New Brighton’s seaside

New Brighton’s seaside

Being fairly surrounded by water, it’s not surprising New Brighton offers a great range of water-themed activities. We’ve pulled together some of the top choices, so you can explore our ocean and river. 

two women playing in the surf

Swimming at New Brighton

New Brighton’s beaches offer residents and visitors a great place to swim when the conditions are right. We also have New Zealand’s oldest surf life saving club, showing our history with the water goes back a long way. If you are heading down to New Brighton’s beaches to swim, make sure you stay between the flags, as this will be the safest area to swim. 

Swim Safety

Like any sea or ocean, New Zealand’s waters can be dangerous, and if you’re not familiar with it, it can catch you off guard. So it’s important to take precautions and stay safe while enjoying the water. Most Kiwi’s grow up spending a lot of time in and around the water – but if you’re from over seas swimming in the ocean can be a new experience, so here’s some things to remember to keep you safe:

  • Never swim alone


  • The Surf Life Savers are there to keep you safe, always listen to their advice.


  • Always actively supervise children near/in the water. If they’re in the water you should be within arms length of them at all times.


  • Always swim between the flags when you’re at a beach. If there are no flags, that means there are no surf lifesavers on the beach. If you’re not confident and experienced in swimming in the ocean, it’s best not to swim without supervision of the Surf Life Savers.


  • Even when swimming between the flags you need to be watching both the waves and the shore; our waves can be powerful and could knock you over, there’s also usually a strong current at our beaches, so you can drift quite far away from where you got in very quickly.
  • Never swim under or near the pier. It’s very dangerous.


  • If you get in trouble, stay calm and raise your hand. That’s the signal that you need help.

  • Learn to identify a rip current in the water. To the unexperienced eye, these can look like a safe place to swim because the water often looks calmer, but it’s very dangerous as the current will take you out to sea. If in doubt, don’t get in the water.

  • Remember your sunscreen! The sun is Aotearoa is very strong, and you can burn within minutes of being in the sun fi you don’t cover up.


The New Brighton Pier

Our pier is one of the most striking and unique parts of New Brighton. Opened in 1997, our 300m pier offers a lovely walk with fantastic views. While you’re welcome to walk on it, you should never swim under it – the currents beneath the pier are unpredictable and dangerous. Instead, swim between the flags or farther along the beach.


With its long open beach, New Brighton offers endless breaks in multiple areas, with way more space than many of Christchurch’s other surf spots.

The modern approach of riding the waves was first introduced to New Zealand by Duke Paoa Kahanamoku in 1915 right here in New Brighton, though Māori had a long tradition of surfing before this. An Olympic gold medal swimmer and world-renowned surf rider, he helped inspire a passion for modern surfing that lives on to this day in Aotearoa. We also host one of New Zealand’s largest surfing festivals in Duke’s honour.

There are several surf spots along our coastline. The best are North Beach and New Brighton, on either side of the pier.

surfer riding a wave

Other Water Sports

Between the estuary and the ocean, New Brighton offers a great area to go paddle boarding or kayaking. You can either bring your own, or hire something from a local Christchurch hire shop.

Want to learn to sail? Check out our local yacht club!

Fishing in New Brighton

There’s plenty of fishing to be done in the area around New Brighton. Christchurch City Council keeps the most up-to-date list of good fishing spots, so if you’re looking to cast a line, be sure to check it out.