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Waiotahi Beach

Waiotahi Beach is popular during the summer months attracting swimmers, surfers and anglers who use the beach and nearby river mouths year round. The beach changes a great deal between high and low tide and is much safer for swimmers during the high tide when the rips aren't as strong. All beach users need to be careful as it has many natural hazards. Swimmers are advised to stay between the flags and ask Lifeguards for advice.

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Family friendly

A good beach for families with some facilities and is patrolled by Surf Lifeguards over summer months. It does have the potential to be dangerous in poor conditions so ensure your family is well prepared.


Waiotahi Beach is a popular swimming location during the summer months. The beach is a lot safer at high tide as opposed to low tide, when bars, rips and holes are working overtime. Swimmers need to watch out for waves that dump heavily on a shallow bar at low tide and also for the deep trough located just behind this inner bar. The river mouths at each end of the beach are also very dangerous, especially Waiotahi River mouth as this is easily accessed from the main highway.


Waiotahi is a beach break and Waiotahi River mouth often forms good surfing bars just to the west of the Surf Club. The beach will usually have some kind of a wave although they are generally not the best for surfing. The beach still gets a good number of surfers due to the fact the waves are visible from the main road.


There are usually good holes to cast into. Casting beyond the first line of breakers can be productive at both dawn and dusk. The rivers at each end of the beach will commonly have people fishing for flounder up the waterways while casting into the mouths around the changing tide is productive. Waiotahi River mouth crosses the beach close to the Surf Life Saving Club and is very easy to access while Waioeka River mouth requires a thirty-minute walk to reach. Boats can be launched into Waioeka River behind the shopping centre in Opotiki. From here boaties can cross the bar at the end of Waioeka River but this is only recommended around high tide with very small waves and calm conditions.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Horse riding
  • Shell fish gathering


  • Car parking
  • Public toilets


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



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

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Cloudy with Showers
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Average. 4/10
Poor. 1/10



Safety at Waiotahi Beach

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

Patrolled Beach

Patrolling club: Opotiki SLSC
Patrolled Beach
Waiotahi Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Patrol Hours

Waiotahe Beach is patrolled on Sundays and Public Holidays from mid November to mid February. Volunteer lifeguards patrol from 12:00am to 5:00pm Sundays only. A Regional Lifeguard Service operates from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mondays to Fridays over the Christmas / New Year holiday period.


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 Waiotahi 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


Opotiki Surf Life Saving Club is located on Waiotahi Beach 4 kilometres west of Opotiki Township. The beach is 5 kilometres in length and at either end are large river mouths. The beach has a large trough and an outer bar that works during larger swells. The beach is golden sand and attracts good crowds during the summer months. State Highway 35 runs along the western end to around its middle point where Opotiki Surf Life Saving Club is located. This is the most well patronised area of the beach.

Public Transport

Bus: http://www.baybus.co.nz


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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


There is not enough data to generate a recreational risk grade.

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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