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Taylors Mistake

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Taylor's Mistake is a beautiful bay, the most northern bay on Banks Peninsula. You will find us between Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch City, approximately 20km from the city center.

The Maori name is "Te Onepoto" meaning Short Beach. Captain Cook visited in 1769 when he circumnavigated and mapped the coastline. His lack of modern technology lead to some confusion where he mistook Banks Peninsula for an Island. Legend has it that a Captain Taylor sailed into the bay in by mistake in 1858.His intended destination was Lyttelton Harbour next door. Hence the name Taylor's Mistake. Another story relates the wreck of a small logging vessel captained by a John Vincent in 1857. Vincent's Bay didn't last long.

Public transport [Sumner bus] will deliver you to the bottom of Scarborough Hill where you can access various walking tracks to the bay 30-45 minute walk. In your vehicle you can enjoy a 3 km cruise over a winding road to the carpark and beach. Coastcare [CCC] maintain the carpark, picnic areas, playground, toilets, changing rooms, walking tracks and foreshore.

There are no shops in the bay, so bring what you need. Please note that cellphone reception is limited in and around the bay.


Surfing / Swimming Surf Boards, body boards or a relaxing dip in the surf. The water temperature varies between 10 and 20 degrees year round. Lifeguards operate during the Summer. Swim between the Flags.

Fishing The rocky coastline provides great spots for fishing. Those in the know catch Moki, Butterfish, Kahawai etc.

Snorkling With the right tide and sea conditions, good visability, allows you to explore the inshore coastline and sealife.

Beach Fun Touch rugby, cricket, frisbee, petanque etc.

Mountainbiking Enjoy the well marked tracks or make your own, day or night.

Cliff Jumping Some good spots for the thrill seekers.Take care, check water depth etc. All care no responsibility.

Paragliding Tuition and equipment is available to enjoy tandem or solo flights from Sumner Heads or the back valley.

Running / Jogging A combination of quiet roads, challenging tracks and the beach has to be better than counting lampposts.

Sightseeing Start from Sumner and follow well marked tracks over the hill and around the cliffs or start your adventure from the carpark in the Bay.

Here you will find toilets, changing rooms, water supply and walkway information and maps. There are no Shops in the bay,so bring what you need. You won't need sandfly repellant!

Foreshore access is influenced by the tide, generally 2.5m. The beach is roughly 80m bigger at low tide.

MAF Fisheries Management monitor conditions to ensure it is safe to take shellfish. They also impose restrictions on the number and size of shellfish and finfish to protect the resource for the future.

Dogs should be kept on a leash and "deposits" removed.

The main beach is about 350m across with the adjoining Hobson's Bay some 200m.

Enjoy the rockpools, the baches and the sea before you take the Godley Head Walkway to Boulder Bay and the Heads.

The more adventurous can observe the remnants of the past and imagine how idyllic it was. No high pressure water, no electricity and no traffic.

On most days you can enjoy the rockpools, cockabullies, starfish etc, seagulls and shags.

On the right day you might see oyster catcher (pied and variable), kingfishers, paradise ducks, swallows, gannets, white faced herons, blue penguins, seals, sea lions, sea elephants, hector dolphins and sharks.

With Lyttelton Habour and Port next door there is much activity on the water with shipping, sailing, powerboats, fishing boats, jet skis, kayaks and closer to the beach surfers and lifeguards.

For further infomration about the bay, check out: