Northland is New Zealand’s narrowest region, which is fantastic news for surfers. If the waves aren’t pumping on one side, you can quickly swap coasts to find some action.
Learn to surf
If you don’t surf, but want to, you’ve come to the right part of NZ. There are surfing schools operating at several key beaches, so learn while you sample the best breaks on both coasts.
Northland’s beautiful east coast is famous for white sand beaches, sweeping bays and clean, well-formed waves. There are more than 60 surfing spots to discover, so boredom is out of the question.
Travelling south to north, here are some highlights:
- Mangawhai Heads interesting left-hand break peeling across the river bar.
- Pakiri Beach has a good beach break that performs well around high tide. You can snorkel at nearby Goat Island, a marine reserve.
- The Whananaki Bar is a regional classic – a left hand sand bar break that’s fast and fun.
- Sandy Bay on the Tutukaka Coast is a popular location for surf competitions.
- Beyond the Bay of Islands, Matauri Bay gets a five star rating from the locals.
- Tauranga Bay is best in a southerly wind and has both lefts and rights.
- Fabulous Taupo Bay has a sheltered beach break that’s wonderfully reliable.
- In the very far north, Spirits Bay and Tapotupotu Bay have great beach breaks.
The energetic Tasman Sea conjures up freight train sets that pound against the west coast beaches. You’ll find excellent breaks from Ninety Mile Beach to Ripiro Beach in the south.
Here are some highlights from Ninety Mile Beach:
- Scott Point, near the tip of the North Island, has challenging beach and point breaks.
- Half way up the Ninety Mile Beach is a prominent reef called The Bluff, which has exciting beach breaks on both sides.
- When the ‘Old Man’ southerly is pushing up the waves, the place to be is Shipwreck Bay.