Beach in New Brighton Christchurch New Zealand
Photo by Michal Klajban, CC BY-SA 4.0

Public access to esplanade reserves

Esplanade reserves are parcels of land, vested in the local territorial authority, alongside some sections of river, lake and coastline. They can be any shape or size.


Esplanade reserve use must be compatible with conservation values. Public access is provided by default but may be prohibited.

Purposes of esplanade reserves and esplanade strips

Our maps

A satellite view of a river with access highlighted to either side.

Esplanade reserves appear (in bright teal) in our maps under the layer ‘Public Access Areas’. The area shown above also shows legal road (purple). Open map

Creation and administration

Esplanade reserves are created under the Resource Management Act 1991 when land is subdivided. They are usually set up as local purpose reserves under the Reserves Act 1977.

Esplanade reserves are generally owned and administered by the local territorial authority.

Erosion and accretion

Esplanade reserves do not move with the relevant water boundary. They are affected by erosion and accretion.

Read more: Rivers, lakes and coast