Sumner Beach, Christchurch Overview

A visit to the city of Christchurch would be incomplete without soaking up a little sun and working on that beautiful tan at the gorgeous Sumner Beach, away from the hustle and bustle of Christchurch city. It is the perfect getaway for both – the solo traveller and the family on vacation. It offers a brilliant view of the area and is only 12 kilometres away from central Christchurch. An ideal day trip from the city – one can spend the day having a few drinks with friends and relaxing next to the ocean. Sports enthusiasts can also rent a bicycle and ride along the coast to the beach.

The Cave Rock at Sumner beach is not to be missed – one can go exploring, or simply nap in the shade before heading out into the sun and sand. You could also climb up Cave Rock for some great views! The beach is clean and well-maintained by the authorities, which makes it great for a swim or a few beers by the sea.

A favourite spot among the surfers of the area, the sea line is dotted with locals going out into the sea and testing the waves during the summer. There are several restaurants and cafes lined up right outside, which serves fresh seafood and pretty beachside views – although, beware of the hungry seagulls!

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Things to Do

Sumner beach has something to offer for everyone. Here are a few options to choose from:
  • Surfing and Bodyboarding – The Sumner beach has a surf school with experienced trainers, who can help beginners to advanced surfers. Bodyboarding lessons are also offered here. Surfboard and wetsuit rentals are also available at the school.
  • Swimming – The beach is well-maintained and clean, and taking a dip in the cool water on a warm day is a delight. Although there are rip currents present at certain places, there is constant patrolling to make sure no harm is caused to anyone. Showers and public toilets are also present at the beach.
  • Cave Rock – One can wander inside and explore this majestic cave at the beach, and just relax in the cool shade. If you’re adventurous enough, you could climb up for a great sunset or sunrise view.
  • Clock Tower – On one side of the beach stands an old picturesque clock tower, which is worth checking out while on a beachside stroll.
  • Bars and cafes – The beach is dotted with multiple food joints which serve local, fresh seafood. One of the most popular places is Beach Bar, among other great places to have a few drinks with friends while enjoying the sunset. Save your food from the snappy seagulls though!


Sumner Beach lies at a coastal valley and is surrounded by volcanic ridges on all sides. The beach lies at the curve of a hillock which emerges from the city of Christchurch and gently merges with the sea. The volcanic ridges can be seen from the beach, and many of them are even dotted with houses. Some of these rocky outcrops have exposed and steep cliffs that drop right into the ocean at various points along the coast.

Cave Rock, undoubtedly, stands out on the beach and is accessible to the public, and can be climbed upon. There is also a small off-shore outcrop called Shag Rock, now called Shag Pile, which was accessible to yachts earlier but was reduced to rubble in the 2011 earthquake, which destroyed many cliffs and rendered large parts of the area uninhabitable. Reconstruction and restoration work has been going on and the city strives to revive after such a great loss.

Sumner Beach

How To Reach Sumner Beach

1. Bus - The beach is accessible by the Christchurch bus service. There are two bus stations close by, both of which are a three-minute walk from the beach. They are Main Rd Near Marriner St and Marriner St Near Main Rd. The P (purple) bus line operates in this part. It is the cheapest way to commute to and from the beach.

2. Taxi services – Cab services, such as Uber, are popular and easily available in the city and cost around NZD 25 - 30.

3. Car – The beach is a 13-kilometre drive from the centre of Christchurch, and will take you around 20 minutes. Parking services are available around the area.

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