The best areas for Surfing New Zealand

When you think of surfing New Zealand the first thoughts coming to mind is cold and adventure.

The best environments of a proper surf adventure are surfing New Zealand. With 15,000km of natural coastline and hundreds of small bays and coves benefiting some fantastic breaks, surfing New Zealand you'll experience some of the best waves around.

We put together a list of the best areas for surfing New Zealand. All of these areas are great for all levels of abilities for surfing New Zealand!

If you’re an adventurous and are looking for your next surf adventure, think about traveling as far south as you can and surfing New Zealand. It has surf breaks all around the country, including a few of the best left-hand breaks in the world. Pair this with a chill view on life and surfing New Zealand is a perfect adventure for you

Great spots for surfing New Zealand

90 Mile Beah – Northland

The famously named 90 Mile Beach (actually 88km long) is a great place to start your surfing adventures. It has no shortage of peaks and plenty of space to share (as you’d expect) all year round. Absolutely fine for all levels of surfers.

Castle Point

Castle Point is quite literally a beach break, where the swell nips in through an inlet to break on the sandy beach. The beach itself has a tight curve creating a perfect A-frame, with some long walls and it can (with some crossed-fingers) barrel. What’s great about this little spot is that it’s protected and sheltered from the wind, so when the swell is cranking it stays nice and smooth and even. This break is good for all levels of skill. What’s more, it’s stunningly beautiful out here. If you come with mates who don’t surf then get them to head up to the exposed reef and go for a fish; the seafood pickings are good here.

Shipwreck Bay – Ahipara

The northern town of Ahipara is a place that makes an art out of keeping the blood-pressure down. Located at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach and about 14kms west of Kaitaia, this tucked-away gem has one of the best left-handers in the world. In particular, Shipwreck Bay should be a definite stop-off for those travelling with a board-bag. On a good day this spot will blow a surfer’s mind, and on a day when the waves are proving less than amenable, it’s a good place to sling a line out and try to catch your dinner.

To get on a board on a calm day, you can always try dune-boarding down the massive sand dunes. And, after a hard day of shredding there is also one of Northland’s award-winning wineries only a stone’s throw away.

We’re hoping the name doesn’t put you off because Shipwreck Bay is definitely one of the must-visit surfing spots in New Zealand. Famously featured in the 1966 film ‘Endless Summer’, Shipwreck Bay is said to have one of the best left hand breaks in the world. Can get a little busy but is definitely worth making an effort for.

Te Aria – Auckland

Just on the border of the Auckland/Northland region, you’ll find Te Arai, a lovely little spot on the East Coast of the North Island. This comparatively quiet beach offers left and right handers and reliably consistent surf. If you’re wanting to avoid the crowds, this is the one for you!

Fiordland / The Catlins

Realistically, surfing in this part of the world isn’t something that everyone will have the time or dedication to do. Not because of the conditions necessarily, but because reaching some of the descent spots is quite a mission. You’re really on the southern edge of the world down here. The weather and waves are raw. It’s wild. It’s the sort of place that you shouldn’t even think about getting into the water if you aren’t confident in your ability or the gear you have, because it can unforgiving.

That being said, if you’re willing to catch a helicopter or walk for four days, you can find a cornucopia of brilliant six-footers on a good day. The best part? The fact that you’ll most likely only be sharing the surf with the sea-lions and other wildlife. It’s like surfing in a David Attenborough documentary down here. The scenery is something that’ll stick in your mind forever.

Piha – Auckland

This beach break is held in high regard by New Zealanders, and deserves its reputation as one of the most consistently good breaks in the country. It’s only twenty minutes from central Auckland to Piha Beach, which makes it nice and convenient. On the flip side, it is also notoriously busy, so make sure you know the rules. This is a great place to start your NZ surf journey, as it is suitable for all abilities.

One of the most iconic surf beaches in New Zealand is undoubtedly Piha, the wild and rugged black sand beach on the west coast of Auckland. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s also probably the most popular surfing destination from the City of Sails. The legendary right hander is fairly extreme and a challenge for even the most experienced so make sure you’re definitely up for it!

Muriwai – Auckland

Another great option west of Auckland is Muriwai, a long black sand beach that provides plenty of left and right handers. The beach is one of the more popular in Auckland, partly due to the resident gannet colony that attracts a good number of visitors. There are a few rips to keep an eye out for (especially if you’re a beginner) but it always makes for a good day out for all.

