Discovering the Best Beaches in Wellington: A Complete Guide

Beaches in Wellington

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Wellington, New Zealand’s vibrant capital, is not just a cultural and political hub but also home to some of the most stunning beaches in the country. Whether you're a local looking to explore new spots or a visitor planning a trip, Wellington’s coastline offers a variety of beach experiences. 

    From bustling urban beaches to secluded natural havens, there’s something for everyone. This guide will walk you through the best beaches in Wellington, what makes each one unique, and tips for making the most of your visit.

    Oriental Bay

    Oriental Bay is Wellington’s most popular beach, offering golden sands and a central location perfect for a quick urban escape. This beach, just a short stroll from the city center, features picturesque views of the city skyline and the harbor, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. 

    Activities at Oriental Bay include swimming, sunbathing, paddleboarding, and picnicking. Amenities are abundant, with several cafés, restaurants, public restrooms, and changing facilities available. A highlight of the area is the Oriental Parade, a scenic promenade ideal for walking and cycling. 

    Oriental Bay is perfect for those who want to enjoy beach time without straying far from the conveniences of city life, offering vibrant atmosphere and excellent people-watching opportunities.

    Oriental Bay in Wellington

    Lyall Bay

    Lyall Bay is the ultimate destination for surf enthusiasts in Wellington. Located near Wellington Airport, this beach is renowned for its consistent waves and relaxed vibe, attracting both beginner and experienced surfers. 

    Activities at Lyall Bay include surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, and walking along the shore. The beach is well-equipped with amenities such as surf schools, rental shops, cafés, and restrooms. A notable highlight is the Maranui Surf Club Café, a popular spot for brunch with a stunning view of the ocean. 

    Lyall Bay is perfect for those looking to learn to surf or enjoy watching surfers in action. The beach's lively yet laid-back atmosphere ensures a fun and engaging day out.

    Lyall Bay

    Scorching Bay

    Scorching Bay provides a slice of paradise with its turquoise waters and white sandy beach, located on the Miramar Peninsula. This beach is ideal for families and individuals seeking a serene and tranquil beach experience. 

    Popular activities at Scorching Bay include swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and playing beach games. The beach offers amenities such as cafés, a grassy area for picnics, and public restrooms. One of the key highlights is The Beach House & Kiosk, a delightful café situated right by the water. 

    Scorching Bay’s calm waters and beautiful scenery make it an excellent spot for relaxing, swimming, and unwinding with a good book, ensuring a peaceful day at the beach.

    Scorching Bay

    Makara Beach

    Makara Beach offers a rugged and remote experience, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers. Located west of Wellington, this beach is known for its dramatic coastal views and sense of seclusion. 

    Activities at Makara Beach include fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and photography. Amenities are minimal, so it's best to come prepared with your own supplies. A highlight of this area is the Makara Walkway, which provides stunning views and a bit of adventure. 

    Makara Beach is ideal for those who love nature and want to escape the hustle and bustle. The beach’s wild beauty and the chance to spot local wildlife make it a unique destination.

    Makara Beach

    Banner CVNZRed Rocks

    Red Rocks is renowned for its striking geological formations and seal colony, offering a more adventurous outing on Wellington’s south coast. Activities at Red Rocks include hiking, wildlife observation, and exploring rock pools. 

    There are no amenities here, making it a more rugged, natural site. The Red Rocks Coastal Walk, which leads you to the seal colony, is a significant highlight. 

    If you’re interested in geology or marine life, Red Rocks is a must-visit. The seals are a major draw, especially during the breeding season, and the scenery is breathtaking, providing a perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty.

    Red Rocks Beach in Wellington

    Paraparaumu Beach

    Paraparaumu Beach, located along the Kāpiti Coast, is a popular destination known for its beautiful sandy beach and views of Kāpiti Island. Although it’s a bit further from Wellington, it’s well worth the trip. 

    Activities at Paraparaumu Beach include swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, and boating. Amenities include cafés, shops, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable visit. A highlight is the ferry to Kāpiti Island, which is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary.

    Paraparaumu Beach is perfect for a family day out, offering a range of activities and a scenic backdrop. The option to visit Kāpiti Island adds an extra layer of adventure to your beach day, making it an enriching experience for all ages.

    Paraparaumu Beach

    Wellington’s coastline is a treasure trove of beautiful beaches, each offering its own unique charm and activities. From the urban vibes of Oriental Bay to the rugged beauty of Makara Beach, there’s something for everyone. 

    Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these beaches provide the perfect escape into nature, right at the doorstep of New Zealand’s bustling capital. So pack your beach gear, consider renting a campervan for the ultimate convenience, and explore the best beaches Wellington has to offer.

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