Auckland beachgoers urged to 'exercise caution' as bluebottles, faecal bacteria hit popular beaches

Bluebottle Jellyfish have been spotted at Auckland beaches.
Bluebottle Jellyfish have been spotted at Auckland beaches. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

Auckland beachgoers are being warned to "exercise caution" after two of the most popular local beaches were hit by stinging bluebottle jellyfish and high levels of faecal bacteria.

The SafeSwim site issued a hazard alert for Piha Beach on Auckland's west coast for bluebottle jellyfish in the water.

Bluebottles are bright-blue creatures that float on the surface of the ocean. They are technically siphonophores - colony organisms, not jellyfish - despite their appearance.

Their venomous tentacles cause an extremely painful sting which raises red welts. These can last several days.

According to the Ministry of Heath, the best care for a sting is to flush the stung area with seawater then immerse it in heated tap water.

Serious allergic reactions are rare, however an ambulance should be called for symptoms including shortness of breath, severe dizziness or signs of shock.

Swimmers are also warned to take care over water quality issues at several beaches due to high levels of faecal contamination - exceeding national guidelines for swimming.

In particular, there is a "very high risk of illness" at Mission Bay after a wastewater overflow in this area.

Water contaminated by human or animal faeces can contain disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Examples of these include salmonella, campylobacter, or giardia.

These can cause illnesses including gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, ear and eye infections and skin infections.

In addition, there are multiple other spots with a "high risk" of illness from swimming. They are:

  • Titirangi Beach
  • Wood Bay 
  • Green Bay 
  • Oakley Creek 
  • Meola Creek 
  • Coxs Bay 
  • Bethells Logan 
  • Piha Logan 
  • Fosters Bay