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Scarborough Beach

Scarborough is a popular beach for surfing and fishing, while most people prefer to swim at nearby Sumner in the summer time. Facilities at the beach are excellent. The beach is not patrolled by surf lifegards, however Sumner Surf Life Saving Club is located about 500 metres to the north with patrols running throughout the summer months. Swimming is safest at the southern end of the beach while surfing conditions are more favourable at the northern end.

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Family friendly

A good beach for families however limited facilities and can be dangerous in poor conditions.


Scarborough is not one of Christchurchs most popular swimming sites, most people preferring to swim at nearby Sumner during the warmer summer months. There is little beach area at high tide. The safest place to swim is at the southern end of the beach as Sumner Head protects this area from incoming swell. Rip currents produced by the headlands are common. Scarborough is not patrolled by lifeguards, however Sumner Surf Life Saving Club is located 500 metres to the north, and has volunteer and professional guards during the summer period.


Scarborough is one of Christchurchs better surfing spots. It has a beach break and offshore conditions are produced with west to southwest winds. Most swell is from the north andnortheast, and the waves are more favourable towards the north end of the beach. The surf is generally better 3 hours before and 2 hours after high tide.


Surfcasting from the beach is possible, but due to the shallow nature of the sea floor, offshore fishing is generally better. Fishing off the rocky headlands is very popular in this area, and shellfish can be collected also. Scarborough has a cement boat ramp so it is possible to launch a boat.

Activities and facilities


  • Dog walking


  • Boat launching
  • Car parking
  • Changing facilities
  • Food and beverage kiosk
  • Playground
  • Public toilets


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



Unpatrolled Beach
Unpatrolled beach.
Never swim or surf alone.

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Mainly fine with possible showers
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

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



Safety at Scarborough Beach

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

Unpatrolled Beach

Unpatrolled Beach
Unpatrolled beach.
Never swim or surf alone.


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 Scarborough 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


Scarborough is a golden sand beach located on the coastline of the Christchurch suburb of Sumner. It is 1000 metres long and bound by rocky headlands. The beach slopes gently into the ocean. A rock wall runs the length of the beach. Good facilities are located at both ends of the beach and parking is ample.

Public Transport

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


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Beach Water Quality

Many councils 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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