Plan a seaside retreat with the best beaches near Wellington

Home to a thriving harbour, stunning beaches and numerous attractions, the capital city of Wellington is a top travel destination in New Zealand. You’ll have no shortage of pristine shoreline to choose from, all within reach of the city. From dog-friendly beaches with spots to play with your pet to quiet beaches with children’s playgrounds to wild beaches with native wildlife, you’ll find it all with beaches near Wellington. Whether you’re looking for water sports, adventure, wildlife sightings, family days or romantic sunset views, take a look at the best beaches near Wellington to plan your seaside holiday in New Zealand.

Oriental Bay for families with young children

One of the closest beaches to the city, Oriental Bay Beach is an urban beach setting that’s ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Oriental Bay Beach is on the inner harbour, giving it calm waters for young children, and you’ll find plenty of picnic areas and walking paths on the waterfront. A unique feature of Oriental Bay Beach is the Carter Fountain, a memorial fountain for Hugh Carter that’s located in the centre of the bay.

Paraparaumu for spectacular views

Paraparaumu is on the edge of the Kapiti Coast and boasts a long stretch of unspoilt beach. You’ll find plenty of gorgeous shoreline along the coast, but Paraparaumu is one of the most popular for its views of Kapiti Island and thriving town centre. If you want water sports, Paraparaumu is a launching spot for adventures like cruises, charters and kayaking.

Scorching Bay for family fun

Located on the Miramar Peninsula, Scorching Bay is just a short distance from Wellington city centre. The beach is popular for swimming in all seasons, even in winter, and offers a quiet inner harbour area for young children to wade. Visitors also enjoy sunbathing and watching the ships going in and out of the harbour. Families can enjoy practical facilities, a playground, cafes and eateries nearby.

Castlepoint for outdoor adventure

Castlepoint is a beach in the Wairarapa district with rugged, wild shores and picturesque scenery. The beach is popular for photography and swimming, thanks to its calm waters and shallows for young children. The reef offshore is home to incredible sea life, and wildlife like dolphins, fur seals and shorebirds frequent the area near the beach.

Red Rocks for wildlife encounters

Red Rocks beach can be reached via the Red Rocks Walkway, a long footpath that travels along the beaches and coastline of the Red Rocks Reserve. The beach is known for its natural red rock formations, native fur seal colony and calm ocean waters that are suitable for swimming. The Red Rocks Reserve is close by and provides nature trails and wildlife sightings to delight the kids.

Lyall Bay for surfing and watersports

Popular with local surfers, Lyall Beach experiences ideal wind and wave conditions with spectacular surf breaks. Nearby, you’ll find coffee and ice cream shops for snacks and refreshments, making the beach a favourite of families. Another unique activity at Lyall Bay is watching the planes flying in and out of Wellington Airport nearby.

Plimmerton Beach for dog-friendly activities

If you want to play with your dog on the sand, Plimmerton Beach is a local favourite for dog owners and visitors with pets. Located just outside of Porirua, Plimmerton Beach has a laid-back atmosphere and few crowds. You can spend the day sunbathing and then find a great spot to view the stunning sunsets over the water.

Makara Beach for relaxation by the water

Located outside of the Wellington suburbs, Makara Beach is a secluded beach surrounded by cliffs. You can reach the beach by footpath, giving it a secluded feel. The waters are sheltered and provide a safe, calm swimming area for families with children. If you want to trek, the beach has a 6-kilometre loop track that travels along the cliffs for stunning coastal views and historic sites with World War II gun emplacements.

Riversdale Beach for fishing with the kids

Stretching 4 kilometres, Riversdale Beach is a lovely swimming and fishing spot. Families enjoy the beach for its quiet atmosphere and gentle surf, as well as for the nearby shops offering food and snacks. You’ll find numerous resorts along the shore if you want to stay close to the water.