The Clutha District is home to spectacular beaches and we’re known for our diverse wildlife.
To keep our beaches safe for everyone – people, flora and fauna - there are some rules you should know about what you can do when you visit the beach
Driving on the beach
Clutha District Council has a Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw (effective from 1 January 2023), introduced to address the effect of vehicles on public safety and enjoyment, and adverse effects to the environment.
The bylaw has the following rules:
- People driving on beaches are required to do so in a way that does not threaten the safety of people, plants or native animals.
- Vehicles are not allowed on sand dunes, except to access the beach.
- Vehicles are not allowed to drive above the high-water mark, except in emergencies.
The bylaw does not include any vehicle prohibited areas (safe zones). However, it allows for safe zones to be created by Council resolution following appropriate monitoring and consultation. Monitoring may include effectiveness of existing bylaw provisions and the impacts of vehicles on human safety, wildlife and ecosystems
Dogs on beaches
You can walk your dog at a number of beaches in the Clutha District.
At many of our beaches, your dog doesn’t necessarily have to be on a leash, but you have to keep it under control.
Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife - Dog owners must place their dogs on a leash when they are within 20 metres of wildlife.
Dogs are not allowed:
Between the ‘no dog’ signs at Kaka Point - from the rocks at the northern end of the beach to the public toilets to the south of the surf lifesaving clubrooms.
At the beach from the Nuggets Fishing Camp breakwater at Tirohanga south to the boundary of the Nuggets Lighthouse Reserve.
On land administered by the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust – In the Clutha District this is Long Point. The area is signposted.
At the Sandy Bay beach, foreshore and fenced penguin breeding area.
At Catlins Heads, within the fenced penguin breeding area.
At Jacks Blowhole and Penguin Bay, within the Tunnel Rock Scenic Reserve and Blowhole viewing area.
At Hinahina Cove.
At the northern cliff end of Purakaunui Bay beach.
At Harts Rock penguin breeding area, south of Purakaunui Bay beach.
At the Cosgrove Creek Scientific Reserve (Long Point Rd, Purakaunui).
Long Point (Irihuka) beach and foreshore from Haywards Point to the tip of Long Point and including the east side of Long Point from the tip to Waterfall Bay/Chasm Island DOC Reserve.
What are the new rules in the bylaw?
The key rules in the Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw are:
• People driving on beaches are required to do so in a way that does not threaten the safety of people, plants or native animals
• Vehicles are not allowed on sand dunes, except to access the beach.
• Vehicles are not allowed to drive along the beach above the high-water mark, except in emergencies.
What about safe zone beaches?
The adopted bylaw does not include any vehicle prohibited areas (safe zones).
However, it allows for safe zones to be created by Council resolution following appropriate monitoring and consultation. Monitoring may include effectiveness of existing bylaw provisions and the impacts of vehicles on human safety, wildlife and ecosystems.
Will this bylaw stop me from getting to my crib?
No. Crib owners and visitors to the crib can still use a vehicle to access their property via the beach.
Will I still be able to launch my boat, collect seaweed or go fishing?
So long as people stick to the rules listed above, they can access the beach with a vehicle for any activity.
How will the bylaw be enforced?
Council compliance officers and rangers patrol our beaches and could issue infringement notices. Police also enforce the law, and any bylaw rules.
How to make a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about a vehicle on the beach, please get as many details as possible without putting your safety at risk. Try to record:
- the date, time and length of time the incident took place
- the make, model and registration of the vehicle involved
- a house address if the vehicle is coming from a property
- a description of the driver (or their name if possible)
- the effects (actual or potential) that you saw or experienced
You can use our feedback form, report it on the Antenno app or call us on 0800 801 350.
To report the disturbance of birds or wildlife, contact the Department of Conservation 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).