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Kaikoura Beach

Kaikoura beach is used for swimming mainly in the summer months. It is safest down towards the southern end of the beach and when the surf is under 1 metre. The beach is not patrolled by a Surf Life Saving Club. The region has excellent fishing and there are some good consistent surfing spots up and down the coast, although not on Kaikoura main beach. Facilities and access to Kaikoura beach are good. The Kaikoura area is a popular area for tourists with whale and dolphin watching tours, and seal colonies popular attractions.

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Family friendly

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


Swimming is possible on the entire stretch of this beach, however most people tend to swim towards the southern end as it has more sand, a more gentle incline into the ocean and less swell reaching the shore due to the protection from the southern headland. Elsewhere along the beach swimmers need to be aware of the rocks in the bay and the rip currents associated around them. The steep incline into the ocean means in large seas the undertow can be strong. Swimming is safest under one metre of surf. Kaikoura beach is not patrolled by a Surf Life Saving club.


The main beach is not a popular spot for surfing in Kaikoura as the steep incline into the ocean means swell tends to dump on the shoreline. However there are a number of excellent surfing locations on the Kaikoura coastline with some excellent point and beach breaks. One example is Mangamaunu, 16 kilometres north of Kaikoura which is a very good, consistent right point break, offshore in southwest to northwest winds. It is good on all tides.


Kaikoura is well known for its seafood. Offshore fishing is best in this area, although surfcasting off the beach and rocky headlands is possible. There are numerous reefs in the bay where Kaikouras famous crayfish are captured.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Motorbikes/4WD's
  • Scuba diving
  • Shell fish gathering


  • Boat launching
  • Car parking
  • Food and beverage kiosk
  • Public toilets


The beach is our favourite playground, but it can also be a dangerous place. Learn about the hazards at Kaikoura 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

Sunny with some cloud
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Good. 7/10
Good. 7/10



Safety at Kaikoura Beach

We want you to have a great time whilst visiting Kaikoura 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 Kaikoura 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


Kaikoura beach is located immediately in front of the Kaikoura township. It is 5000 metres in length and is largely shingle, with some golden sand towards the southern end. It has quite a steep slope into the ocean. A small river enters the sea at the town centre and to the south of this are 2 rocky extensions into the ocean. There are a number of visible rocks and reefs in the bay. The beach is bound by a headland to the south and to the north the beach continues into the Kaikoura coastline. Access is via a 2000 metre stretch of road in front of the township. The beach has good facilities.


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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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