NORTH ISLAND SURFING
surf Northlands east coast surefing is indented with a thousand inlets, bays and sandy coves. This is New Zealands subtropical paradise extending from Auckland to North Cape and boasting over 60 surf beaches.
The choice of surf locations on this coast could easily have you cruising in the sun and enjoying fun waves all summer long. The coastal scenery is white sand bays landlocked by dramatic cliffs, which are bright red with pohutukawa blooms each December.
This surf playground is so extensive that it is possible to name only a select few of the best surf locations. Pakiri Beach (32 kms north of Warkworth) has an excellent beach break that performs well around high tide in a 1.5 metre east swell. Visit the marine reserve at Goat Island to surf, or snorkel, with big snapper and rock lobsters.
From Pakiri up to Bream Head the coast is relatively open and exposed to east winds. Te Arai Point (48 kms north of Warkworth) and the nearby Forestry access have Excellent beach breaks in east and north-east swells. Waipu Cove (8 kms south of Waipu) is at its best in moderate swells to 1.5 metres, breaking off the rocky headland or sandbars. Nearby Mangawai Heads has an interesting left-hand break peeling across the river bar.
From Bream Head to Cape Brett there are at least 16 popular surf beaches. Sandy Bay (32 kms north of Whangarei) is notable as the prime hot spot. Also check out the left-hand bar break at Whananaki inlet.
From Cape Brett to Cape Karikari there are 20 beach breaks and some outstanding reef breaks such as Taronui Bay (14 kms north of Kerikeri). Excellent beach breaks in a large swell can be found at the beach resorts of Matauri, Tauranga and Taupo Bays.
Whangamata. In the summer time this town goes off or used to, after some rather loose New Years parties and gatherings the police and town have tightened there city rules.Whangamata features a 4 km long beach which has heaps of Excellent sandbar breaks
The Whangamata Bar at the northern end is the best spot, producing long breaks in north-easterly swells on an incoming tide. If the bar is crowded or the tidal flow is too much, you can head down the beach and choose a sandbar
Waihi Beach about 11 km east of Waihi is 10 km long, open to the north-east, and works with medium swells on an incoming tide. From its northern end a track leads across the headlands to Orokawa Bay, which has bigger waves, often accompanied by a heavy undertow.
Tairua Beach about 64 kms north of Waihi is a thriving holiday resort. It has great sandsand bars onto a white sand beach. Swells around 1 - 2 metres perform well on an incoming tide, but undertows become a serious issue as the swell increases. The Tairua Bar produces an ok lefthand break, which can be accessed from the Pauanui side. Boating activity and a swift tidal current can create problems here.
Hot Water Beach about 16 kms south of Whitianga has excellent beach/reef breaks in moderate easterly swells and offers the bonus of a luxurious soak in hot thermal pools. Scoop out a hollow in the sand at low tide, and within minutes you are bathing in your own private spa bath.
Whangapoua Beach works when the swells come from the east or north-east. If the swells are small, a short walk over the north headland to New Chums Beach .
The Bay of Plenty was Labelled by its discoverer Captain Cookof the Endeavour. When the swells are running there are good ridable waves at most surf spots along the bay from Matakana Island to the Motu River mouth.
Mt Maunganui about 19 km east of Tauranga is a popular beach some what over ratedand over populated. This beach is a great holiday venue with it's golden sands and ok waves in a north or north-east swell. The Mount is New Zealands eqiuvilent to Queenslands Gold Coast and the first view of this beach gives an Excellent feel.
The Mount was a first in New Zealands surfing boom, being the third Surfboard Riders Club to be formed after Takapuna and Raglan. Ocean Beach over the southern headland, extends to Papamoa and offers a series of ok beach breaks on the right day, which can be accessed via footpaths off the main coastal road.
Across the Tauranga harbour entrance from The Mount is the long exposed shoreline of Matakana Island. A powerful north-easterly swell on a high tide produces great sand Barrels, the waves here tend to be bigger and more hollow than those at The Mount. You need to hire a boat to gain access to the island or you can paddle the channel at the right tide ask around .
Whakatane Heads about 2 kms from Whakatane has a consistent Sand bar break on the northern side of the Whakatane River mouth. The best conditions are a 1-2 metre swell from the north. You need to paddle across the river to get to the north side of the bar. Ohope Beach about 6 kms east of Whakatane is a popular holiday resort where northerly swells can get hollow waves breaking on a shallow bottom.
