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Surfing in New Zealand

New Zealand surf spot map boasts 28 marks on the North Island and 10 locations on the South Island

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New Zealand awe-inspiring waves provide great surfing opportunities. Most of the 38 wild surfing spots are located on the North Island. They are found mainly in Gisborne, Wellington, Tanaraki and Bay of Plenty.

Raglan is perhaps the most famous location on North Island due to its consistent waves and good conditions that suit novice and advanced surfers. Beginners can start at Ngaranui Beach, while the pros surf at Manu Bay or Whale Bay. Piha beaches in the Waitakere Ranges is another popular spot that attracts visitors not just with its black sand beaches, but also with potent beach breaks. Piha beaches are not suitable for beginner surfers.

The South Island also has something to delight the surfers. Its 10 surfing spots are placed along the east coast, and the best of them belong to Christchurch and Dunedin in Otago.

Surfing in New Zealand is possible year-round. However, needless to say, that winter cold can spoil one's surfing experience, especially in the South Island, where winters tend to be severer. Thus,​ it is advisable to go into surfing during the warm season between September and April.

Practical info

Where are the best surfing spots in New Zealand?

Gisborne, Wellington, Taranaki, and Bay of Plenty are among the top surfing spots on North Island, with Raglan being the most well-known location due to its beach breaks and consistent waves. The southern coast of Christchurch and Dunedin in Otago boasts some of the best surfing spots in South Island. The ten surfing spots along the South Island's east coast are popular, but beginners should exercise caution. Show more

When is the best time to go surfing in New Zealand?

New Zealand offers year-round surfing opportunities, although the warmer months, from September until April, are the best. Cold, stormy weather during the winter season, particularly on South Island, can make surfing less appealing. Inexperienced surfers should avoid winter surfing due to the weather's potential effects on surfing conditions. Show more

What is the most famous surfing location on North Island?

Waikato's Raglan is the most popular surfing location on North Island. It has left-handers at Manu Bay and Whale Bay, which are dependable and suitable for experienced surfers. Ngaranui Beach has calmer waves and is ideal for beginners. Raglan is appealing due to its picturesque location, reliable waves, and conditions useful for surfers of all skill levels. Show more

Which surfing spots are not suitable for beginner surfers?

Novice surfers in New Zealand should avoid Piha Beaches at Waitakere Ranges due to their strong beach breaks and black sand. Other surfing spots are less intense and perfect for beginners, such as Ngaranui Beach in Raglan. Advanced surfers may prefer Manu Bay and Whale Bay, also located in Raglan. It is advisable to research surfing spots before visiting and to stick to safe locations. Show more

Is surfing available year-round in New Zealand or does it depend on the season?

Surfing in New Zealand is possible year-round, with some seasonal variations. The warmer months between September and April provide the most favorable conditions in which to surf. Inexperienced surfers should avoid the winter season, which is cold and stormy, leading to less-than-ideal surfing conditions. Weather alerts should be monitored when venturing onto the water, and caution and adherence to safe practices are essential at all times. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin