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Waikanae Beach is very popular and is located only one kilometre from the centre of Gisborne City. There is a motor camp directly behind the beach. Waikanae Beach is home to the Gisborne Waikanae Wainui Surf Life Saving Club. Waikanae Beach is popular for many activities and is reasonably safe and swimmers should swim between the flags. The beach is patrolled during weekends over summer and school holidays by professional Lifeguards.

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Family friendly

This beach is great for families large and small, with typically small waves and great facilities. It is patrolled by Surf Lifeguards during the summer months.


Waikanae Beach is very popular for swimmers as it is only one kilometre from Gisborne City shopping centre. Waikanae Beach is quite safe for swimming when swells are small, but rips and holes can form if the surf is in excess of one metre. Waikanae has a low swash gradient and swimmers can go a distance offshore before they reach head height water. Waikanae Beach is safer for swimming than Midway Beach.


Waikanae Beach can have good waves but surfers tend to head closer to Midway Beach where the waves have more push and size. When the swell is large in town, Waikanae Beach becomes very popular for surfing as it is easier to get out the back of the break.


The beach has a very low swash gradient and surf casting from the beach will only reach shallow water. The nearby breakwater is a very popular fishing location and many varieties of fish are found here. However, fishing from the breakwater is dangerous.

Activities and facilities


  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Dog walking
  • Shell fish gathering
  • Wind/kite surfing


  • 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 Waikanae and be prepared so you and your family can enjoy the sun, sea and sand safely this summer.



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

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Cloud with possible showers
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Average. 6/10
Average. 4/10



Safety at Waikanae

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

Patrolled Beach

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

Patrol Hours

Waikanae Beach is 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 Waikanae. 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


Waikanae Beach is located 1300 metres north of Midway Surf Life Saving Club and 200 metres south of the port of Gisborne. The beach is golden sand with pine trees dotted along the foreshore. The beach faces directly south and is sheltered by the breakwater to the north and Young Nicks Head to the south. Waikanae Beach gets southerly swells and is usually about .5 metres in size. There is a motor camp located directly behind the Surf Life Saving Club that gets full during the summer holiday period.

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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