SURfing NEW ZEALAND
With 15,000 kilometres of coastline featuring a variety of breaks, waves, points and reefs, New Zealand's reputation as a world-class surfing destination is well-earned. From Raglan's legendary left-hand point break to Surf Highway 45 along the Taranaki coast, it's as if nature designed New Zealand with surfers in mind.
Wherever you are, you're never far from the sea and — chances are — a pumping break.
A Mystical & Majestic Coastline
North Island — Te Ika A Maui
New Zealand's North Island has an abundance of raw and rugged, unspoiled coastline. A drive between the West Coast's Tasman and East Coast's Pacific Oceans can take as little as an hour giving you more surf options than most places around the world. Below are simply a few of — and far from all — the best breaks to get lost in while you're here.
Raglan is best known for its surf. Eight kilometres from the Raglan township is a series of surf breaks including Indicators, Whale Bay, Manu Bay, Vortex Bay. Manu Bay was featured in the 1966 film The Endless Summer.
Indicators is a left hand point break that breaks for up to 600m, from 2 to 10 feet+ (Hawaiian scale).
Whale Bay is a left hand point break that breaks up to 200m in length, from about 2 to 8 feet+.
Manu Point is a left hand point break which works from 2 to 10 feet+, breaking over 300m.
Vortex Bay is a soft peak east of the boat ramp that sometimes breaks on low tide when the swell is too large for the main three points.
Shipwreck bay, 90 mile
Shipwreck Bay is well known for excellent surf, with some of the world's longest rides.
The bay is sandy with a few rocks around the point. Shipwreck Bay has two waves, with Shipwreck Bay or Wreck Bay being the left hand point break coming through onto the beach, and Peaks further out, around to the west, also a left hand point break. The wreck is a softer, cruisy wave with a nice long ride. The peak has a gnarly take off with an awesome barrel section into a nice wally wave that continues for a really long ride, on a good day. You may want to walk back round the beach to join the line up. The peak is a long walk to get to but with a 4x4 you can drive on the beach.
Shipwrecks works from 1.5ft + and is at the southern end of the 4x4 drive-on 90 mile beach.
Wainui is a sandy beach break that's well-renowned in New Zealand.
Wainui has several peaks down the beach. Whales at the north end, Pines out front of the surf club, Schools out front of Wainui School, and Stock route down the south end of Wainui beach. Wainui beach often has a sucky, gnarly drop in with quite a fast breaking barrel. Best for intermediate or better surfers.
Wainui works from 1ft - 8ft and is one of many great breaks in the Gisborne region, in an area which has produced many National Champion Surfers.
While at Gisborne there are a number of other breaks to try so make sure to check them out.
Karekare is a beach break on a black sandy beach, located just south of Piha and what will be your first stop as the home of Quiver-South on Aucklands west coast.
There are several peaks along the beach with both right and left handers. The wave is punchy and hollow, with barrels on offer. Theres a good left hand barrel at the south end of the beach.
A part of a scientific reserve, the surroundings here are beautiful and its a place where you get to feel the spirit of New Zealand.
Good for intermediate to expert surfers.
Tuamoto Isl, Gisborne
Tuamotu Island is a reef break with a right and left point break on a rocky point, located out off Sponge Bay, between Sponge Bay and The Cliff. Requires a long paddle from Sponge Bay out to Tuamotu Island.
The surf breaks off the point on the surf eastern tip of the island. The left hand point break then breaks along the south side of the island and the right hander breaks along the eastern side. The wave is powerful and hollow with plenty of barrels on the cards as it races along the reef, providing nice long rides on the left hander.
Expert surfers only.
The home of Quiver-South and a solid beach break which is regarded as a top surf spot in New Zealand. With a drive thats just under an hour, when you arrive here from Auckland Airport to the Quiver-South HQ, you will feel as if your miles away from anywhere.
Our favourite place to be, with rugged cliffs and the majestic Lion Rock standing guard over the beach, the scenery is dramatic and inspiring. The beach is backed by the Waitakere Ranges, a protected parkland of sub-tropical forest, accessible through numerous bush tracks. When the swell is small, good surf can often be found up the Big Beach at North Piha, while wedgy peaks break on both sides of Lion Rock where currents can help with the paddle out.
South Island — Te Waipounamu
New Zealand's South Island is picture perfect with nearly surreal landscapes and seascapes. It may be harder to find the breaks here but it doesn't mean that they're not there. A trip through is an experience on the bucket list of many, and adding some waves just might make the perfect trip.
Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching, spectacular snow capped mountains and epic right-hand point breaks. Kaikoura’s waves are intensified by deep ocean trenches and tidal upwellings. The majority of the surf breaks are located in a small geographic area and features its own micro climate in winter where mountains funnel down light offshore winds creating amazing glassy conditions.
St Kilda, Dunedin
St Kilda is one of Dunedins local breaks, just minutes from Dunedin center. St Kilda is a beach break on a golden sand beach. Its a long stretch of beach, so you can find you own spot and avoid any crowds. Good for beginners through to experts.
St Clair, Dunedin
St Clair is a popular local spot in Dunedin and can get a bit busy on a good day in the summer. St Clair is a sandy beach break which sometimes has a good right hander off the rocky point by the salt water swimming pool. It can get hollow and offer good barrels. Good for all levels.
Consistent Aramoana Spit can throw square barrels on NE swells, breaks on all tides and SW winds. The jetty provides easy entry for experts when big. Breaks all up the beach. Situated North of Dunedin. Seals and sharks present.
Catlins Coast is situated at the South Eastern tip of New Zealand in a scenic region that is in the firing line of huge swells coming un-broken from under Africa and Australia. Big wave riders will get their fix here more often than most but there's also waves for everyone.
Big Bay, Fiordland
On the southwest tip of the Island, the Fiordlands were sculpted by ancient glaciers and is an unscathed surfing area which people say may hold some of the biggest rideable waves. With no roads leading to the coast, the only access is by helicopter. 'The Last Frontier' for surf in Aotearoa.