tackle the waves further out.

Take a stroll along the Sumner Promenade, grab a bite at one of the many cafes, or explore the unique rock formations like Cave Rock (remember, explore this at low tide only!).

Pro Tip: Head down early to snag the best spot on the sand. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also be treated to a spectacular sunrise over the ocean—it’s totally worth the early wake-up call!

2. Scarborough Beach


Scarborough Beach is a surfer’s dream, especially for longboarders and beginners. 

The waves are gentle and clean, perfect for catching your first wave or cruising on a longboard. Plus, the beach offers both right and left-hand breaks, catering to all stances. 

There’s a paddling pool near the beach too to keep the little ones entertained for hours. And a playground and picnic area with public BBQs provide the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon.  

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, head towards the eastern end of the beach, near the breakwater. This spot is often a little less busy and offers some of the best waves.

3. New Brighton Beach


First things first, the beach itself is a beauty. Stretching for kilometres, it offers plenty of space to spread out your towel and soak up the sun. 

The waves are generally rolling and manageable, perfect for a refreshing dip or learning to surf. Feeling peckish? There are cafes and kiosks along the beachfront to keep you fueled.

Take a stroll out to the end of the pier for epic ocean views and a chance to spot some fishermen reeling in their catches. You can even try your hand at sea fishing off the pier (gear rentals are available nearby).

Pro Tip: New Brighton knows how to keep the little ones entertained. The upgraded playground near the pier has musical toys, slides, swings, and more. There’s also a splash pad for hot days, keeping the cool factor high.

4. South New Brighton Beach


Unlike the bustling New Brighton Beach, South New Brighton has a more relaxed atmosphere. 

In summer, it’s ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. When the weather cools down, it’s a great spot for long walks, beachcombing for treasures, or just enjoying the crisp sea air.

Pro Tip: South New Brighton Beach borders the Waimakariri Estuary, a wildlife haven. Keep an eye out for fluttering flocks of birds like the royal spoonbill and the wrybill plover. You might even spot a playful seal basking on the rocks.

5. North Beach


North Beach deserves some serious recognition. Whether you’re building sandcastles with the kids or reading a book with the calming sound of waves crashing in the background, you can do it at North Beach.

North Beach is also known for its consistent surf. Grab your board and hit the waves, or if you’re a beginner, take a lesson from one of the local surf schools. 

For non-surfers, watching skilled surfers catch waves is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Pro Tip: North Beach isn’t too far from the Christchurch Airport, making it a convenient option for a quick beach fix before or after your flight.

6. Corsair Bay


If you’re looking for a calm, family-friendly spot with beautiful scenery, then Corsair Bay might just be your perfect match.

Tucked away near Lyttelton, Corsair Bay isa great deal for young kids who can splash around safely or for those who prefer a relaxing paddle.

All you have to do is pack a basket, snag a spot on the sand, and let the good times roll. There are handy picnic tables, toilets, and even a playground to keep the little ones entertained too.

Pro Tip: You can extend your beach trip by strolling along the coastal walkway that connects to neighbouring Magazine Bay and Cass Bay.

7. Taylor’s Mistake


Christchurch isn’t all about punting (flat-bottom boating) on the Avon River, you know. Head south a bit, and you’ll be greeted by the epic surf and chilled vibes of Taylor’s Mistake. 

Taylor’s Mistake is synonymous with catching waves in Christchurch. The waves can get pretty gnarly, but there are also mellow stretches perfect for learning.

And the views are stunning. Taylor’s Mistake boasts gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the dramatic cliffs of Godley Head.

Don’t you feel like getting pummelling by waves? This beach is great for sunbathing, swimming (when the surf’s calm), building sandcastles, or picnicking with a view. There’s even a scenic walking track that takes you up along the cliffs for some breathtaking panoramas.

Pro Tip: Head to Taylor’s Mistake early in the morning. You’ll be rewarded with glassy waves, a peaceful sunrise over the ocean, and maybe even a glimpse of some playful dolphins.

8. Waikuku Beach


If you’re in Christchurch and itching for some beach time, look no further than Waikuku Beach. A 30-minute cruise north of the city is a dream for surfers, swimmers, and anyone who digs a laid-back vibe.

Waikuku’s claim to fame is its awesome surf. The waves here are known for being gentle enough to learn on, and there’s even a surf school to get you riding those rollers in no time.

Unlike some of the more crowded Christchurch beaches, Waikuku offers a peaceful escape. Perfect for spreading out your beach towel, soaking up the sun, and building sandcastles that would make Michelangelo jealous.

Pro Tip: The nearby Ashley River estuary is a haven for feathered friends. Keep your eyes peeled for herons, ducks, and even the occasional cheeky penguin taking a break from the ocean.