Beach and sea

Before heading out to enjoy the water please check metservice weather and be prepared.

With the weather warming up, it's nearly time for a dip at your favourite beach or river swimming hole. 

Update posted 5 December 2013

Water quality warnings for Plimmerton Beach

Signage is about to be placed around the Taupo Stream area on Plimmerton beach to ask parents to keep children away from the stream outlet as high coliform counts make the area unsafe.

Investigations are ongoing to locate and then remediate the source of this pollution.

Jenny Brash from Greater wellington Regional Council advises, “Many of our streams go through built up areas and swamps on their way to our beaches. These can become polluted on their way by farm animals, birds, stormwater and other waste. Both GWRC and PCC monitor these streams and beach outlets regularly and information about water quality is on both council’s websites.

Do take care when swimming at our beaches particularly 2-3 days after rain. Please keep children away from stream outlets which are likely to be polluted. Reminder signs will be placed around these areas.

Plimmerton Residents’ Association will be inviting Greater Wellington Regional Council and PCC specialists to one of the first meetings in 2014 to ensure that this situation is being resolved.


Posted 5 December - Cr Tim Sheppard reminds us about storm drains

Why be concerned about storm water pollution prevention?
Storm water that flows off buildings, walkways and streets into storm drains ultimately flows to our streams, rivers and ocean. Unlike water that goes to the sanitary sewer system (most indoor drains), storm water is not treated or filtered before it is discharged to the ocean. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on wildlife and the recreational uses of streams, creeks and beaches. Beaches often have to be closed due to contamination. It is important to keep storm water runoff clean.

What types of pollutants contaminate storm water runoff?
Some common contaminates include: motor oil, pesticides, pet waste, paint, household chemicals, trash and construction debris. Rainwater comes in contact with these contaminates and washes them into the storm drain system. In addition, improper disposal of substances into the storm drain system, such as food waste, paint waste, construction material, oil, antifreeze and landscaping chemicals also cause contamination of storm water runoff.

What can be done to prevent storm water pollution?

  • Don’t dump waste into storm water drains or areas that drain to storm drains
  • Maintain good housekeeping, dispose of waste properly in trash cans or dumpsters
  • Collect and properly dispose of wash water to the sanitary sewer or landscaped areas, not to storm drains
  • When cleaning outside areas dry sweep or vacuum instead of washing down to storm drains
  • Clean up spills quickly and properly, never hose spills to the gutter
  • Maintain trash and dumpster areas to prevent materials from being washed into storm drains
  • Maintain chemical storage areas, chemicals stored outside should be covered and have secondary containment
  • Maintain spill clean-up kits in all chemical storage areas
  • Perform vehicle maintenance only in approved areas
  • Maintain vehicles and other equipment in order to prevent fluid leaks

In summary, only clean rainwater (with the exception of some permitted discharges) can be discharged to a storm drain. All work, construction, cleaning and other activities conducted outdoors must be carried out in a way that prevents wastewater and contamination such as trash, debris, dirt, construction materials and hazardous materials from entering storm drain systems.

 But if there's been a downpour, Greater Wellington Regional Council advises people to wait for at least 48 hours after heavy rain before taking a dip.

"It pays to be careful for the first two days after heavy rain as the rainfall can wash contaminants from agricultural and urban areas into our waterways and coasts," Greater Wellington Environmental Monitoring and Investigations Manager Ted Taylor.

During the bathing season (from mid November to the end of March) Greater Wellington, local councils and Regional Public Health, work together to monitor water quality at 21 river and 74 beach sites across the Wellington region.

Results are posted on Greater Wellington's website, using a traffic light system.  The health risk is determined from the number of bacteria found in water samples. A green light is for go and means the health risk is low.

River users should also keep an eye out for potentially toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which may be prevalent during low river flows and warm temperatures. Blue green algae can be fatal to dogs and livestock if eaten, and can make humans sick. Algal cover is assessed weekly during summer at 21 popular river spots throughout the region.

Greater Wellington's Environmental Monitoring and Investigations Team, in association with Regional Public Health and local councils, uses a two-tiered warning sign system to advise river users of the risk from toxic algae.

A medium risk sign means users can still swim or walk their dogs but should keep an eye out for algal mats. A high risk sign means people should avoid contact recreation and dog walking in that part of the river.

The warning system is based on river bed coverage and algal mat exposure and follows the interim NZ Guidelines for Cyanobacteria in Recreational Fresh Waters.

More information about toxic algae, including pictures and current warnings, can be found at If you see any exposed or easily accessible algal mats, contact Greater Wellington, (04) 384 5708 or your local council's environmental health officer.

Matt Velde, Senior Communications Adviser
Greater Wellington Regional Council
142 Wakefield St
PO Box 11646
Manners St
Wellington 6142
T: 04 830 4270
M: 027 246 7691


Enjoy your time at the beach.  

All beaches in Plimmerton are alcohol-free zones and infringements should be reported to the police.  See also dog exercise areas, for restricted summer hours for dogs on our beaches.  

Boats and jet skis 


You must keep a good lookout at all times. It is
your responsibility to stay alert for other boats,
swimmers, dive boats, kayaks, hazards and
obstacles. Keep focused on the water ahead,
especially at speed. Listen as well as look.
All boats must travel at a safe speed, taking into account the amount of boat traffic in the area, weather conditions and when visibility is affected by glare. Specifically, you must not exceed a speed of 5 knots (a fast walking speed) if you are:
  • Within 200m of the shore
  • Within 200m of a boat displaying a diver’s tag
  • Within 50m of any other boat
  • Within 50m of a person swimming
  • On a power boat if any person has any part of their body outside the rails or edge of the deck.

The buoys at Karehana Bay and Plimmerton beaches mark the 200m line. If you see people breaking the law, call the Harbour Radio on 388 5470 with time, place and craft details.

Find a public boat launching facility.

For information about boating follow these links:

Plimmerton Boating Club

Plimmerton Rotary Club

Paremata Boating Club



Plimmerton is one of the best wavespots for windsurfers in Wellington.   Check out Wellington Windsurfing Association for more information about Plimmerton and other popular windsurfing spots around Wellington. 


Mid-winter dip

Plimmerton Kindy holds an annual mid-winter dip around June on the beach area closest to the Boating Club (Karehana Bay).  Hot drink and food stalls are set up along the beach on the day to help you warm up on the inside after taking the freezing cold dip.  So why not give it a go sometime if you’re feeling brave enough.


Last Updated: 04/12/2013 7:39pm