Motueka Saltwater Baths

Just off the Great Taste Trail on the Motueka waterfront lies an unexpected and free public swimming pool. The so-called ‘public baths’ are nested right on the foreshore, where the waterline rises and falls with the tidal ebb and flow.

It’s the only pool of its type in the region, and even listed on Heritage New Zealand as an historic place.

The story goes back to the 1920s, when it is said that sharks made the bay too dangerous to swim. The first structure was a galvanised wire cage, but this soon rusted in the salt water. A pool was built in 1938, upgraded in 1950, and again in 1992.

Today the baths have concrete walls and flooring, and wooden decking. There is a grassy picnic area on the foreshore, BBQ facilities, shade trees and toilets.

The saltwater baths offer a welcome spot to dip and cool off on a hot day. You can park your bike, chill out on the Motueka waterfront, or discover Port Motueka from here.

The saltwater baths are located inside the Motueka sandspit, famous for being home to the migrating bar tailed godwit (kuaka). The tidal flats are a feeding ground for seabirds, but a potential trap for unsuspecting boaties – you will also notice the Janie Seddon shipwreck further along the shoreline.

From the Great Taste Trail, access the Motueka Beach Reserve and saltwater baths from the beach end of Old Wharf Road and turn right onto the narrower shared track. It takes about five minutes.