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! (or check out the full range of options for beaches and pools)


At Waimarama beach, you can stroll, swim or surf. Post-beach visits to the local store are pretty much compulsory! You can even learn to surf - Hawke’s Bay Surf School runs lessons here, for more information visit their Facebook page

The quintessential Hawke's Bay summer's day at Waimarama Beach

Ocean Beach

A popular spot for surfers and families, Ocean Beach is less developed in comparison to its neighbour, Waimarama. 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.

A surfer reading himself at Ocean Beach

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.

Maraetotara Falls on the outskirts of Havelock North

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. 

A beatuiful summer's day at Waipatiki Beach

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.

The sun sets over Kairakau Beach in Central Hawke's Bay

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!

Dip your toes in the Tukituki River

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, and is a white sandy beach, great for surfing, walking, collecting shells and beach fishing.

The stunning Mahia Beach

Splash Planet

Splash Planet is New Zealand’s only water theme park and is a beloved Hawke’s Bay destination where generations of families have made lifetime memories. Offering an unrivalled selection of theme park rides and water attractions, Splash Planet is the perfect destination for the whole family!

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The exciting speeds slides at Splash Planet

Ahuriri Beach

A hugely popular spot for a splash, given its proximity to a large playground and the iconic Hot Chick takeaways and Cool Cat ice cream parlour. New for summer 2022/23 are lifeguard patrols. With the Hawke's Bay Trails running right alongside the water's edge, why not consider cycling there and cooling off in the ocean?!

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Napier's popular Ahuriri Beach

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.

Sunset over Ocean Spa