Beaches and coastal facilities

Photo of a man and woman with surfboards at Ocean Beach.

Whangārei is home to more than 100 picturesque beaches from long sweeps of ocean surf to sandy Pōhutukawa-fringed bays.

The locations of beaches and coastal facilities in our District can be found in our GIS Maps online tool.

Beaches and Coastal Facilities GIS map


Northland Regional Council has joined the Safeswim platform which provides live information on the conditions at many of the popular swimming sites around Northland. 

Safeswim provides a three day forecast on water quality, tides, weather information and if the beach is currently lifeguarded.

Can I swim here? (

Please be cautious as collapsing sand is dangerous. Our coast has changed with the recent weather events and now there are new dunes and cliffs.

Collapsing sand can crush and suffocate. Teach your children not to dig or tunnel into sand dunes or cliff faces.

Book a park or reserve area

Find out how to book a playground, public garden, beach, park or reserve for leisure and recreational events, weddings, ceremonies and small gatherings.

Book a park or reserve area


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:

Freedom camping

Cars on beaches

Pedestrians have the right of way.  Share the beach with other visitors carefully, and remember that all road rules apply.

Look out for:

  • soft sand – keep below the high tide mark
  • other beach users
  • beach fish equipment such as long lines and surf-casting lines
  • changing tides and conditions
  • nesting shorebirds and shellfish beds
  • our fragile dunes – keep off at all times and only use formal access ways.

Vehicles are prohibited from our beaches in two locations: at Ruakākā and on the north-western part of Langs Beach. 

You can read further information and view maps of the prohibited areas on the following page.

Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw 

A 30km per hour speed limit applies to some of our busy beaches, including those in Ruakākā. 

You can read more about setting speed limits and the National Speed Limit Register on the following page.

Setting speed limits

Dogs and horses on beaches

Find out which beaches you can take dogs or horses to.

Dogs on beaches

Horses on beaches


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 for launching recreational fishing boats as well as wharves and jetties for fishing from.

Shellfish collecting

You can check whether shellfish harvesting is safe in your area on the Ministry of Primary Industries website.

Shellfish biotoxin alerts (

Surf beaches and surf lifesaving patrols

Surf lifesavers patrol three surf beaches in the District:

  • Ocean Beach at Whangārei Heads
  • Waipū Cove
  • Ruakākā.

Patrols generally run from Labour Weekend until Easter. Remember to keep safe and swim between the flags.

Sandy Bay on the Tūtūkākā Coast is also another popular surfing beach – although not patrolled. 

Surf Lifesaving NZ (

Whangārei harbour and marine reserves

Whangārei harbour offers good fishing and scallop diving is a popular pastime during the open season.

There are two marine reserves in the harbour:

Both reserves are well marked and all marine life in them is protected. Please respect the no fishing rule. 

Whangārei Harbour Marine Reserves (