Maketu about 16 kms east of Te Puke has a right-hand bar break on the west side of the Maketu Point. Newdicks Beach on the east side can deliver very Excellent beach breaks in an east or north-east swell.
Waikanae is the main town the beach here is great for learning . Wainui Beach about 6 kms from Gisborne is the great spot for surfers of all levels . The best waves are found off the southern reefs , offering superb right and left breaks. The Island 1 km before Wainui has Gisbornes longest tubes. There are two left hand reef breaks which work in big southerly swells,
Gisbornes surf has attracted surfers since the early 1960s. The coastline recieves ocean swells coming from the east and south so you can usually catch a wave at one of the local beaches. Dawn surfing is a buzz because Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sunrise each day.
Makorori Point Whangamata 8 kms from Gisborne , which has all the qualities of a perfect surfing hangout. A righ breaks over a shallow reef system setting up a long sweeping ride . Watch for a south or south-east swell and waves around 2 - 3 metres from mid to high tide
Makarori Centre is north of the Point and produces Excellent right and left breaks that build over reefs and sandbars. The best conditions are swells from the south or east at mid to high tide. North Makarori also has the potential for Excellent surf in easterly swells. Pouawa Beach Whangamata 19 kms north of Gisborne is another place an east swells.
The East Cape north of Gisborne, is worth a visit as it offers some excellent beach breaks at Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Waipiro Bay and Hicks Bay.
Surf Mahia Peninsula is one of the east coast hidden treasures with excellent swells unleashing on both sides of the triangular peninsula . Camp yourself at Mahia or Opoutama camps and you can follow the waves to Diners Beach on the east coast, or other hot spots on the north and west coasts.
Diners (30 km from Mahia Camp) surfs well in a light east or south-east swell and is better if the other Mahia breaks are mellow. The Spit is closer to Mahia and creates a left-hander along the reef in a north-east swell. Look along the coast and towards Table Cape and you will see plenty of reef breaks
Mahanga Beach is relatively sheltered on the northern coastline with Excellent beach and reef breaks on all tides, is suitable for less experienced surfers. Oputama Beach is well protected and also Excellent for beginners who want to learn on small southerly swells.
Waikokopu Bay and Point Annihilation (40 kms east of Wairoa) are where the big action begins in 2 metre south swells. It can be a long paddle out to the line up, but this right reef break gives a long ride into a small bay. face towards Oputama from the Point car park and you will spot a break called Tracks, where the railway line runs with the coastline. Tracks is a right-hand point break, less dramatic than the Point, and easier to ride.
Waikokopu is a reef break that really delivers in big southerly swells. Stones is an apt description as the pounding waves actually move boulders around on the seabed in a big swell. The Stones holds the ultimate stand-up barrels on this coast but the rugged reefs show no mercy to the young and inexperienced.
Black Reef (35 kms east of Wairoa) has the consistent left and right-hand reef breaks, which are best at low tide in a moderate south swell.
Napier, New Zealands art deco capital, is the main centre of activity in the bay. Hardings Road 2 kms north of Napier next to the shipping port at Ahuriri, is an excellent place to start . This right-hand point break needs a good swell . The Reef at the south end of Westshore Beach about 3 kms north of Napier can produce good waves
Up the coast are Waipatiki which has A consistent beach break in the right swells and Stingray Bay, out from Tangoio, has an exciting right-hand point break in easterly swells.
On the southern headland of Hawkes Bay is the famous Cape Kidnappers gannet colony and surfers can really score some great surf on this part of the coast.
.Haumoana about 6 kms south of Awatoto a good right that breaks over the shallow sand-bar of the Tukituki River mouth, watch the rip on outgoing tides. Te Awanga about 16 kms east of Hastings is the base for visits to the gannet colony and sits at the mouth of the Maraetotara River, where you can surf an excellent right-hand point and reef break in easterly swells.
Waimarama about 32 kms south-east of Hastings is a standout surf location with left and right-hand reef and beach breaks. This beach picks up southerly swells at times, giving good waves that offer tube rides. To the north is Ocean Beach, which has a multitude of hollow waves over its beach bars and changing sandbanks.
