Navigate Up
Sign In

Celebrate summer - Whakanui i a raumati

This page contains information about information to help you have a fun and safe summer season.
Updated: 22/01/2019 3:08 p.m.

The best kind of summer is one everyone enjoys and looks back on with a smile. 

At Council we contribute to that outcome with a few rules that keep people safe, by upping some of our services, providing a 24-hour call service, supporting fun activities, and providing parks and reserves for people to enjoy.

Here is all you need to know about camping in public places, cars, motorbikes, dogs and horses on beaches, alcohol safety, rubbish pickups and other fun stuff.


If you want to take your horse for a swim at the beach, make sure it is early morning or late evening and make sure it is in an area where horses are allowed.

Bream Bay has two year-round horse exercise areas and two areas which are horse-free (no horses) year-round. These are well sign-posted at the access-points to the beach.

Have a look at the Public Places Bylaw page on our website, it has information about nine beach and estuary conservation areas in the District. 

Remember: horses are banned on beaches between 9am and 5pm from 20 December to 31 January and there are nine no-horse areas in the District.


Feeling like taking your dog for a swim or for a walk along the beach? Just remember to do it before 9am or after 5pm between 20 December and 31 January at most beaches in the District, and to stay away from areas where dogs are banned.

For all-day outdoor exercise Bream Bay has two year-round dog exercise beach areas. These are well sign-posted.  There is also a dog park at William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island, where dogs can run off the leash, play with other dogs and enjoy play equipment.

To keep wildlife safe, dogs are banned year-round from nine beach and estuary conservation areas in the District, and from all bush reserves. Many of these places are habitats for kiwi and other endangered birds. 

Keep an eye out for the signs about them.


  • clean up after your dog and follow all the usual good safety measures
  • don't leave dogs in cars, the temperature can rise to a terminal point in a very short time even when windows are cracked
  • always take water and a bowl for the dog to drink from
  • breaching a dog control bylaw can result in a fine of $300.

To find out more about the Dog Management Bylaw go to

Driving on beaches

To help keep everyone safe on our beaches, Council controls vehicles on beaches in the Bream Bay area through a Bylaw.

Council’s aim is for everyone to have a safe long summer, including those driving vehicles on beaches. Key to safety is remembering that some beaches are spaces with people in vehicles as well as people fishing, swimming or just enjoying being on the beach. If they collide, everyone loses so it is important to know the rules and follow them.

  • All road rules apply on beaches
  • The beach belongs to everyone – share with care.
  • Drive slowly and carefully near other beach users.
  • Check speed limits - most beaches are 30km p/h.
  • Watch out for vehicles, and supervise children closely.
  • Drive to the conditions – they can change rapidly.
  • Keep vehicles off dunes.
  • Avoid shore birds and other wildlife.

If we each follow the rules and drive safely, we should all have a safe summer. If someone is being unsafe report it to *555.

Remember: vehicles are banned in two locations at Bream Bay, in front of Marsden Village and in front of the Ruakaka Surf Club. These are well sign-posted at Tip Road and Rama Road.

Camping in Public Places

Our bylaw allows campers whose vehicles are not self-contained to stay in 18 areas, and tenting is allowed in six of those. People who use these sites must move on after one night.

Each of these places has a 24/7 public toilet and a designated site for vehicles (and tents), to make sure there is room for other users.

Vehicles that have certified self-containment systems are allowed to stay in the rest of the public places in the District (except for the prohibited sites) and can stay at each location for up to three nights.

We’ll be keeping an eye out

Between 20 December and Waitangi Day our enforcement team will be monitoring our  priority sites, which are mainly coastal, to ensure people are aware of the rules and to move campers on if required.

Visits will be either early morning or late evening to support compliance.

Remember: camping is prohibited in 38 places, make sure you don’t stay at one of them! They are sign posted, and more information is available on our website.

Summer Safe Carparks

For the ninth year in a row our capable and friendly Summer Safe ambassadors will be keeping cars safe at carparks at popular beaches, waterfalls, caves and other holiday adventure spots.

Every weekend and on most public holidays between 1 December 2018 and 22 April 2019 volunteers will staff the carparks at Abbey Caves, A.H. Reed Memorial Park,  Parihaka, Whangārei Falls (Otuihau), Whale Bay, Ocean Beach, Ruakaka and Waipu Cove. 

They will be showing visitors the friendly, safety conscious and caring side of the District, promoting other tourist destinations about Whangārei, the other Summer Safe Carparks that have CITY SAFE ambassadors, i-SITE's located at the Town Basin or Tarewa Park and fundraising for their  own organisations.

These organisations include the Blue Club (police volunteers), T.S. Diomede Navy Cadets, Onerahi Lions Club,  Hatea Lions Club, Tikipunga Community Trust (TikiPride), Tutukaka Coast Promotions, Ngunguru School Year 7 & 8 Students, Whangarei Heads Volunteer Surf Lifesaving Patrol, Ruakaka Surf Lifesaving Patrol, Camp Waipu Cove  and the Bream Bay Beach Ambassadors. 

They will be supplying visitors with the safety message, Hide IT Lock IT Report IT, visitor handouts, information on camping in public places, Whangārei’s walking and cycling trails, SunSmart Information, tsunami information and sunscreen.

