News | 18 March 2022
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Friday Five: Fantastic beaches to visit in Pōneke

Choosing only five great beaches in Pōneke has been an impossible task, so we have cheated a little. Here are five (clusters of) awesome beaches to spend time at.

Scorching Bay on a beautiful sunny day.
Scorching Bay on a good day. Photo by Georgina Campbell.

1. Seatoun beaches, from Worser Bay to Scorching Bay 

The east coast hosts these two sandy beaches separated by a half hour stroll. 

At one end is Worser Bay which boasts large sand dunes planted with marram and pingao, and a grassed area with picnic tables.  

The story of its name dates back to the 1860s when pilot James Heberley frequently commented that the weather was getting ‘worser’. The name stuck and it came to be known as ‘Old Worser’s Bay’, now shortened to Worser Bay. 

At the other end is the popular Scorching Bay. This beautiful beach is perfect for a relaxing afternoon with its large, grassed area and pōhutukawa trees. 

2. Mākara Beach 

Take your dog for a run around on this secluded beach tucked away on the west coast.  

Mākara Beach has a little foreshore reserve. This reserve was created in 1942 when the sand dunes were bulldozed because of fears that the enemy could hide in them. 

This stony beach is great for fishing, diving and walking. Take the nearby Mākara walkway to see a pā, the remnants of some WWII gun emplacements and some oddly majestic wind turbines. 

The gravel road and beach near the entrance to Red Rocks Pariwhero.
Red Rocks Pariwhero.

3. Owhiro Bay and Red Rocks Pariwhero 

To get to Owhiro Bay and Red Rocks Pariwhero you get to travel along the city’s southern-most street, Owhiro Bay Road.  

While you are there, visit the coastal kāinga, pā, ngakinga, and overland tracks connecting these historic settlements around this coast.

On your way home visit the Tip Shop and Recycle Centre. Here you will find all sorts of weird and wonderful preloved goods for you to rehome – or donate your reusable unwanted clutter for someone else to enjoy. 

4. Princess Bay 

Another south coast stunner is Princess Bay. This sheltered sandy beach is a great spot to have a swim or see some sea life. This beach lies near the end of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, providing a safe space for fish to mature. Walk around the rockpools on the Te Raekaihau Point side of the beach and you are sure to spot some interesting sea creatures. 

From this beach you can see Taputeranga Island, and if you are lucky you may even see the peaks of the Kaikōura Range in the South Island. 

The Carter Fountain just before sunset.
The Carter Fountain at dusk in Oriental Bay.

5. Oriental Bay and Freyberg Bay 

Last but not least, this central city spot is a must for every city-dwelling Wellingtonian.  

The area takes its name from the sailing ship ‘Oriental’ that arrived in Wellington in 1840. At this time, Oriental Bay was described as a ‘dreary looking spot’ with few houses, steep hills and a narrow rocky shore. 

This appearance changed first after the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake, and again in 2004 when a council project brought sand over from Golden Bay, Nelson to increase the sand area. Twice a year we relocate the sand to maintain the size and shape of the beach. You can learn more about the history of Oriental Bay on our website. 

These two beaches host a bunch of attractions including the Carter Fountain, two wave platforms, a beautiful pōhutukawa tree, and a playground. 

Watch out each Friday for a fun list of five great activities to do, places to explore, or things to discover in our awesome city.