An outer suburb, it is situated on the eastern shore of Wellington Harbour, 5 kilometres south of the main Lower Hutt urban area, and directly across the harbour from the Miramar Peninsula in Wellington city. It is reached from Lower Hutt by a narrow exposed coastal road via the industrial suburb of Seaview. It comprises some 2000 residential homes spread over the seven main small bays of Point Howard, Lowry Bay, York Bay, Mahina Bay, Days Bay, Rona Bay and Robinson Bay, although only the last two are commonly considered part of Eastbourne itself. There are also two smaller bays; Sunshine Bay & Sorrento Bay.
Close to the sea and catching afternoon sun, the bays are quite steep with the lower reaches having homes, many with spectacular harbour views. Higher up there is mainly native bush and trees. With a locally administered possum eradication program much of the native bush has regenerated including some magnificent red flowering northern rātā trees. The bush has numerous tracks running to and from them including a track along the entire bays hills ridge. It also has sheltered swimming beaches that are a major attraction. Eastbourne is also a popular windsurfing and kitesurfing location during Wellington’s frequent windy weather.
There is a regular trans-harbour ferry service between Wellington and Eastbourne, which docks at the Days Bay wharf in Eastbourne and at Queen's Wharf close to down-town Wellington. The ferry is an alternative to (and is normally faster than) the bus link run by Cityline Hutt Valley around the harbour. A one-way ferry journey takes about 25 minutes, while a bus or car from Wellington can take 30 minutes, and closer to 60 minutes during rush hour.
Prior to its amalgamation into Lower Hutt, the Borough of Eastbourne was a separate town, with its own council and civic administration. The Eastbourne Community Board is a remnant of the town council and remains vocal on local issues. After much unhappiness with the council and community board an independent group calling itself "Eastbourne Rights" was set up and one of its first issues was to promote the secession from Lower Hutt and amalgamation with Wellington City Council.
Eastbourne has one volunteer fire brigade which is located in Makaro Street, near one of the three local primary schools, Muritai School. The other schools are San Antonio School and Wellesley College.
The main township has cafes, a delicatessen, a book shop, restaurants, a small supermarket, several takeaways, a fresh fruit & veg shop, a Dairy, pharmacy, antique shop, Pub (tavern), beauty salons, gift stores, butcher, computer shop, and womans fashion store.
At the end of Eastbourne beyond Burdan's gate there is a long pedestrian-only coastal road (unsealed) which extends out to the Wellington Harbour entrance heads. The backdrop terrain is steep, exposed and beautifully natural. There are 3 lighthouses at the heads. The coastal road is a popular weekend walk for locals and tourists.
Days Bay has particular associations with the young Katherine Mansfield, as her parents owned a hoilday house in the bay. The story "At the Bay" was based on her experiences of staying in Days Bay as a child.
The wharf in Days Bay was built by brothers Maurice (aka Morris) and John Kleinjan, who immigrated from the Netherlands and set up a successful construction company. The first step onto the wharf has Kleinjan Brothers carved into the concrete.
Eastbourne contains a family called the O'Brien/Broadbents; in this family is Julian O'Brien producer of Country Calendar.