Surf Wairarapa Surfing There are lots of unridden waves over the hill from Wellington in the Wairarapa region. You just need your surfboard, a tent, Excellent mates and the desire to foot it around this rugged coast to nail the best waves. The access roads are mainly loose gravel, and the weather is notoriously changeable, but the rewards are found in consistently big waves.
The excitement begins at Palliser Bay , Lake Ferry or Ning Nong Point and Ning Nong Reef (64 kms from Featherston). These spots have an assortment of reef and beach breaks which produce Excellent waves on all tides, and are rated by some locals as the best surfing locations in the Wellington region. Surfers can enjoy big south swells along this coast to Cape Palliser but be wary of undertows and consult with locals where you can.
White Rock (48 kms from Martinborough) is widely acclaimed as a big wave location a scaled down New Zealand equivalent of Hawaiis Sunset Beach. It has the heaviest surf conditions on this coast but provides you with a range of left and right-hand reef and beach breaks on all tides. South of the road end is The Spit, which works well on an incoming tide producing waves that can satisfy the most discerning surf junkies.
Tora is up the coast from White Rock and provides Excellent competition for the big wave title. The main breaks are called Stix, Bombora, The Point and Shipwreck. These are all reef breaks pouring over shallow rock shelves and boulder banks and thus warrant a healthy respect !.
Riversdale (56 kms east of Masterton) offers good fun breaks and are rated for fun rather than heavy. Castlepoint (69 kms east of Masterton) offers outstanding beach breaks coming off a series of sandbanks and is considered by most to be a top class surfing spot. The Reef, The Gap and Christmas Bay are the three best breaks, all being powerful and fast in heavy groundswell conditions.
The changeable conditions mean that there are limited surfing challenges around Wellington it's self . However, the big south swells can hit some excellent breaks under the right conditions. The long stretches of sandy coastline curving up through the Manawatu to Wanganui also offer excellent breaks over sandbanks.
Wellingtons south coast surf is Lyall Bay. This big open bay has a Maranui Surf Club, members here pioneered surf riding on 5 metre boards back in the 20s. The Wall is the prime spot in the bay. A sandbank off the end of the airport breakwater can carry you right to the beach on an good day. Houghton and Island Bays lie west of Lyall Bay and offer Excellent reef and beach breaks in a strong south ground swell.
Up the west coast from Wellington brings you to Titahi Bay where there are excellent beach breaks. Further up the coast, holiday beaches such as Otaki, Foxton and Himatangi can provide Excellent breaks at high tide with a heavy west or south-west swell.
Wanganui River mouth (13 kms south of Wanganui) creates a fine left-hand bar break in a south swell. South Beach across the river also works at high tide in a big swell. Castlecliff Beach to the north of the river mouth offers three main beach breaks which work well at high tide when a swell is running.
Kai-Iwi Beach (16 kms from Wanganui) is a popular swimming and surfing venue with an irregular beach break at high tide. Waitotara, also known as The Point (32 kms north of Wanganui) has fantastic left and right-hand reef breaks, which hold up to 4 metre waves when conditions are suitable.
One of Best surfing spots in this part of New Zealand, is situated in the quiet town of Raglan 48 kms west of Hamilton.
Indicators is by far the best break in the raglan area and is protected by the local crew if you want a great surf experience, and can hold your own in hollow waves then go and mix it up, if not stay clear of the Indicators point there is no a good display of friendly localism here, head for the surf breaks south of Raglan, which can also produce fun waves or just keep going south to Taranaki where there is more wave variety and less crowded conditions
Manu Bay about 8 kms from Raglan, you can indulge yourself in a topclass, world-renowned left-hand break, this is a good place to start and gets you in to the feel of the place. rumour has it that Manu Bay has the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world this might be the case but it is also now the most crowded, and there are other longer lefts in Taranaki but that is another story. Manu Bay was featured in the 1966 cult surfing movie Endless Summer.
For more tasty waves head to Whale Bay, 2 kms further west. This bay has a Maori tradition as a healing place . Today Whale Bay is a hotspot for surfing, relaxation and beauty, Whale Bay is the access point to Indicators and you must pay attention here when entering the water some locals have been killed here so even experience can pay the ultimate price.
