Christchurch's hidden beach gems, in time for summer

Stuff
We look at some of the best places to get your tan and summer swim.

Ok, so the weather this season hasn't been great. We all wanted a bit more of a tan pre-Christmas. So much for global warming, am I right Trump?

Just for a moment close your eyes and imagine a sunny day. Now open them again and take in these suggestions of some of Christchurch's lesser-known beaches where you could spend those imaginary summer days.

Nape Nape Beach in North Canterbury is a large and undisturbed beach. On a summer's day, you're guaranteed to get a large chunk of it to yourself.
JACK FLETCHER/STUFF
Nape Nape Beach in North Canterbury is a large and undisturbed beach. On a summer's day, you're guaranteed to get a large chunk of it to yourself.

Top of the list is Nape Nape Beach. An hour and a half north of Christchurch sits this long and unpopulated gem, the sand stretching north to the horizon, south to dramatic limestone cliffs.

Occasionally popular with fishermen and campervans, you should have a fair chunk of the beach to yourself. A bush walk above the beach offers a reprieve from the sun, which should ideally appear once summer officially starts on December 22.

Tumbledown Bay, on the southern shores of Banks Peninsula, is a beach rarely visited by the crowds. Dreamy vistas of dry Canterbury hills dipping down into blue water awaits visitors to this gem.
Tumbledown Bay, on the southern shores of Banks Peninsula, is a beach rarely visited by the crowds. Dreamy vistas of dry Canterbury hills dipping down into blue water awaits visitors to this gem.

READ MORE:
Southern Sights: Nape Nape Beach one of Canterbury's most secluded beaches
Around the Bays
Why Lyttelton Harbour is nature's playground

Geographically closer but still an hour and a half away is Tumbledown Bay on the southern shores of Banks Peninsula. It's relative isolation makes for a quiet spot for a picnic or to run your dog ragged.

The bay usually attracts a few Little River locals, a good spot to pick up your picnic supplies and a coffee on the way there. Surfing is an option if the swell is there, although expect nothing more than a two-footer. Perhaps best for children's surfing rather than anything Kelly Slater-worthy.

Perhaps the best picnic beach near Christchurch is Camp Bay, less than an hour from the city. Look out over Lyttelton Harbour and soak up some expected rays.
Anna Christensen
Perhaps the best picnic beach near Christchurch is Camp Bay, less than an hour from the city. Look out over Lyttelton Harbour and soak up some expected rays.

Camp Bay, near Diamond Harbour, offers an ideal escape less than an hour from the city. On a busy day, it could take longer to get to Sumner. Drive around Lyttelton Harbour and through Purau to get to the small beach. There are several sandy alcoves close by, including one on the eastern side of Purau Bay, that could also serve your idyllic purpose.

Up for a drive through Banks Peninsula? Le Bons Bay is about as far east as you can drive in Canterbury, the reward after a little under two hours driving being a pristine example of Kiwi bach life. The beach is large, bordered by rolling hills and a river where seals often frolic.

Le Bons Bay is a quintessential Kiwi bach bay. A cluster of houses sits behind low dunes, in front of a wide beach with slow-crashing waves.
Neil Macbeth
Le Bons Bay is a quintessential Kiwi bach bay. A cluster of houses sits behind low dunes, in front of a wide beach with slow-crashing waves.

Holiday-makers atop tractors post fishing boats into the bay, with enough space across the flat beach for everyone to enjoy. Bring an umbrella and a chilly bin and set yourself up for the best of Canterbury's beach offerings. If the sun arrives, that is.

You'd struggle to drive any further east on Banks Peninsula than Le Bons Bay. The beach is bordered by rolling hills and a river where seals are often found frolicking.
You'd struggle to drive any further east on Banks Peninsula than Le Bons Bay. The beach is bordered by rolling hills and a river where seals are often found frolicking.

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