Easily identifiable, their brightly coloured safety vests will only be outshone by the smiles and the sun. For more information, visit


In July 2017 Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) took responsibility for declaring and administering rural and urban fire seasons, and issuing any associated permits. For information on our fire season status go to

Please keep an eye and ear out for any advertising of fire restrictions or bans.

When it rains

With summer comes heat and sunshine, but in Northland it can also bring heavy rain and storms that can wash contaminants off the land, into storm water systems, streams, rivers and the sea.

If you can’t see your toes when you are in knee deep water, the water is probably not clean enough for swimming. Keep out of the water until it is clear (generally five days after the storm ends) and don’t consume shellfish or fish caught in the storm area.

Clean swimming water

Check out the website This online tool means Northland residents and visitors can enjoy our rivers, lakes, and beaches with confidence this summer.

Developed by Land Air Water Aotearoa, this website shows the most up-to-date water quality information for 60 sites across our region. It comes two weeks after Northland Regional Council staff started their weekly summer-season water quality monitoring. Each week they collect samples from 60 sites across the region and send them to Whangarei District Council’s laboratory for water quality testing.

On LAWA’s ‘Can I swim here?’ site, places where bacteria levels are too high for swimming are marked in red and places where the levels are safe are marked in green.

The LAWA website contains valuable information for swimmers on other swim-smart things to look out for before taking a dip. This includes advice on checking if the water is clean and clear, avoiding swimming for  two days after heavy rainfall, and looking out for other possible hazards.

LAWA is a partnership between councils, Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and Massey University and has been supported by the Tindall Foundation.

Conserve water

Remember rainfall in summer can include droughts as well as deluges. Homes in remote and rural locations  often depend on water collected from roofs, stream or bore. Make conserving water a daily habit and the water supply should last longer.

Make sure your water is clean

If you are using rooftop, bore, stream or other private water supplies you will already be very cautious about making sure it lasts. We recommend you also make sure it is safe to drink. You can do that by calling Council and asking how to get water tested.

If you are on the metered town supply, remember that conserving water can mean immediate cost savings, and can ward off water restrictions.

Alcohol Control Bylaw 

For many, alcohol is a traditional part of relaxation and celebration, but overindulging and failing to eat sensibly when drinking can lead to a wide array of problems.  Council has an Alcohol Control Bylaw that aims to keep the community safe.

Alcohol Bans

Under the bylaw, drinking alcohol in public places is banned on all beaches and public land within 300 metres of the coast (including Whangārei Harbour) and Whangārei’s central business district.

There are also bans in place for six suburbs within the urban boundaries of the District as well as six coastal villages. Have a look at our Alchohol Control Bylaw on our webpage for more information.

Holiday rubbish and recycling collections


Extra coastal area collections start on 4 January 2019 and will continue until 9 February 2019.

Only beach settlement areas will have a second collection, as in past years.

Northern Coast areas:

  • usual collection on Monday
  • second collection Friday in beach settlement areas.

Bream Bay Coast:

  • usual collection on Tuesday
  • second collection on Saturday in beach settlement areas.

If you live on a rubbish collection route:

Please ensure you have your bags and bin at the kerbside by 7.30am on rubbish day. The bin will be emptied and returned to the kerbside – take it in and start filling for your next collection

If you DO NOT live on a rubbish collection route:

Please take your rubbish bags and recycling bin to the nearest intersection with a collection route by 7:30am on rubbish day. Alternatively, you can take them to your nearest transfer station.


What CAN I put in my recycle bin?

ONLY these items go in your recycling bin:


  • Whole glass bottles and jars only. 
  • Rinse and remove lids and place in your rubbish.


  • Only plastics numbered 1 and 2 from your kitchen, bathroom and laundry
  • Rinse and squash them.
  • Remove lids and place in your rubbish.


  • Drink cans, food cans, clean aluminium foil plates and empty aerosol containers
  • Wash cans, push their lids in and flatten them.
  • Flatten aluminium drink cans.

Too much for the bin? 

If you have more than you can get in the bin, take it to the transfer station or hold it back until the next collection.

Don’t overflow your bin. If you do we might not take it because it may be too heavy or likely to spill. Please consider the environment and help stop litter being blown away on a windy day.

What about Paper and Cardboard?

Place it beside your bin.

Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, envelopes, flattened cardboard boxes, card, shoe boxes, old phone books. Make sure that cardboard is flattened and folded or cut so that it is no larger than the size of the top of the bin. You can bundle your paper and cardboard in a small bundle and tie it up or you can put it in a plastic shopping bag. Please don’t put out paper or cardboard which is contaminated.

What CAN’T I recycle?

The following items are NOT recyclable and belong in your rubbish bag:

  • milk & juice cartons & food wrappings
  • window glass, light bulbs, crystal, ceramics/pottery, drinking glasses, mirrors and broken glass
  • plastic numbered 3 to 7 - these are not being recycled in Whangārei
  • dirty recyclables
  • nappies
  • containers used for engine oil, fuel, solvents, paints, poisons etc
  • containers over 5 litres
  • plastic bags (except where used to contain your paper or cardboard recycling)
  • sharp objects of any material - these must be well wrapped before you put them in your rubbish bag
  • engine parts.



Whangarei District Council owns this website and the information, images and photographs in it are subject to copyright. No portion may be copied or republished without prior permission of Whangarei District Council. We have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and reliable information. The use of any information is at the website visitor’s own risk and discretion.