Plan a seaside holiday with the best beaches in Christchurch

With its unique charm, laid-back atmosphere and numerous attractions, Christchurch has plenty to offer travellers. It’s also home to incredible New Zealand beaches that share its relaxed vibe and local appeal. Each beach offers something different and attractive, from native dolphins and shorebirds to exciting water sports, outdoor treks and family-friendly areas and amenities. Whether you want to spend time on the beach with the kids, you’re looking for thrills on the water or you’re planning to relax on the sand with a good book, find out more about the best beaches near Christchurch to plan your seaside escape.

Waikuku Beach for family amenities

Located just north of Christchurch, Waikuku Beach is a stunning beach that rests on the area where the Ashley River empties into the sea. The surf season brings excellent waves that draw surfers to the area, but you’ll find plenty of calm areas for safe swimming. Families enjoy Waikuku Beach for its facilities and amenities, such as toilets and showers. The beach is surrounded by pine forests where you can hike and explore to see wildlife and shorebirds.

Sumner Beach for surfing

Sumner Beach is the ideal beach getaway. Along with soft sand, crystal-clear waters and fantastic surf breaks, Sumner Beach also has a surf school to learn the ropes. If you want to see the views of the coast, Sumner Beach has a waterfront esplanade for walking and cycling. There are also caves on the beach for the daring to explore. After spending the day by the water, you can have dinner and drinks at one of the many waterfront restaurants and bars.

New Brighton Beach for fun with the kids

With golden sands and calm, turquoise waters, New Brighton Beach is a picturesque beach spot for a seaside holiday. You could lounge on the sand and take in the views while the kids play in the shallow waters. One of the features of the beach is the massive pier with fishing spots, cafes and restaurants. You could also venture to New Brighton Village for more amenities, such as shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and vibrant street art.

Akaroa Beach for wildlife sightings

Surrounded by the rich Akaroa, a French-influenced town, Akaroa Beach is a majestic beach destination with sheltered waters and a secluded atmosphere. The soft sand is ideal for sunbathing and playing with the kids, but you can also swim in the shallow waters. The Akaroa Harbour is home to pods of Hector’s dolphins, a rare dolphin species that frequents the area.

Woodend Beach for family amenities

Known for its recreational activities, Woodend Beach draws many families for the summer season. The beach has a playground, a lifeguard patrol during the season and plenty of shallow swimming areas for families with children. There’s a beach break offshore for surfing and other water sports. Horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and kite- or windsurfing.

Leithfield Beach for fishing and watersports

In summer, Leithfield Beach is a hotspot for swimming and sunbathing near Christchurch. Though locals fish and surf all year, families and travellers often enjoy spending time at Leithfield Beach during the season. The beach has excellent facilities and calm swimming areas for families with children. If you like water sports, the offshore breaks create excellent waves for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and surfing. Fishing and surfcasting are also popular. Leithfield Beach is one of the few beaches that offer horseback riding on the sand as well.

Amberley Beach for family fishing trips

Amberley Beach is a beautiful shingle beach near Amberley that offers swimming and sunbathing. Fishing, surfcasting and surfing are popular all year round since the waters tend to be warm and consistent. Though the tides can be strong, the low-tide areas are perfect for families with children to swim. The beach is easy to access and offers nearby parking.

Kaikoura Beach for adventure

Kaikoura Beach is a popular family beach with opportunities for adventure. The beach is easy to access and offers a variety of facilities, making it ideal for families. The water is clear and calm for swimming, and you’re likely to see whales, dolphins and native seal colonies. Surfers enjoy Kaikoura Beach and its breaks that are found away from the main beach area. Other activities include scuba diving, beachcombing, canoeing, kayaking and boating.