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Sumner Beach


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Sumner Beach

Sumner is a popular spot for many recreational activities for the people of Christchurch and visitors to the area, particularly in summer when the number of people in the area swells considerably. The facilities on and around the beach are excellent. There are hazardous rip currents to be wary of, and lifeguards patrol the area during the summer weekends and during the week over the school holiday break. The safest conditions are produced with surf under 1 metre.

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Family friendly

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


Swimming is a popular activity at Sumner beach, particularly in the summer time. The sand is golden and slopes gently into the sea. Conditions are generally safe under 1 metre of surf. Sumner beach usually has two bars. Swimming is safest in front of the Surf Life Saving Club as the river mouth to the west and the rocky headland to the east produce consistent rip currents to be wary of. Particularly on the outgoing tide a channel tends to form to the north of the Surf club, and a north going rip travels along to the river mouth and out to sea. Also a current tends to take water out past Cave Rock Headland to the south.The beach is patrolled during the summer months by volunteer guards in the weekends and professional guards in the school holiday week period.


Sumner beach has a river bar break which is offshore in west to southest winds. The best tide to surf on varies due to the sandbars but is usually best on the half tide. The best swell is from the north and northeast. Consistently favourable conditions are not a feature.


Cave Rock Headland to the east is a popular spot for fishing as is the river mouth to the west. Surf casting is possible but due to the shallow nature of the ocean floor, offshore fishing is generally better.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Wind/kite surfing


  • Car parking
  • Food and beverage kiosk
  • Public toilets
  • Shower


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



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

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Poor. 1/10
Poor. 3/10



Safety at Sumner Beach

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

Patrolled Beach

Patrolling club: Sumner Surf Life Saving Club
Patrolled Beach
Sumner Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Patrol Hours

Sumner Beach will be patrolled by Surf Lifeguards every Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday from 11:00 to 17:00 between 12 November 2021 until 13 March 2022. Weekday patrols from 10:00 to 18:00 start from 14 December 2021 until 28 January 2022.


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 Sumner 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


Sumner Beach is located 10 km southeast of Christchurch city. To the west the beach is bound by the Avon and Heathcote Rivermouth, and to the east is the headland of Cave rock, which separates Sumner from Scarborough beach. The beach has golden sand and is about 400 metres in length. Sumner Surf Life Saving Club is located at the midpoint of this stretch of sand. A small rocky outcrop to the west exposes a further 400 meters of beach at low tide. Sumner beach is backed by residential homes, motels, cafes and restaurants. The beach has good facilities.

Public Transport

Bus: Use the No 3 bus service (Avonhead/Sumner) http://www.metroinfo.co.nz/timetable_3.html


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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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