Where to Surf on the North Island
With New Zealand being two relatively small islands, you are not too far from stretching coastlines to spot a surf. Whether you want to learn in a well-known surf beach such as Raglan or be a kamikaze surfer seeking seclusion and powerful waves, there are waves for everyone. Surfing is a must-do activity while travelling in the North Island and is certainly a favourite Kiwi pastime. With that, there are plenty of places to surf on the North Island.
Don’t know where to start to begin to find pumping waves? Let the list below be a starting point for greatness!
Don’t forget to check out the list for some awesome South Island surf spots too!
This tiny town is the home to New Zealand’s most famous surf spot thanks to its consistent conditions. The waves here are ideal for beginners to advanced. Ngaranui Beach is a safe place to start off, but Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Indicators will definitely test you! For more things to do in Raglan, see 10 Must-Dos in Raglan.
Piha is in the wild Auckland district of the Waitakere Ranges. It’s a black sand beach with powerful beach breaks, so is a must for experienced surfers. Beginners are advised to go out with an instructor, such as the Piha Surf Academy, as the rips are pretty strong. For more surf breaks in the Waitakere Ranges, check out Waitakere Ranges – Guide for Backpackers.
3. Shipwreck Bay
Not only does this beach have an awesome name that evokes images of pirates and buried treasure, but you will practically sail the sea on the long rides this beach offers on a good swell. Shipwreck bay is near Ahipara in the Northland region. Check out Northland – Guide for Backpackers for more information.
Located on Great Barrier Island, Whangapoua has beach breaks and river mouth breaks. It’s an awesome place to find uncrowded beaches in the Auckland region… Mainly because Great Barrier Island is, well, an island. For more info, check out Great Barrier Island – Guide for Backpackers.
5. White Rock
In the Wellington and Wairarapa region, White Rock is a little challenging to get to but worth the trip for the big’ waves this area is known for. Check the surf report before you go though, as the area has inconsistent waves.
6. Fitzroy Beach
A mid-city surf beach with awesome views of Mt Taranaki, Fitzroy Beach is close to all the conveniences of New Plymouth. Plus, it is part of the Taranaki Surf Highway 45, which you can follow to find a ton of places to surf!
7. The Bluff
At the southern end of 90 Mile Beach, The Bluff is a rocky and sandy outcrop uncharacteristic of the otherwise perfectly straight 90 Mile Beach. Surfing can be done around the sandy and rocky point, which provides some safer surfing than what you would experience if you hit the rough west coast waves elsewhere on 90 Mile Beach.
Directions: Travel north on State Highway 1 from Kaitaia. When you almost get to Te Kao, turn left onto Taylors Road, continue onto No 3 Arterial Road, turn right onto Forestry Road then turn left onto Oromanga Road and to the beach. We wouldn’t recommend driving along 90 Mile Beach.
This is a hugely popular Auckland surf spot, especially in summer. There is a surf school and board hire nearby. On huge swell days, Muriwai is best left to the experienced. The location also has a nearby gannet colony well worth checking out. Plus, as you can see from the picture below, it’s great for atmospheric sunsets.
Directions: From Auckland city, take the North Western Motorway (State Highway 16) through Kumeu. At Waimauku turn left onto Muriwai Road. Follow the signs from there!
9. Te Arai Point
Another Auckland delight, this time on the east coast. Te Arai is a spot more known among locals. It is one of the best east coast Auckland surf beaches, so is well worth a visit. Check out this Te Arai surf school for lessons.
Directions: From Auckland City, take the Auckland Northern Motorway (State Highway 1) over the Harbour Bridge and continue all the way to Warkworth. Before you get to Wellsford turn right onto Wayby Valley Road, then right onto Whangaripo Valley Road, then first left onto Waiteitei Road. Turn right onto Mangawhai Road then turn right onto Te Arai Point Road to the beach.
More About surfing in New Zealand
The surf continues down the South Island. Check out our: