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 Pohutukawa-fringed bays.

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

View the latest water quality test results for popular beaches and freshwater swimming spots. Testing is carried out by the Northland Regional Council between the summer months of December to early March.

Can I swim here?

Shellfish collecting

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

Shellfish biotoxin alerts (mpi.govt.nz)

Dogs and horses on beaches

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

Dogs on beaches

Horses on beaches

Surf beaches and surf livesaving patrols

Surf lifesavers patrol three surf beaches in the District:

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

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

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

Surf Lifesaving NZ (surflifesaving.org.nz)

Fishing

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.

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 (doc.govt.nz)

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 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 Ruakākā. 

Follow the link below to our Speed Limits Bylaw for more detailed information.

Speed Limits Bylaw

Camping

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