Recreational water quality

Check the water quality of beaches and rivers in Wellington, so you can make the best decisions about where to swim.

Is your beach safe for swimming?

Wellington’s beaches are generally safe for swimming and other water-based recreational activities.

Check the water quality at your local beach

Greater Wellington Regional Council regularly monitors our coastal swimming sites and during the summer months (December to March) 23 separate costal swimming locations are checked in Wellington.

Water quality results are updated twice daily on Greater Wellington’s interactive map – this is the best way to check if the water quality at your favourite spot is safe for swimming.

Check where is safe to swim

You can find out more about water quality monitoring from Greater Wellington website.

Advice for swimmers

  • Check the interactive map for water quality at different sites before you head out.
  • Wait 48 hours after heavy rain before swimming – heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into our waterways, making water quality unsafe for swimming.
  • If you choose to go against this advice and swim after rain, avoid putting your head under the water, and supervise toddlers to make sure they don’t swallow water.
  • In summer there is less water flow and rain to flush rivers, so the risk of poor water quality (and so getting sick) can increase.
  • Avoid swimming in streams – we don’t recommend swimming in urban streams and rivers or where streams and rivers come out at the beach.
  • Signs will only go up if tests show water quality has reached ‘red/action’ level, when water poses an unacceptable health risk from swimming.

Report water pollution

If you notice a problem with water quality at a beach or river, report it to GWRC on 0800 496 734 (24-hour hotline). 

This will help support all of the work that is happening to improve the water quality in the Wellington region.