Just 1 km off Whale Bay is a superlative razor-edged left-hand point break called Indicators, which includes The Valley as its inside section. This area is very exposed and produces hollow waves, which barrel down the long boulder point for some 300 metres before entering The Valley, providing long rides.
While Raglan surf can be consistent the rocky ledges and reefs command respect and make surfing experience essential - this is not grommet or learner territory.
Ruapuke about 60 kms from Hamilton, surfed on any tide off the north headland. This place is worth checking out, if Raglan is too small . Also Sunset Beach at Port Waikato about 32 km south of Tuakau enjoyable in big, clean swell conditions.
Auckland has average to good surf locations, with two coasts and several north facing beaches just an hours drive this is also considered a dis-advantage what with 1/3 of New Zealand population also near by.
West coast surf starts at Piha about 40 kms west of Auckland, this is a busy black sand beach break very powerful with plenty of water moving around this beach also takes its fare share lives ,the views are stunning . This is a popular west coast beach in New Zealand and has good left and right-handers . There are levels of surf for all surfers.
Muriwai about 50 kms from Auckland has a long history, as surfing was first demonstrated to surf club members way back in 1915. The beach has easy access and a variation of waves. Muriwai Beach runs 30 kms up to the Kaipara Harbour, the entire beach being classified as a public road. The best surfing is at the southern headland and off the river mouth 1 km north. Just over the hill from Muriwai is Maori Bay with left and right-hand point breaks in any winds from the east.
Bethells Beach about 8 km south of Muriwai is best surfed on smaller swells from the east. The beach breaks can be ok on an incoming tide and as usual beware of rips and holes on outgoing tides.Over the northern headland is ONeills Bay, which is a right-hander off the southern point. locals favour Karekare Beach about 4 km south of Piha as a consistant surfing spot. A left hander peels off the island in light easterlies and works on an incoming tide. There is a fast point break at the northern rocky point and messy beach breaks in the middle of the bay. Outgoing tides can produce rips
The Tasman Sea - endless lines of waves stacked to the horizon. When southerly winds are pushing up the swells, the place to be is Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara (16 kms west of Kaitaia). This surfing icon at the southern tip of the famous Ninety Mile Beach has one of New Zealands many word class left-hand point breaks. It was featured in the ground breaking 1960s surf movie The Endless Summer, and has never looked back since then as a popular surfing venue. The bay performs well on all tides and given big swells
Mukerau Beach is 2 kms west of Shipwreck Bay and offers waves, which are usually twice as big. You can pull off kilometre long rides. From Mukerau Beach the west coast stretches over 200 kms down to the Kaipara Harbour with most uncharted beach breaks awaiting exploration. Access can be difficult to these untouched bays and headlands and often requires permission to cross farmland.
Half way up the Ninety Mile Beach is a prominent reef called The Bluff (64 kms from Awanui), which has fantastic beach breaks on both sides. The prevailing south swells produce the best waves on the north side around mid tide. Entry off the outer rocks needs care, as there are numerous rips. Camping is available but access from the beach to the campsite and inland to Te Kao is via a soft sand track only negotiable by 4WD vehicles. If you have time cruise up to Scott Point for some challenging beach and point breaks.
At Cape Reinga view the spectacular merging of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. beach breaks exist at Spirits Bay and Tapotupotu Bay where camping is permitted. As each summer day dawns you will hear the sweet music of white water
All The Barrier surf beaches will provide you with an enjoyable surfing experience, but care is needed when waves peak over 2 metres.
Whangapoua Beach is only a short walk from Okiwi Airfield and is straight across the island from the Port Fitzroy ferry terminal. Excellent surf breaks over sandbanks across the mouth of the Whangapoua Estuary producing beaut barrels in a north-easterly swell.
The other three Excellent beach breaks are down the coast near Claris Airfield and across the island from the other ferry terminal at Tryphena. Awana Beach is noted for its Excellent all year round surfing conditions and the choice of waves resulting from rapidly shifting sandbanks.
The largest beach on the east coast is Kaitoke boasting a number of Excellent beach breaks all the way down to the island at the south end. The sweetest sand sand bars are normally at Palmers Beach at the north end and in front of the Kaitoke Creek mouth.
Medlands is the nearest surf beach to Tryphena and has Excellent sand sand bars along its entire length, particularly on an incoming tide. Shark Alley is a popular right hand break at the southern end that moves over rocky reefs and sand bars.