Driving on beaches


Rules for using vehicles on Muriwai and Karioitahi beaches

Apply for a permit

To apply for a permit to use your vehicle on Muriwai or Karioitahi beaches, see Driving on beaches.

Rules and guidelines

Under the Land Transport Act, beaches are legal roads, so all road rules apply. This includes speed limits, licensing of drivers, vehicle registration and warrant of fitness, alcohol use, seatbelts, helmets and driving behaviour.

Beaches are policed.

If taking a vehicle to a beach, you need to follow these guidelines. They ensure the safety of beach users and minimise your environmental impact.

  • Take safety equipment, including a spade and a rope.
  • Always drive with headlights on.
  • Stick to the hard part of the beach below the high tide line. Check tide times before you go out.
  • Access to the beach is three hours either side of low tide only.
  • Look out for partially submerged objects.
  • Stay off the dunes – fragile dune systems are damaged by vehicle use. Dune planting is used to bind the sand and reduce erosion, but bikes and 4WDs undo this work by creating tracks through vegetation which can lead to `blowouts’.
  • Always slow down when there are people or animals around. Be considerate.
  • Be aware of shorebirds nesting at high tide.
  • The vehicles permit to be on the beach must be accessible. On a mobile phone or device is fine.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a complaint about a vehicle in the dunes or on the beach, get as many details as possible:

  • exact location of offence
  • date, time and duration of activity
  • the make, model and registration of the vehicle involved, or the registration of a trailer being used to transport motor-cross bikes
  • how the vehicle is being used
  • the effects that you saw or experienced personally, or potential effects of the activity
  • a description of the driver, or their name if possible
  • photographs of the vehicle.

Who to contact

Who you should contact to make a complaint to depends on the nature of the complaint.

  • Concern for your own safety, damage to personal property, threatening behaviour: Contact the police.
  • Nuisance, public health and safety, environmental damage, bylaw information: Phone us on 09 301 0101. 
  • Impacts on wildlife, heritage areas or midden sites: Contact the Department of Conservation.

Accessing Muriwai and Te Oneone Rangatira

Public beach access points are:

  • Coast Road from Muriwai township
  • Rimmer Road (from Te Ngahere o Woodhill/Woodhill Forest) – restrictions may apply as access is controlled by Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara
  • Wilson Road.

Vehicles may only go south from the Coast Road entrance for launching or retrieving vessels. You must take the most direct route.

The speed limit around the Coast Road entrance is 30km/h.  This changes to 60km/h north of Okiritoto Stream.

All the sand dunes, the New Zealand Defence Force Bombing Range and the Department of Conservation Papakanui Spit are strictly out of bounds.

Motorbikes, kite boarding and horses don’t mix. Horse trails are out of bounds for motorbikes.

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