1. Oriental bay
Yes, this beach is just five minutes walk from the city centre! Backed with MT Victoria and an urban setting, Oriental Bay is one of the best urban beaches in New Zealand. Sink your toes into the sand and watch the water fountain just off the shore!
Location: Oriental Bay, Wellington City
2. Scorching Bay
Another Wellington city beach that’s worth exploring is Scorching Bay Beach on the Miramar Peninsula. Just a short drive or bus journey away from the city centre, Scorching Bay is an awesome swimming beach in summer (or winter if you’re hardcore). Check out more things to do in Miramar right here!
Location: Scorching Bay, Miramar, Wellington City.
3. Lyall Bay
Yet another awesome city beach, Lyall Bay is a super surf spot and/or a great place to grab a coffee or an ice cream from the nearby eateries. Plus, get the unusual beach activity of watching the planes landing at the Wellington Airport.
Location: Lyall Bay, Wellington City.
4. Red Rocks
Take the Red Rocks Walkway (40 minutes one way) along the beaches and rugged coastline of the Red Rocks Reserve. Just a 30-minute drive south of Wellington city, this is a popular place to spot seals from April to October. Plus, yes, there are red-coloured rocks here that formed some 200 years ago!
Location: Red Rocks Reserve, Owhiro Bay. To get there by bus, take the Number 1 bus to Island Bay. Get off at the last stop and walk about 2km via Owhiro Bay Parade to the start of the Red Rocks Walkway.
5. Paraparaumu Beach
The Wellington district of the Kapiti Coast has 40km of unspoiled beaches to enjoy! Although there’s something to love about all the beaches on the Kapiti Coast, Paraparaumu Beach has awesome views of Kapiti Island just off the short. Plus, it’s close to a bustling town centre to explore! For more beaches to check out in Kapiti, see 10 Must-Dos on the Kapiti Coast.
Location: 50 minutes drive from Wellington City along State Highway 1. Public transport is also available for Paraparaumu.
6. Makara Beach
For a bit of a hiking mission to go with your beach trip, check out Makara Beach beyond the western Wellington suburbs. A 6km loop track climbs the cliffs behind the beach providing excellent views of the coast, gun emplacements from World War 2, and a wind farm. The walkway begins and ends at Makara Beach.
Location: 20 minutes drive from Wellington City. Follow Makara Road all the way to the end.
Venture to the Wairarapa district, on the east side of the Wellington region, and you’ll find a wealth of rugged beaches! However, don’t miss Castlepoint! Not only is this a safe swimming beach, but the walk to the lighthouse is a terrific photo opportunity! Check out more epic attractions in the Wairarapa in our 10 Damn Good Things to Do in Wairarapa.
Location: 2h40min drive from Wellington City. Take State Highway 2 to Masterton. From Masterton, take the Masterton – Castlepoint Road all the way to the end.
8. Riversdale Beach
Another Wairarapa beach you can’t miss is Riversdale Beach! This 4km long beach is a fantastic swimming, surfing and fishing spot. Plus, you have the opportunity for a classic Kiwi day at the beach with a fish & chips shop nearby!
Location: 2h30min from Wellington City. Take State Highway 2 toward Masterton. Take the Masterton-Castlepoint Road and turn off at Blairlogie onto the Blairlogie Road. Then follow Homewood Road onto Riversdale Road.
9. Plimmerton Beach
Want to find an awesome place to watch the sunset in Wellington? Check out Plimmerton Beach just outside of Porirua. This small but cute beach is a great place to feel the sand between your toes and watch the locals walking their dogs.
Location: 30 minutes drive from Wellington City Centre up State Highway 1. Public transport is available.
10. Petone Beach
Head to the Lower Hutt suburb and take a stroll on the beach. There are numerous parks and reserves to walk through and the beach is a great place to swim during summer. A swimming raft is anchored just off the short between Labour Day and Easter weekend.
Location: 20 minutes drive from Wellington City via State Highway 2. Public transport is available.