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Wellington Region

Can I swim here?

The Greater Wellington Regional council (GWRC) assesses the recreational suitability of over 80 sites throughout the region, from 25 river sites and over 60 beach and estuary sites. These areas serve as popular sites for swimming and fishing activities, as well as camping, cycling and tramping.


Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Recreational Water Quality Programme is specifically designed to inform the public about the suitability of various sites across the region for swimming and other recreational activities. The safety of water for swimming is determined by measuring ‘faecal indicator bacteria’ (E. coli and enterococci) which indicates the likely levels of pathogens in the water. Monitoring is conducted on a weekly basis over the summer months (December to March).

The recreational water quality of the Wellington Region is generally good, although it is recommended that people do not swim for at least two days after heavy rainfall. This is because some sites can be affected by faecal contamination from rural and urban run-off.  Some sites may also be affected by cyanobacteria (‘toxic-algae’) blooms during the summer. For the latest water quality and toxic algae warnings go to our GWRC webpage Is it safe to swim?

Monitored sites in the Wellington Region

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