Life’s a Beach in Christchurch

  • beach cricket on the beach
  • Taylor's Mistake
  • Sumner Beach Christchurch Photo:
  • New Brighton Beach Photo: Fergus Blakiston
  • Corsair Bay Photo; avatar

Summer’s here!

Those long, hot, summer days are perfect for swimming, barbeques and endless afternoons at the beach. Wherever your Christchurch accommodation is located, you are never far from a beach and it doesn’t take much effort at all to find a

place of your own on a sweep of sandy real estate.

So pack up the food, drinks, buckets and spades (don’t forget the sun-block), and head for the ocean. After all, life in summer is a beach. Here are some suggestions to get you going.

Taylor’s Mistake.

Christchurch’s premier surf beach, Taylor’s Mistake (or just “Taylors” to the locals) is also a great place to swim, sunbathe and explore the rocky shoreline cliffs and caves.

Located a short drive over the hill from Sumner, Taylor’s Mistake has a daily surf life-saving patrol operating over the summer months. The fine, black sand is perfect for sand castle construction and you can wander off along the cliff-top track leading from Taylor’s Mistake to the Boulder Beach, just around the headland.

There is a car-park with ample space along with toilets and showers. Surf’s up, dude…

Sumner Beach.

The beach suburb of Sumner is one of the loveliest parts of Christchurch.

Home to an eclectic collection of residents, along with some great coffee shops and restaurants, Sumner has the air of an island, disconnected from the rest of the city back across the causeway.

Framed at each end by rocky outcrops, where crabs scuttle in tiny, tidal pools and kelp fronds sway in the inter-tidal zone, the eastern end of Sumner Beach is a great place to learn to surf.

The western part of the beach is a wide strip of soft sand, hot beneath your feet on a summer day, and the shallow water is good for skim-boarding, paddling and, of course, swimming. The local surf life-saving club patrols the beach daily during the summer and you need to pay attention to the flags.

New Brighton Beach.

For decades, New Brighton was where the residents of Christchurch would go for their Saturday shopping and Sunday’s at the beach.

These days, the suburb has a quiet, raffish air but its long beach, backed by a strip of gentle sand-dunes, remains a popular place for swimming, surfing or long strolls along the fine black sand.

The Christchurch Pier juts seaward giving a great view back towards the land and across the wide sweep of Pegasus Bay. There are various surf life-saving clubs along the beach and plenty of dining options in New Brighton itself if you haven’t brought a picnic with you.

For the kiddies, there is also a playground right on the sea-front with a paddling pool containing a giant concrete whale. Hours of fun!

Corsair Bay.

Just around the corner from the Port of Lyttleton, this tiny cove seems a world away from the bustle and hubbub of the port.

Framed by gnarled old Macrocarpa trees growing on the steep slopes above the bay, this gentle pebbly beach is a perfect spot for kids. The water is shallow and warm, and being part of the shoreline of Lyttleton Harbour means that Corsair Bay seldom experiences rough waves, making it a very safe swimming beach.

The hummocky grass foreshore is a great place to set up a picnic and while away a sunny Canterbury day while the kids frolic in the sea. There are toilet facilities and car parks but the car parking is limited so it’s best to get there early in the day.