Tag - NZ

Surfing New Zealand: A Wave Lover’s Guide

surfer taking a barrel wave in New Zealand

Guest post by Harper Reid

New Zealand has a thriving surf culture. The country’s diverse range of beautiful beaches attracts both tourists and locals who travel around the country in search of pumping waves. You never have to travel very far to spot a great surf beach in New Zealand.

new zealand surfer sitting on surfboard waiting for a wave

Photo credits: Tim Marshall

There are plenty of amazing places to surf in both the North Island and the South Island, which are suitable for varying levels of experience. Here are a few of the best surfing beaches you’ll find in New Zealand.

Muriwai Beach

Muriwai show with surfing waves and island in horizonPhoto credits: Tim Marshall

Muriwai is a hugely popular surf spot in Auckland, especially in the summer months. The rugged coastline stretches a total of 60 kilometres, offering an abundance of peaks for surfers. On days of huge swell, Muriwai is best left to more experienced surfers. The location is also well known for its gannet colony, which is worth the trip in itself.

Kahutara Beach

sunset surfing in new zealands Kahutara beach

Photo credits: Coastal Sports

Located just outside of Kaikoura in the South Island, Kahutara is a point break that produces great surf in most seasons except for summer. As the Hikurangi Trench is situated not too far offshore from the coast, the swells come straight out of the deep water, often producing hollow waves.

Colac Bay

Colac Bay of New Zealand

Photo credits: LAWA

Colac Bay is situated in the southern region of the South Island. The exposed beach break has perfect surf conditions almost all year round, but it’s best surfed with a northeasterly wind. The surf here is suitable for all abilities.

St Clair Beach

St Clair beach Dunedin New Zealand

Photo credits: Mattinbgn

St Clair beach is one of the most popular beaches in the South Island. It has good-quality beach breaks and frequently produces hollow waves. It’s also home to a great surf school. The best part is, it’s situated in the convenient location of Dunedin. If you’re in the South Island for a surf holiday, the best option is to hire a rental car upon your arrival at Queenstown airport.


Surfer riding wave at Piha New Zealand

Photo credits: Tim Marshall

Piha has built a reputation as one of the best surf beaches in New Zealand. It’s not far from central Auckland, so it’s nice and easy to get to. This black sand beach has consistently powerful breaks, making it a must for experienced surfers. As the rips can be pretty strong, beginners are usually advised to go out with an instructor.

Manu Bay

Surfers at Manu bay in New Zealand

Manu Bay in Raglan has become a world-famous surfing area. It first gained international attention after being featured in the 1966 movie, “Endless Summer.” You’ll find some of the most consistent and most accessible left-hand breaks here. Perfect waves allow for some of the longest cruises you’ll ever experience, and are also a great environment to learn and train under expert guidance if you’ve never surfed before. Apart from surfing, Raglan also offers opportunities for kayaking, hiking, and caving – making it the perfect place for an extended holiday.

Te Arai Point

Te Arai beach in New Zealand

Photo credits: Visit Wellsford

Te Arai Point is one of Auckland’s most beautiful beaches. Thanks to its consistent waves, the Point is a popular surf spot amongst locals. Along the beach, there are various peaks to choose from with both right and left-handers. This long stretch of beach is usually much less crowded than its neighbouring beaches like Pakiri and Mangawhai, so you can enjoy a peaceful surfing experience here.

Shipwreck Bay

Shipwreck Bay surfing spot in New Zealand's Ahipara

Photo credits: Pablo Garbarino

Shipwreck Bay is well known amongst NZ surfers for its long rides. You can almost guarantee excellent surf here on any given day. But on a really good day, you can sometimes enjoy a ride for as long as 3 minutes. Shipwreck Bay is located near the northern town of Ahipara, where there are a couple of great camping grounds, and some small B&Bs and budget lodges.

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The only thing Harper loves more than travel adventures is writing about them. In the past, she has collaborated with travel and hospitality sites such as Tanoa Dateline.

Discover more of Harper’s work on Tumblr.

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Want to check out more surfing destinations? How about our Ghana beach guide presenting you with Ghana’s best surfing beaches. Stay tuned for more surfing guides.

Cover photo credits: Jeremy Bishop