Tātahi me kā Pūahatanga

Beaches & Estuary

Waimakariri is lucky to have great beaches and the beautiful Ashley-Rakahuri Estuary.

Kairaki Beach and The Pines Beach, situated at the southern end of the District, close to the mouth of the Waimakariri River, are accessed via coastal car parks.

Further north, roads lead to Woodend Beach and the coastal dune area beyond Pegasus Town.

Waikuku Beach settlement is the gateway to the Waikuku Beach Surf Life Saving Club swimming beach and the Ashley-Rakahuri River mouth and estuary.

The Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw

It's important that we look after these areas and make sure everyone can enjoy them safely. This is why the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw 2016 was developed, working closely with the community.

There are some important things to be aware of summarised in the video series and drop-down boxes below.

Dogs are welcome on most beaches and areas of the Northern Pegasus Bay coastal strip. However to protect ecological values and bird habitats around the Ashley River/Rakahuri estuary and wetlands, dogs are not allowed in that area.

Here are the key things you need to know before exercising your dog at the beach:

  • Dogs are not allowed in the areas between surf patrol flags or within 50 metres of the flags
  • Dogs must be under continuous and effective control at all times
  • Dogs which are unable to be under effective voice control around horses must be on a leash
  • Carry plenty of poo bags to pick up after your dog

Horse Riding

The Pegasus Bay Coastal Reserve track network allows casual horse riding along back dune areas between Kairaki-Pines Beach and Waikuku Beach.

There are horse float parking areas provided at the end of Ferry Road in Woodend Beach, and at the southern end of Waikuku Beach settlement, off Reserve Road. A free key to access the horse float gate at Waikuku is available from the Rangiora Service Centre. Drop in and see us or phone 0800 965 648 for more information.

To view float parking locations, beach access areas, and areas that are prohibited for horse riding and training, view the horse access map (pdf, 4.3 MB).

  • Horse riding is not permitted in the Ashley River/Rakahuri Estuary area
  • Stick to the designated horse trails and give way to pedestrians
  • Stay below the last high-tide mark when riding on the beach, unless using a designated access trail
  • You should avoid riding through flagged surf patrol areas
Commercial Horse Training

Commercial horse training on Woodend Beach is subject to a user agreement. Find out more in the user agreement brochure pdf, 4.2 MB

Surf Life Saving crews patrol at Waikuku, and also cover Woodend Beach and Pegasus Beach during the peak summer season.

The public are advised to swim at these locations.

The Ashley-Rakahuri Estuary is a special place in our district and home to a lot of rare and endangered birdlife.

The Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw 2016 is in place to ensure wildlife and the natural environment are not harmed and ensure everyone can enjoy the area's natural beauty.

To protect the estuary, the following are prohibited:

  • Dogs (If walking on the nearby stop bank, please use a leash)
  • Horses
  • Land yachts
  • Drones and model aircraft
  • Taking off and landing microlights and helicopters
  • No vehicles, unless you have a permit to use the access track in the whitebait season

It is a restricted area for kite surfing and there is a 5 knot speed limit for water craft.

View the access map (pdf, 7.4 MB) for more details on where the prohibitions apply.


Two wheel motorbikes are prohibited from all beaches and dunes along the Northern Pegasus Bay Coastal strip.

Quad Bikes

Quad bikes are permitted to drive on the beach as they are classified as a motor vehicle. They can't be used for recreational driving or driving for pleasure, they must be legal to drive on the road and follow the rules for Driving On The Beach as detailed below.

Driving On The Beach

For the safety and enjoyment of all users, and to protect special wildlife areas, there are areas along the northern Pegasus Bay coastal strip where vehicles are prohibited or restricted. Check out the map (pdf, 3.5 MB) to view the areas you can and can’t go before heading out.

Here are some of the key things you need to know before taking your vehicle to the Northern Pegasus Bay beaches:

  • Recreational driving or driving for pleasure is not permitted on any area of the Northern Pegasus Bay coastal strip.
  • To protect our fragile coastal dune system, vehicles are not permitted to drive on any dunes in Northern Pegasus Bay
  • All vehicles must drive below the last high tide mark, unless it’s unsafe to do otherwise, except at the Waimakariri River Mouth or using a specifed access route.
  • Vehicles must give way and show consideration to people, horses, other animals and birds at all times
  • Approved four wheel drive clubs may obtain exemptions which allow them to drive on prohibited or restricted areas of the beach for civil defence or rescue training, and for track, beach or facility maintenance, rubbish removal and pest control
  • No vehicles are to drive through a flagged surf lifesaving patrol area
  • Speed limits apply, you should drive no faster than 30km/h and slow down to 10km/h when within 50 metres of people.
  • Access from the Waimakariri District’s northern boundary at Ashworth’s Beach to the Ashley – Rakahuri Estuary is only for the purpose of boat launching or retrieval, fishing, white baiting and mahinga kai gathering.
  • Access from the Waimakariri River Mouth to the Pines Ocean Outfall is for the above purposes as well as taking recreation equipment to the water's edge and for holders of mobility stickers.
  • Vehicle access is available from the Ashley – Rakahuri River Mouth car park to the Ashley – Rakahuri River mouth during the whitebait season.  This access is by permit only with permits being available from the Waimakariri District Council’s Customer Service Team.

And remember, the beach is a road, all the road rules and the law still apply in these areas.


Camping, including freedom camping is not allowed in the dunes or beaches of Northern Pegasus Bay. View the map showing where camping is prohibited.

There are a number of other areas suitable for freedom camping - take a look at the Camping Brochure (pdf, 794.5 KB).


Open fires in Northern Pegasus Bay and on the beaches are by permit only, this includes bonfires, braziers and charcoal bbq's.

Kite Surfing

The Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw 2016 restricts kite surfing in the Ashley River/Rakahuri Estuary to a designated area. Within this there is a launch area, transit area and main riding area.

Kite surfing is prohibited in all other Ashley/ Rakahuri and Saltwater Creek estuarine areas.

  • Stay clear of bird feeding areas in shallow water or exposed mudflats at low tide
  • Stay clear of dry shingle, driftwood, sand banks or islands where birds might be nesting or roosting
  • Only use the kite surfing transition area for moving to and from the launch area to the main riding area or the ocean
  • Stay 50 metres away from the north-west bank & 25 metres from the south-west bank of the Ashley River/Rakahuri Estuary at all times
Land Yachting

Land yachting has become a popular beach activity, and there is a designated area allowing for this activity.

Land yachts are prohibited between the beach entrance of the Waikuku Beach horse float car park access trail and the districts northern boundary. View the land yacht access map pdf, 2.0 MB for more details

Beach Bylaw Videos

Join Tania Green in this video series as she explores some of the key topics covered by the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw.

Last reviewed date: 10 Jan 2024