Hays Bay

Hays Bay

Hays bay is a small beach around Banks Peninsula at the northern end of Charteris Bay. It doesn’t ever get crowded so you’re almost always guaranteed to find a spot to spread out your towel. Whether it be kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding, floating, wading or swimming that you fancy there is a good chance you’ll be able to do it from Hays Bay. If you’re not the type for a swim a walk leads around from Hays Bay to Diamond Harbour. The sea floor takes a while to go out making it ideal for young families and little ones, or if you feel like a bit of a wade. If you are after a more serious swim drive a further 10 minutes and you’ll reach Purau Bay. At high tide you can dive off the wharf or swim from the beach. If you’re looking for a sandy beach somewhere remote Camp Bay is an ideal spot for a swim.

A number of locals heading out for a wade at the beach

43°38′08″S 172°42′50″E

In Detail

It’s a good idea to check the Lyttleton tides before you head out around the bays. If the tide is low at Hays Bay you’ll find you’ll soon be plugging through the mud. For most this which isn’t quite the most desirable feeling that you could ask for. You’re able to go out a relatively long way without the water getting deep. On a boiling hot day remember to pack the inflatables, sunscreen, plenty of water. If you are in need of a toilet whilst you are at the bay, the closest are in Diamond Harbour’s Stoddart Point Recreation Reserve. Alternatively you can find toilets back along Marine Drive at the main beach at Charteris Bay.

Someone on a kayak beginning their journey out from Hayes Bay as they enjoy the warm weather

Getting to Hays Bay

From Christchurch there are three possible ways to get to Hays Bay from the city. Depending on where you live, either take the Lyttleton or go over Dyers Pass or Gebbies pass. Each of these routes will eventually let you reach Teddington. There is only one main road to Hays Bay from Teddington. Follow Charteris Bay Road which later changes to Marine Drive. Just off Marine Drive is a small and a new housing division down a street called Black Rock Road. Park along the side of the road somewhere and you’ll find a short path that leads down to the bay.

Hays Bay Weather

Hays bay is reasonably sheltered from strong gusts of wind that may come into Lyttleton Harbour due to it’s geographical orientation. On a hot summers day when the temperature is up above 25 degrees and many of the other bays around Lyttleton Harbour are packed, you should always be able to find some space at Hays Bay. In winter and early spring the water temperature can still be quite cold.

Hays Bay

Getting down to this little tucked away bay isn’t too difficult. There is a short path that leads down from Blackrock Drive that you can easily walk in a jandals, or barefoot if you’re tough. It only takes a couple minutes before you’ll be able to find yourself a spot on the beach. The depth of the water goes out very gradually at this bay. If you’ve got young kids that are getting used to the water and the beach it’s a great spot otherwise sunbathing on your inflatable lilo.

Looking down from the start of the 5 minute walk down the hill to Hays Bay

The beach is mostly made up of shells and small rocks. Not the same sandy type of beach that you’ll find on the east coast. You can comfortably lie out your beach towel and there is never a worry about getting sand right through your hair. Like many other beaches around Lyttelton Harbour soon after you get out a little way out there the sea floor gets muddy and goopy. Doing a bit of relaxed doggy paddle or floating helps to avoid your feet from ever touching the bottom. I wouldn’t advise to wear a pair of sandals in the water. It won’t be long before you find that it’s stuck in the mud and you can no longer find it. It’s pleasant to just go for a float here.

Top: A seagull swoops in through the frame as man takes a dip in the water to cool off from the heat
Looking around the coastline of Hays Bay at low tide