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Summer Check

Summer Check

Every summer Wellingtonians head for the beaches, rivers and lakes to enjoy the sun.

To ensure you can do so in safety, the region’s popular swimming spots are regularly monitored.

On this page you’ll find a one-stop-shop for information on water quality, summer weather, burn times and much, much more. So take a look around it before you head out into the summer sun.

What's monitored?

Beach and river water quality

During summer, Wellington’s regional, city and district councils monitor the quality of water at popular beaches and rivers each week. Toxic algae, which can make your dog very sick, is also monitored at river sites.

A summary of current warnings (bacteria count, sewage overflow and toxic algae) can be found in the table below.

If you notice a problem with water quality, report it to us on 0800 496 734.

Current warnings

Sites monitored weekly

High bacteria countsToxic algaeSewage overflow

No warnings in place at the moment.

Hutt River

No warnings in place at the moment.

Other sites

Henley Lake in Masterton currently has high levels of toxic algae and is closed for all water activities.  Contact Masterton District Council on (06) 370 6300 for more information.

Toxic Shellfish

The Ministry for Primary Industries tests shellfish and seawater samples around New Zealand each week to ensure they are not contaminated with biotoxin from blooms of algae. Public warnings are issued when shellfish are not safe to eat. View marine biotoxin (toxic shellfish) warnings.

How you can stay safe

Know your facts

You can protect yourself and your family by being aware of the some of the things that can affect water quality in certain areas.

Water quality after rain

Water quality at many river and beach swimming spots is affected in wet weather as a result of urban or rural runoff. Stay out of the water during and for up to two days after heavy rain.  

Find out more about swimming after rain.

Toxic Algae

Toxic algae, known scientifically as cyanobacteria and sometimes called blue-green algae, are an ancient group of photosynthetic bacteria. Toxic algae are widespread in rivers (and lakes) in New Zealand, including waterways with very good water quality.

Under certain environmental conditions toxic algae can form extensive mats or ‘blooms’ on the river bed which produce natural toxins. Toxic algal blooms have been recorded in a number of rivers around the Wellington region and across New Zealand.

Find out more about toxic algae.

Watch out for the weather and burn times

Keep an eye out for the weather and, in particular, sun burn times – New Zealand has some of the highest levels of damaging ultraviolet radiation. Check out your weather and burn times from the latest MetService weather and burn time forecasts below:

Stay safe in the water

Stay safe in rivers

Stay safe at the beach

All you need to know about water safety and boating, fishing, pools, rivers,diving, the water and alcohol, the Water Safety Code


Harbours and coast

Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for ensuring the safety everyone who uses the harbour and coastal waters.

For more information go to the Harbour Management page.

Related links:

Recreational boating safety

Safer boating


National water quality trends and data

LAWA measures the current state of New Zealand's rivers and shows longer-term trends, information and data.