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Rapahoe Beach

Rapahoe is a beach which is very suited to most recreational activities when the surf is under 1 meter. The spot is a favourite with locals and visitors of the area in the summer months. There is a camping ground on the beach, but few other public facilities and little parking space available. The beach is patrolled by volunteer lifeguards during the weekends of the summer months.

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Family friendly

This beach has limited facilities and may not be ideal for families. It is patrolled by Surf Lifeguards over summer months but does have the potential to be dangerous in poor conditions so ensure your family is well prepared.


Rapahoe is the most popular and regularly used beach for swimming by the people of the Greymouth area and visitors to the region, mainly during the summer time. Conditions are safest in surf under 1 metre, but the surf can be deceivingly powerful. Conditions can change readily and swimmers should always be aware that dangerous rips and holes can develop readily. Swimmers should avoid bathing too close to the headlands as rip currents are consistent features here. The beach dips suddenly into the ocean particularly at high tide, but tends to flatten out more gradually thereafter. A strong undertow can be a feature in larger seas. The beach is patrolled in the weekends of the summer months by the volunteer lifeguards of Kotuku SLSC. There is no SLSC building on the beach. Rescue equipment is housed in a shed at the camping ground.


Rapahoe has a beach break which is offshore in south to east wind conditions. The best tide to surf on varies with the sand bars. There are usually 2 bars, but more can develop in larger seas, however conditions tend to close out in surf over 2 metres. Rapahoe is a good wave for those learning to surf when the surf is under 1 meter. Better surfers in the area tend to surf off the breakwaters of the Greymouth rivermouth located directly east of the Greymouth township and 12 km south of Rapahoe. To the north of the rivermouth at Cobden is a left bar break and to the south at Blaketown is a right bar break.


Surfcasting is possible at Rapahoe beach, but most fishermen and women in the area tend to fish at the mouth of the Greymouth river which enters the sea immediately west of the Greymouth township. The rocky headlands of Rapahoe are good spots also. Offshore fishing is good, but awareness of changing weather and sea patterns is necessary on this sometime treacherous section of coastline.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Horse riding



The beach is our favourite playground, but it can also be a dangerous place. Learn about the hazards at Rapahoe Beach and be prepared so you and your family can enjoy the sun, sea and sand safely this summer.



Patrolled Beach
Rapahoe Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Mainly fine with possible showers
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Average. 6/10
Average. 5/10



Safety at Rapahoe Beach

We want you to have a great time whilst visiting Rapahoe Beach. But take a moment to learn more about being safe on New Zealand Beaches. More ►

Patrolled Beach

Patrolled Beach
Rapahoe Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Patrol Hours

The volunteer patrol service at this beach will commence in the summer season. More information about the 2018/2019 season (including start/end dates and times) will be available here once they are confirmed.


Click a safety symbol for more information on the risk

4 simple rules to keep you safe

We want you to have a great time whilst visiting Rapahoe Beach. But take a moment to learn more about being safe on New Zealand beaches and looking out for each other. More ►

The Water Safety Code:

  • Be prepared
  • Watch out for yourself and others
  • Be aware of the dangers
  • Know your limits
DIAL 111 in the event of an emergency


Rapahoe is a black sand/shingle beach located 12 km north of Greymouth. It is about 1500 metres in length and has rocky headlands at either end. The bay has a small river mouth opening into the ocean to the south, and a small rocky outcrop to the north with a number of smaller bays not accessible by foot. The beach initially has a sharp decline into the ocean past the high tide mark, but tends to level out somewhat after this. There are no public facilities on the beach. Rapahoe is backed by hill country, a small number of residential homes and a camping ground. Rapahoe is the most popular bathing spot for the people of Greymouth. There is little parking area at the beach.

Public Transport

Sorry, we have no public transport information available for this beach.


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Beach Water Quality

The Overall Recreation Risk is a guide to give a general picture of water quality at a site. Updated annually, it is calculated from bacteria (enterococci) data collected over the last three years. The Overall Recreation Risk indicator is a precautionary approach to managing health risk and is not designed to represent health risk on a particular day. As such, a site can have an Overall Recreation Risk of ‘Caution’ but still be suitable for swimming some of the time.

Overall recreation risk

The long term risk status based on three years of data

Low Risk

Between 1 and 5% risk of illness

Many councils also provide the results of their weekly monitoring. This lets people know what the most recent bacteria levels were. Remember, even sites with low risk can be unsuitable to swim at from time to time and we recommend that you avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall.

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