Fabulous family swimming spots

With some of the highest sunshine hours in the country and an array of secluded swimming spots suitable for the whole family, Hawke’s Bay is an ideal summer holiday destination.

Whether you want to cool down under a waterfall, warm up with surfing lessons, or simply take a dip at one of Hawke's Bay's many beaches and watering holes, here is our list of summer swimming spots for you and your family!

Waimarama Beach, photograph by Kirsten Simcox

Waimarama Beach

At Waimarama Beach, you can stroll, swim or surf. Hawke’s Bay Surf School runs lessons here, beginning at $40 per person. The tutors are all local surfers with a lifetime of experience in and on these waves and have a wonderful way of encouraging young ones to find their feet on a surfboard.

For more information visit their Facebook page 


Surfer at Ocean Beach, photograph by Michael Farr

Ocean Beach

A popular spot for surfers and families, Ocean Beach is less developed in comparison to its neighbour, Waimarama Beach. If your family includes a dog, Ocean Beach’s designated off-lead area is ideal, providing a couple of kilometres of coast on which to stretch two legs or four. Ocean Beach also has summer holiday lifesavers on duty.


Maraetotara Falls, photograph by Brook Sabin

Maraetotara Falls

A short drive from Havelock North, Maraetotara Falls is a hugely popular summer spot. There is a great swimming hole at the base of the waterfall, with fresh clear water. If you’ve got time - walk Maraetotara Historic Walk, you won’t be disappointed! Discover the old Havelock North Power Station and its beautiful surroundings. The track is easy, and kids will love it.

Morere Hot Springs, photograph by Brook Sabin

Morere Hot Springs

Mōrere Hot Springs offer a variety of natural hot and cold pools set within 364 hectares of beautiful native rainforest. A great place for the whole family, bring a picnic or have a BBQ. There are also beautiful bushwalks you can do with idyllic river crossings and mossy rainforest floors. Stay at the Mōrere Hot Springs  Lodge, which has a range of accommodation options available. A natural treasure in Hawke's Bay!

Waipatiki Beach

This stunning beach offers swimming, surfing, fishing, diving and has a fresh-water stream that’s popular with younger children who are content to paddle. Small boats can be launched from the beach, and the many coastal and bush walks are well worth exploring. 

Kairakau Beach, photograph by Michael Farr

Kairakau Beach

Perfect for swimming, surfcasting, diving, or just sitting and soaking up the sun. Kairakau has amazing scenery with several rocky islands just off the shore. The beach has a close and safe community of long term residents, as well as a very popular camping ground to take the family for a night under the stars.

Tukituki River, photograph by Kirsten Simcox

Tukituki River

The Tukituki River at Black Bridge (Mill Road, Haumoana) is a popular spot for swimming in summer. The Hawke’s Bay Trails cycle trail also goes along the stopbank. There are grassy flat areas beside the river used for picnicking, so grab your togs and pack a yummy lunch, this a fantastic family day out!

Mahia Beach, photograph by Kirsten Simcox

Māhia and Mahanga Beach

Māhia Beach is a relaxed, family-friendly paradise set on the stunning Māhia Peninsula in northern Hawke's Bay. Māhia township has a permanent population of around 500 people, but this number increases significantly over the summer. Māhia Beach has no Surf Life Saving Club but the beach is generally safe and relatively shallow - making it very child-friendly. Mahanga Beach is located north of Māhia. Mahanga is a white sandy beach, great for surfing, walking, collecting shells and beach fishing.

Sunset over Ocean Spa, photograph by Brooke Sabin

Ocean Spa

Ocean Spa overlooks the beach on Marine Parade and provides hot water and cold water pools of different sizes and shapes with plenty of space to play for the kids. There are also hot pools for the adults to soak in and a cafe on-site if mum and dad suffer from caffeine deficiency.