Castlecliff Beach, Wanganui

Located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Castlecliff Beach in Wanganui is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With its stunning coastline, fascinating history, and unique natural attractions, Castlecliff Beach offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. In this post, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to this captivating destination.

Location and Accessibility

  • Where is Castlecliff Beach? Castlecliff Beach is located in the city of Wanganui (also spelled Whanganui), which is on the west coast of the North Island. It’s just a short drive from the city center.
  • Getting There: You can reach Castlecliff Beach by car or public transportation. If you’re driving, follow signs to Castlecliff or use GPS coordinates. Alternatively, there are regular bus services from Wanganui to Castlecliff.

The Beauty of Castlecliff Beach

  • Golden Sands: Castlecliff Beach boasts golden sands that stretch for miles, making it an ideal spot for beachcombing, sunbathing, and picnicking. The beach’s gentle gradient makes it safe for swimming and family-friendly.
  • Natural Beauty: Explore the unique landscapes around the beach, including sand dunes, wetlands, and the mighty Whanganui River mouth. These areas are not only beautiful but also teeming with wildlife.
Castlecliff Beach

Historical Significance

  • Castlecliff Wharf: The historic Castlecliff Wharf, built in 1895, is an iconic landmark. It once served as a busy port for shipping goods and passengers, but today it’s a popular spot for fishing and taking in panoramic views of the coastline.
  • Shipwrecks: Learn about the history of shipwrecks along this rugged coast. The remains of the SS Aparima, a shipwreck from 1911, can still be seen on the beach.

Activities and Adventures

  • Fishing: Castlecliff Beach is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. The wharf, beach, and nearby river mouth provide ample opportunities for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
  • Surfing: The beach has some great surf breaks, attracting surfers of all skill levels. If you’re new to surfing, consider taking lessons from one of the local surf schools.
  • Birdwatching: Bird lovers will appreciate the diverse birdlife in the area, including the opportunity to spot shorebirds, gulls, and even the occasional royal spoonbill.

Practical Tips for Your Visit

  • Best Time to Visit: Castlecliff Beach is enjoyable year-round. Summers (December to February) are perfect for beach activities. The shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
  • Weather: New Zealand weather can change rapidly, so be prepared for varying conditions. Bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a light jacket.
  • Safety: Pay attention to any posted warnings and take heed of surf conditions. Swim within designated areas and be aware of changing tides.
  • Facilities: There are public restrooms, picnic areas, and barbecue facilities available, making it easy to spend a full day at the beach.

Exploring Beyond Castlecliff Beach

  • Wanganui City: Take some time to explore the charming city of Wanganui. Visit the Sarjeant Gallery, walk along the Whanganui River, and enjoy the local cuisine at cafes and restaurants.
  • Whanganui National Park: If you’re a nature enthusiast, consider a day trip to Whanganui National Park. You can explore lush forests, pristine rivers, and even take a jet boat ride on the Whanganui River.


Castlecliff Beach in Wanganui is a treasure trove of natural beauty, history, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re relaxing on the golden sands, casting a line from the wharf, or exploring the unique landscapes, Castlecliff Beach has something for everyone.

As you plan your visit, remember to embrace the rich history of the area, respect the natural environment, and be prepared for a little adventure. Castlecliff Beach is a place where you can connect with nature, immerse yourself in history. Create lasting memories of your journey to the west coast of the North Island.

So, pack your beach gear, your sense of wonder, and your spirit of exploration. Set out to discover the hidden treasures of Castlecliff Beach, Wanganui.