The best surfing spots in New Zealand


New Zealand surfing


Sometimes, in New Zealand, it can feel like you're in the middle of the ocean. While this may sometimes be a problem, it can also be a blessing. Australia steals the top prize for surfing in Oceania, however, this does not mean that New Zealand is not a worthy contender. There are waves and breaks to suit all surfing abilities, dedicated surf camps for beginners and some adrenaline pumping challenges for the more seasoned surfer, and, unlike some places in Australia, absolutely no chance of being stung by an irukandji jellyfish. Here are a few recommendations for wave seekers travelling the land of the long white cloud.

Raglan is arguably New Zealand's most famous surfing spot (in photo). Centred around a small, bohemian town on the West Coast of the North Island. Consistent conditions make it ideal and predictable, and the local surf culture is strong, so much so that it has become the go-to destination for beach bums and wave chasers. Being a surfing community, there are multiple board rental shops, surf schools and multi-day surf camps. Ngarunui Beach is an excellent place for beginngers; a black sand beach which serves as the main beach for the town. It is heavily patrolled by lifesaving crew so, should anything go wrong, you'll be in safe hands. For those looking for a bit more a challenge, Manu Bay and Whale Bay will present some wilder waves that will test your ability.
Also the location of a beach lifesaving documentary show, Piha Beach is a challenging break just north of Auckland which should be on every experienced surfer's to-do list. Be sure to check the rip currents here before you get into the water, as these are particularly strong and could land you in a spot of trouble if you're not careful. For those who aren't experienced, it is highly recommended taking a guide with you so that they can tell you how to look for currents and how to deal with the situation, should you accidentally find yourself inside one. This wild and windy area is also lush with greenery and stunning, scenic, subtropical forest which can be accessed through multiple tracks.
Just across the ocean from Auckland is the Coromandel Peninsula, where you an find Whangapoua. Being away from the main city and a little bit of a hassle to get to, you can find some uncrowded and peaceful surfing spots where you won't have to contend with your fellow surfers for the next perfect wave. The beach is safe for swimming as it is protected by rocky headlands to the north and south.
Napier is absolutely not a surfing community as the water is usually completely flat or completely wild, and the rocky shore drops off quickly into the ocean, meaning conditions are not ideal. That said, strangely enough to the north of the container port, there is one narrow stray wave going from the ocean into the port of Ahuriri which attracts local surfers for a long and gentle ride. It is a particularly unique and weird thing to witness, and worth trying out for a one off novelty.
St Clair
On the South Island, close to the city of Dunedin is St Clair Beach. This is a fairly popular spot being close to one of the main cities on the island, so securing your personal space can be easier said than done, but the beach offers excellent breaks for consistent rolling waves and occasionally even hollow waves. There is a plethora of restaurants and bars surrounding the beach and so, at the end of the day, when you can't stand up on a board any longer, you can sit and relax with a glass of sublime Otago Pinot Noir. There is nothing between the beach an the antarctic, so be prepared in the winter for some cooler waters to say the least.
Farewell Spit
North of Nelson and further up than the Abel Tasman National Park is Farewell Spit. While it may be the site of an extremely unfortunate whale beaching in 2017, it is also a pristine location to escape the crowds and to hit the waves. The main surfing spot is called Pillar Point, and provides surfers with long and fast rides, as well as the possibility of encountering some spectacular coastal wildlife.


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