Guide to accessible beaches in New Zealand

Going to the beach is an important part of summer for many people in New Zealand, but it can be a challenge for disabled people who use mobility aids. Regular wheelchairs aren’t designed to be used on sand, and people who use walking sticks or frames for balance can find the terrain challenging.

Fortunately, there are options for wheelchair users who want to use the beach. Beach wheelchairs designed to be used on sand can be hired, and some beaches even have mats so people with mobility aids can get to the beach more easily.

Read Kimberly Graham's blog about going to Hot Water Beach with a beach wheelchair. (external website)

Use this guide to find out where to find beach wheelchairs and mats this summer.

A girl at the beach sits in a wheelchair in shallow water

Alisha Mill, 15, enjoying the water using a beach wheelchair at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch with her father, Matt

Beach wheelchairs

Beach wheelchair hire is available in six locations around the country, thanks to the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, the Flight Centre Foundation, and Wellington City Council. These are the locations and details of the beach wheelchairs:

Wellington

Located at: Freyberg Pool, 139 Oriental Parade, Wellington.

Contact details: 04 801 4530 extension 0

Mount Maunganui

Located at: Hibiscus Surf School, Mount Maunganui

Contact details: 07 575 3792 or info@surfschool.co.nz

Northland

Located at: Tutukaka Surf Experience Shop, Marina Road, Tutukaka, Whangarei

Contact details: Simon Eggington on 021 227 0072 or simon@tutukakasurf.co.nz

Taranaki

Located at: Oakura Board Riders Club, Oakura Beach

Contact details: John Sigurdsson on 021 190 4881 or john@halberg.co.nz

Christchurch

Located at: Strategic Urban Rejuvenation Force (SURF) New Brighton, New Brighton Mall, Christchurch

Contact details: 027 146 239 or visit www.beachchairs.nz (external website)

Dunedin

Located at: Esplanade Surf School, 1 Esplanade, Dunedin

Contact details: 0800 484 141 or learn@espsurfschool.co.nz

Other beach wheelchair options

Auckland

People in Auckland who want to hire a beach wheelchair can contact Beachwheels and hire a beach wheelchair for $50 per half day.

Hire beach wheelchairs in Auckland from Beachwheels (external website)

Beach mats

Some beaches around the country have beach access mats in use during the summer.

Mount Maunganui

The Tauranga City Council provides beach access mats at three locations at Mount Maunganui: Pilot Bay, the Cenotaph, and Cutter’s Cove.

The mats will be in use until April 2020, weather dependent.

Find out more about Tauranga City Council's beach access mats (external website)

Wellington

The Hutt City Council is providing beach access mats at Days Bay Beach over the summer period. The mat will be available to use from Tuesday 3 December 2019 until March 2020. Outside of this period, the Council will make the mat available for groups to hire out if needed to improve access at programmes, activities or events.

Download a printable PDF version of this map showing the locations of accessible beaches around New Zealand (PDF, 445 KB)

 

A map of New Zealand showing the locations of beach access facilities