Northern Pegasus Bay Beach Access

There are a number of settlements providing road access to the beach in the Waimakariri District

The Kairaki and Pines Beach communities link to coastal car parks and beach sites close to the mouth of the Waimakariri River. 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 area. Surf Life Saving crews patrol at Waikuku, and also cover Woodend Beach and Pines Beach during the peak summer season. The public are advised to swim at these locations

Access and use of the Northern Pegasus Bay Coastal Strip is governed by the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw 2016. The bylaw was updated following extensive community consultation, and became operative on Monday 15 August 2016. Some key changes were made, so before heading out to enjoy the district’s beautiful beaches, there are a few important changes to be aware of. These are summarised below, and the full details can be found on our bylaws page

Key changes affecting motor vehicle and motorbike use, dog walking and horse riding

  • Recreational horse riding and dogs are not allowed on the Ashley River/Rakahuri Estuary
  • Dogs need to be on a lead around horses if not able to be effectively voice controlled
  • Recreational driving or driving for the pleasure of driving is not allowed on the districts beaches
  • All two-wheel motorbikes are not allowed on the districts beaches
  • Other vehicle restrictions apply – refer to our website for more information about these restrictions

Vehicle access to 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 online map (pdf, 13.0 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 is not permitted on any area of the Northern Pegasus Bay coastal strip. Access from the north 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 Mouth to the Ocean Outfall is for the above purposes as well as taking recreation equipment to the water's edge and for holders of mobility stickers.View the map (pdf, 3.5 MB)for more details
  • A permit is required for vehicles wishing to access the Ashley River/Rakahuri Estuary. View map (pdf, 7.4 MB) for further details or contact our Customer Service Team to obtain a permit
  • 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 on an access route specified in the vehicle access map (pdf, 3.5 MB)
  • 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

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

View the maps (pdf, 3.5 MB) showing all access restrictions and prohibited areas.

Motorbikes on the beach

Two wheel motorbikes are prohibited from all beaches and dunes along the Northern Pegasus Bay Coastal strip. Quad bikes are permitted to drive on the beach as they are classified as a motor vehicle. They must be legal to drive on the road.

Dogs on the beach

Dogs are welcome on most areas of the Northern Pegasus Bay coastal strip. However to protect ecological values and bird habitat around the Ashley River/Rakahuri estuarine area and wetlands, dogs are not allowed.Dog-on-beach

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

  • Dogs are not allowed in the areas between surf patrol flags and 50 metre beyond these
  • 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

View the map (pdf, 7.4 MB) for more information on prohibited areas for dogs.

Horses riding and training Horse-Rider-resized

For people wishing to ride and train horses on the 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.

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). Remember, you Should avoid riding through flagged surf patrol areas, and horse riding is no longer permitted in the Ashley River/Rakahuri and Saltwater Creek Estuary areas. To find out where you can ride your horse in the Waimakariri district visit our Equestrian activities page.

Commercial horse training on Woodend Beach is subject to a user agreement. Find out more in our user guide

Land yachts

Land yachting has become a popular beach activity, and there is a designated area allowing for this activity. Land yachts are prohibited from the area between the beach entrance to the Waikuku Beach horse float car park and access trail and the districts northern boundary. View the land yacht access map more details

The Ashley River/Rakahuri and Saltwater Creek Estuarine Area

This is a special area of significance for wildlife and estuarine habitat. To ensure the protection of this area,it is prohibited area for:  Estuary

  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Land yachts
  • Drones and model aircraft
  • Taking off and landing microlights and helicopters

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.


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

Have you seen our Freedom Camping Brochure (pdf, 425.7 KB), this shows you all the places that you can safely freedom camp in our district


Fires in Northern Pegasus Bay are permit only. Contact our  Customer Services Team for more information. Ph:  03 311 8900

For more information about the Waimakariri District Council Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw 2016, and management of motor vehicles, horse and foot traffic on district beaches, please visit our Bylaws page.


Horse access (pdf, 4.3 MB)

Vehicle access (pdf, 3.5 MB)

Land yacht access (pdf, 2.0 MB)