The main beach in the seaside retreat of Sumner is an idyllic place to spend a day in the sun away from the centre of Christchurch.
Lie on the soft, warm sand and work on your tan or swim in the shallow waters at gorgeous Sumner Beach. Explore the iconic Cave Rock or unwind with a drink at one of the bars that overlook the ocean when you visit Christchurch’s favourite weekend destination.
Officially the first beach of the stunning Banks Peninsula, Sumner Beach is a 400-metre (1,300-foot) stretch of white sand that offers everything you need for a classic Kiwi day at the seaside. While Scarborough to the east is better suited to surfing, the town beach is the best place around to enjoy some sunshine with a range of amenities close by. Head west along the beach towards the estuary and you can even find a secluded patch of sand all to yourself.
Back at the far eastern side of the beach, the imposing Cave Rock is not to be missed. Christened “Tuawera” by the Maori people, this chunk of rugged lava is said to represent the body of a whale that washed up on the beach many years ago. Discover the nooks and crannies of this huge black rock before you climb to the summit to admire pristine views along the coast.
If you get hungry, make your way along the esplanade that runs the length of Sumner and Scarborough Beach. Tuck into fantastic food at one of the cafés lining the shore or enjoy a refreshing beer at one of the nearby bars. Head farther into the village and you will discover a strong local community, with interesting shops and excellent restaurants.
Sumner is located a 20-minute drive east of Christchurch. The beach has lifeguards between November and March but caution is advised when swimming on the western side of the beach as there is often a strong current from Avon Heathcote Estuary.