Whangapoua Bay – Great Barrier Island

On the eastern side of Great Barrier Island, 100km off the coast of Auckland, you’ll find Whangapoua Bay, a hidden gem hiding some great surf. The Pacific swells that hit the beach can get up to 2m which make a great sight combined with the white sandy beach. A nice 3-4 hour ferry ride from Auckland will get you there.

Hot Water Beach – Coromandel

Hot Water Beach is famous for the hot springs that lie underneath (which people can enjoy by digging themselves into the sand) but it’s also a great place to take the board. There are some great hollow barrels to take advantage of but it is a popular spot so you’ll need to keep an eye out for the swimmers.

Manu Bay – Raglan

Raglan is famous in New Zealand for many reasons.

What Raglan is a surfing mecca for surfing New Zealand. Manu Bay in Raglan has one of the most consistent and longest left-hand breaks in the world. If you’ve got the skills, you can catch one of these lefties and ride for up to two kilometres.

Manu Bay is only a few kilometres from the surfing town of Raglan and is one of the more internationally renowned surfing spots in New Zealand. This is partly because it featured in the 1966 movie ‘Endless Summer’. It also has one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world with surfers able to cruise for up to 2 kms! There are also plenty of other great activities in Raglan as well including many surfing schools.

Surf Highway 45 – Taranaki

Taranaki has excellent surf breaks of all typres. You could spend a memorable week cruising down Surf Highway 45 and stopping off at any spots that take your fancy. Just keep an eye on the surf report for the area. Three of the most popular areas for surfing New Zealand here are Ahu Ahu, Kumera Patch and Graveyards.

Surf Highway 45 is a stretch of 100km of coastline in the Taranaki region that is nothing short of a surfer’s paradise. There are a number of great surfing spots to weigh up with the most popular being Fitzroy Beach with left and right handers and Stent Road with its awesome point breaks.

Lyall Bay – Wellington

The country’s capital offers a great surf spot just minutes from the city center. Lyall Bay benefits from some the southern swells. It was also a filming location used for Peter Jackson’s epic King Kong movie which gives you another great reason to visit.

Mangamauna – Kaikoura

Kekerengu, Blue Duck, Iron Gate, Oaro, Okiwi Bay, Meatworks and many more. Kaikoura is full of surfing spots where you can easily spend hours surfing. Surfing here will reward you with some medium sized left and right handers.

Head over to Mangamaunu for a great point breack. It’s a boulder beach, and is prone to suck you out if you’re unaware when the surf is bigger. This is a great break for more advanced surfers, with a wave that can potentially break for several hundred meters. It can offer a memorable ride.

About 15 mins drive north of Kaikoura you’ll find Mangamaunu, one of the top surfing beaches that attracts surfers from all over the South Island. Its right hander is sought after. Known as the “Malibu of New Zealand” it’s a great one for intermediate and experienced surfers.

St. Clair Beach – Dunedin

It’s fair to say that Dunedin isn’t the first place you’d think of as a surfing destination but St Clair Beach gives you definite food for thought. It’s a great beach that delivers a good consistent surf break all year round. Less than 10 minutes drive from the centre of town it’s a convenient spot too with board hire available as well.

Whiterock

White Rock’s failing is its inconsistency. However, when the going is good then this is a great place for those in the Wairarapa who want to catch some big, challenging waves. It pays to be careful of where you are in relation to the rocks, as the waves typically have a steep drop to them, and a powerful wall.

Colac Bay – Southland

One of the southernmost surfing New Zealand spots is Colac Bay. A 45 minutes drive from Invercargill. It’s another reliable option in the Deep South with consistent waves for surfers of all abilities. It does get a little chilly here so make sure pack a decent wetsuit!

That's it! Our collection of the areas for surfing New Zealand. There are surf breaks all around New Zealand for many different surfing abilities.

Book Your Surf Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book your flight
Find a cheap flight by using Google Flights. They are our favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you're getting the best flight.

Book your surf hotel or surf accommodation
You can book a really unique and local place with AirBnB anywhere in the world. We used it recently in Sri Lanka to book a place withing a 3 minute walk to a surf break. If you want to stay somewhere other than an AirBnB, use Booking.com, as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, surf gear theft, and cancellations. Basically, you get protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a surf trip without it. We’ve been using World Nomads for close to ten years now.

Protect your personal data
When you travel, you're constantly logging into public Wi-Fi. VPNs are designed to protect all of your Internet traffic. This includes email, streaming music and video, voice calls, and anything else you can think of. We use ExpressVPN when we're on a surf trip.

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all those I use — and they’ll save you time and money too!