Safety protocols and closures are in place for Council facilities. Due to Covid-19 social distancing rules, the extraordinary Council meeting (Three Waters) on Monday 27 September will be closed to the public. Instead the meeting will be livestreamed on our Council Facebook page: facebook.com/WhangareiDCFind out more about our safety protocols:
Whangārei has a reputation as a city of beaches. It offers a range of picturesque and safe places to swim, from the grand scale ocean beaches to small sandy bays on both sides of the city.
The locations of beaches and coastal facilities in the district can be found in our GIS Maps online tool.
Beaches and Coastal Facilities GIS map
You can check whether shellfish harvesting is safe in your area on the Ministry of Primary Industries website.
Shellfish biotoxin alerts (Ministry of Primary Industries website)
The Northland Regional Council conducts water quality tests through the summer at some of our popular beaches. Follow the link below to the Northland Regional Council website for further information.
Swimming water quality
The harbour offers good fishing. Scallop diving is a popular pastime during the open season.
Two marine reserves have been established in the harbour. One at Motukaroro Island near the harbour entrance at Reotahi. It is very popular as a snorkelling spot in the summer. The other is further up the harbour at Waikaraka.
Both are well marked and all marine life in them is protected. Please respect the no fishing rule.
Whangārei Harbour Marine Reserves (Department of Conservation website)
Surfing beaches at Ocean Beach and Waipū are patrolled by Surf Life Saving New Zealand at weekends during the summer months, generally from the end of October until early April and throughout the week during the summer school holiday in December and January.
Sandy Bay is another popular surfing beach – although not patrolled.
Popular swimming beaches include:
Surf Lifesaving NZ website
You can exercise your dog on most beaches in the district, as long as your dog is under control at all times.
Rules regarding horses on beaches have recently been introduced in the Public Places Bylaw. While the bylaw generally permits this activity, there are some restrictions.
Public Places Bylaw
There are all year-round ban areas at some coastal locations for conservation purposes plus bans during summer periods. Read more about the restrictions in our Dog Management Policy, Dog Management Bylaw and on the dog exercise areas:
Dog Management Policy
Dog Management Bylaw
Dog Exercise Areas
Pedestrians have the right of way. Share the beach with other visitors carefully, and remember that all road rules apply.
Look out for:
Vehicles are prohibited from our beaches in two locations: at Ruakaka and on the north-western part of Langs Beach.
Follow the link below to our Control of Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw for further information and maps showing the prohibited areas:
Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw
A 30km per hour speed limit applies to some of our busy beaches, including those in Ruakaka.
Follow the link below to our Speed Limits Bylaw for more detailed information.
Speed Limits Bylaw
We recommend you stay at one of our outstanding licensed Holiday Parks or Campsites.
Follow the link below for information on freedom camping in our District:
The waters along the coastline are known for good catches of fish, especially snapper and kingfish in season, but also kawhai, trevally, john dory and other species in addition to crayfish and kina.
When James Cook sailed through the area in 1769, the crew caught so many snapper that they called the area Bream Bay.
We maintain a number of boat ramps in the district which are suitable for launching recreational fishing boats.
Tsunami siren testing - Northland Regional Council website
COVID-19 and food safety
Wastewater testing (health.govt.nz)