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Castlecliff Beach

Castlecliff Beach is very popular for numerous beach activities. Swimming is the most popular activity during the summer months. Fishing and surfing are also popular but these beach users tend to head towards the south end of the beach adjacent to the north mole of the Wanganui Rivermouth. Castlecliff Beach gets regular swell and the beach has numerous rips and holes. Beach users should swim in the patrolled area and ask for advice from Lifeguards.

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Family friendly

This beach is well suited for families, make sure your family is prepared for the beach conditions, the beach is patrolled by Surf Lifeguards during the summer months.


Behind Castlecliff beach there is large residential area and this forms the base for beachgoers. The beach is exposed to swell and can be very dangerous for swimming if waves are over one metre in size. Wanganui Surf Life Saving Club patrol Castlecliff beach during weekends over the summer months and full time over the primary school summer holidays. Swimmers should follow instructions from the lifeguards who know the beach and its hazards. Castlecliff beach has many rips and holes along its shore. There is generally a safe swimming area directly in front of the Surf Life Saving Club with rips and holes to either side of this sand bar. Beyond the first sand bar there is a longshore trough that runs the length of the beach and beyond this is a second bar. Swimmers need to be careful of the rivermouth at the southern end and also the changes in the beach between high and low tide.


Surfing at Castlecliff's main beach is not popular. Waves close out on the outer bar and then flatten out before breaking on the inner sand bar. Surfers still use the beach but surfing is much more common one kilometre to the south at the north mole where there is a good beach break that is surfable on all tides. There is a good left hand wave in the rivermouth that breaks well in large onshore swells. It is only advisable to surf this wave on an incoming tide, as the current is very strong and dangerous on an outgoing tide.


Castlecliff beach is good for surfcasting on any tide and casts can reach good areas of deep water. One kilometre to the south on the north mole of the Wanganui Rivermouth is very popular for fishing and will usually have numerous people fishing from it. The north mole is best fished on an incoming tide and is recognised as one of the best red-cod spots in New Zealand during winter. Fishermen need to be very careful when fishing off the north mole and it is not advised during large swells.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Horse riding
  • Motorbikes/4WD's
  • Wind/kite surfing


  • Car parking
  • Playground
  • Public toilets
  • Shower


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



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

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Mainly clear with some cloud
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Average. 6/10
Good. 9/10



Safety at Castlecliff Beach

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

Patrolled Beach

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

Patrol Hours

Castlecliff and Kai-Iwi Beaches are NOT CURRENTLY patrolled by Surf Lifeguards in Winter months. In an emergency call 111 and ask for Police assistance. Surf Lifeguard patrols will resume in November 2021.


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 Castlecliff 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


Castlecliff Beach is located six kilometres from Wanganui city centre. Although still some distance from town, the beach is backed by a large residential area and has many facilities. The main beach area is backed by a large car parking area which is also the location of Wanganui Surf Life Saving Club. There are toilets, changing rooms, a playing field, children's playground, phone, picnic area and walking tracks. The beach is iron sand and large driftwood deposits are common. One kilometre to the south of the main beach area is the northern mole to the Wanganui Rivermouth. There is a 200 metre section of beach that has been cleared in front of the car park. To either side of the car park there are large, well established sand dunes.


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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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