Top 10 Most Dangerous Beaches In New Zealand


Five Auckland beaches are among the 10 most dangerous in New Zealand.

As summer gets underway and beachgoers flock to their favourite spots, Surf Life Saving New Zealand has revealed the nation’s most dangerous beaches based on the number of rescues carried out in the past year.

Surf Life Saving season usually begins on Labour Day weekend and ends at Easter.

Notorious West Auckland beaches Muriwai, Bethells and Piha, known for their dramatic black sand, rugged beauty and wild surf, had 82 rescues between them in the 2019/20 period.

Muriwai, ranked the second most dangerous beach with 32 rescues, also had more major first aid assists than any other beach in the country, with 26.

Waikato’s Sunset Beach was New Zealand’s most dangerous beach, with 40 rescues.

Pakiri Beach on the Hibiscus Coast and Kariaotahi in Waiuku in Auckland were ranked, as well as Whangārei Heads in Northland, Ocean Beach in Hawkes Bay, Raglan and St Kilda in Dunedin.

According to SLSNZ, 702 people needed rescues from at least 100 beaches monitored by lifesaving clubs across the nation, a reduction on the previous year where 1062 people were plucked from the surf.

SLSNZ lifeguards carried out 1622 assists, 327 major first aids, 381 searches and 118,305 safety interventions involving 438,381 people.


There were no drownings between the flags across the country in the past two years.

SLSNZ chief executive Paul Dalton said any water could be lethal but the west coast beaches were notoriously more dangerous than others because of their strong winds and swells.

“The east coast beaches are more calmer and not as exposed to strong winds but people still have to be careful regardless,” Dalton said.

“Often people think that because they’re calmer, they’re safer but we still need to be careful.”

Dalton said beachgoers needed to take relevant safety measures to ensure everyone went home at the end of the day.

“Take time to figure out what is safe and what the conditions will be like. Find out from locals what the beach you’re visiting is like and get familiar with it.

“There is no reason why a particular beach is more dangerous but there are various conditions that may determine this at any given day.”

Below are the Top Ten Most Dangerous Beaches In New Zealand

10. Ocean Beach – 16 rescues

Ocean Beach is a long beach of golden sand in the Hastings District of the Hawke’s Bay Region, on the east coast of New Zealand.