On this page we would like to introduce New Zealand, our beautiful playground. We hope this will answer a few questions you might have about your travel here.

We will tell you about the countries geography, also everything you need to know about the weather and climate. You can also get travelling tips about   accommodation and how to get around. Furthermore we tell you what to look out for and anything else to consider.

If we miss anything, or you want to know more, contact us now.

Geography:

New Zealand is located in the South Pacific and consists of 2 main islands, the North Island and the South Island.​

Stretching over 1600km from North to South, and is only 400km wide at its widest point.  About 16,000km of coastline offer plenty of spots for everybody!

Being situated in the southern hemisphere, its summer months are December to April. This makes it an ideal winter escape destination for everyone from the Northern hemisphere.

New Zealand straddles the Pacific and Indo-Australian plates, making for a varied and at times dynamic topography.  Mountainous in the south, and volcanic in the north.  Fabulous for hot springs and thermal pools in certain localities.

Northland has got both Tasman and Pacific coastline which exposes it to nearly any swell and wind direction. The two coastlines have got a very different character:

On the Westcoast you find long straight sandy beaches and several large inlets. The coast is very exposed with often strong currents (especially near the inlets). You can find empty surfbreaks if you go explore. For wavesailing, it is not ideal as the wind is often either onshore or offshore and some of the breaks can be a fair bit out. Do not underestimate this coastline, it can be pretty remote. You can windsurf or SUP in the inlets, be aware of the tide (you might run out of water) and the tidal currents.

On the Eastcoast beautiful sandy bay follows beautiful sandy bay, and except for the summer holidays, none of them is very busy. It’s the ideal place to explore with your SUP or catch a wave on one of the countless breaks. For windsurfers there are several larger bays (like Rangiputa) that offer beautiful freeriding in crystal clear water. If the stars align, you might even get a wave sail in J

There are also several harbours and small islands that scream to be explored with your SUP.

Best time to travel: All year round

Other things to do:
Kauri forest
Dargaville Kauri museum
Cape Reinga
Whangarei Heads walk
90 mile beach – caution though don’t take your rental car here…

It takes a bit of getting used to the idea that the West has got completely different tides to the East coast (being a different ocean).
The long straight beaches on the Westcoast with their characteristic black magnetic sand offer good surf (can get busy), the Hauraki Gulf on the East side has plenty of small islands sheltering the city from most swell.

Due to its harbours and lots of different bays Auckland offers plenty of good sheltered flat water windsurfing spots. Regardless what wind direction or tide, there is always a place to go sailing and you normally will have company. All the different inlets offer themselves to explore by SUP or paddle along the waterfront and enjoy the skyline. Be aware, especially the harbours are very tidal, at low tide you might run out of water!

Not much wavesailing in Auckland, the west coast is gnarly with lots of current, Orewa in the East offers some onshore sailing in Easterly winds.

Best time to travel: All year round

Other things to do:
Explore Rangitoto, Auckland’s youngest volcano in the Hauraki Gulf (Auckland Seakayak offers sunset trips)
Have Fish & Chips on top of Mount Eden

The West Coast offers some stunning black sand beaches and world famous reef breaks.  The East Coast with the Coromandel peninsula has mainly white sandy beaches, lots of coves and also offers plenty of good surf. The center of the North Island is dominated by volcanoes and lakes and is a very active thermal area. 

The Coromandel Peninsula is exposed to swell from the East and North East and offers fantastic surf. With its countless bays, steep cliffs and small scattered islands it is also a paradise for SUP paddlers who want to explore the coastline . There are places to windsurf too, though most of the time you will be by yourself and the stars need to align to get really good conditions (same as in Northland).

Raglan on the Westcoast is famous for its left point break and is the first stop for many overseas surfer. It can be very crowded – please respect the rules and the locals! If you want to SUP surf or Windsurf, go either further out in the bay or to the beach breaks to avoid tensions. For windsurfing, you can also sail in the rivermouth, which is very popular with kiters. Here a strong tidal current runs against the wind (predominantly outgoing tide with westerly wind) and you can go on a reach without ending further downwind. Be careful, if the wind dies or if you break something, you are quickly on your way out to sea. 

Raglan harbour is a fantastic place to explore by SUP. The township itself has plenty of flair and good places to eat and hang out.

Lake Taupo in the central North Island is the caldera of a super volcano and the largest lake by surface in New Zealand.

Best time to travel: All year round for the coastal areas, October – May for Lake Taupo

Other things to do:
Check out the Bridal Veils falls in Raglan
Beautiful landscape in Coromandel
Soak in one of many natural hot springs or spas
Explore Tongariro National Park

Tauranga, located at the entrance to a natural harbour, is a thrieving commercial center with a passion for good food. It offers both wave and flatwater spots.  The coast is very popular with surfers and SUP surfers and can get busy in summer. There are plenty of safe options for flat water in the harbour if you are not into waves. Though be aware of the tides!

Further East along the coast you will possibly be by yourself if you go windsurfing – go and find that perfect spot!

Inland is dominated by thermal activity, a rich Maori history and plenty of lakes that invite to be explored. Rotorua – or Rotovegas as the locals call it – is the hub of adventure activity in the North Island. Take the kayak or Stand up Paddleboard to hot springs and camp spots only accessible by boat. And if you don’t feel like watersports, go mountainbiking in the famous Redwoods.

Best time to travel: 

The best time for wind and waves is spring (September – December).  February / March the weather is generally more settled. Waves are still around, with windless mornings and breezy afternoons.

Other things to do:

  • Tree walk
  • Walk up Mount Maunganui and enjoy the views
  • Go mountainbiking in Rotorua
    Soak in one of the natural hot springs

Gisborne and the East Cape is the first part of New Zealand mainland to see the sun rise. It is sparsely inhabited and isolated.  Three-quarters of the population lives in the city of Gisborne.

It is a swell magnet for all easterly swells and a paradise for surfing with it’s countless small bays. 

A 270 degree peninsula catches nearly any swell that comes up the Tasman Sea. Be assured, you will find some spot where the wind and waves align the way you want them. Mount Taranaki as the dominant feature acts like a vortex and accelerates the wind. In summer seabreezes often make a pleasant afternoon sailing after a glassy surf in the morning.

Famous spots like Stent Road or Kumara patch (for surfing) or Pungarehu (for windsurfing) are all along the surf highway.

Be warned though, there are nearly no sandy beaches or flatwater freeride spots. It’s all rocky with excellent point breaks. You might want to wear booties on some of the spots.

Best time to travel: October – May

Other things to do:

  • Explore Mount Taranaki

The Region of Hawkes Bay is well known for its wineries and beautiful sandy beaches. It is a very rural area with Napier and Hastings as the main urban centers. Being situated on the East Coast, it is exposed to winds and waves from the East. You can find spots in westerly winds, but the wind tends to be gusty.
Hawkes Bay itself is a half circular bay between Mahia and Cape Kidnappers. Those 2 capes are protecting the bay which gives it a very different character from the coast. When it is rough at the coastal beaches, it can be really good and sheltered in the bay. It is also a fantastic place for foiling (either wind or kite) with light winds and deep water right off the beaches.

For wavesailing, Mahia offers the best spots as it’s got both North and South facing beaches. But south of Cape kidnappers are also plenty of spots to be explored, you only need the right conditions! All coastal beaches have the potential for excellent surf in easterly swells. 

Westerly winds keep the sea usually flat. As long as you keep close to the coast, you are in the wind shadow of the hills when you are exploring with your SUP.

Best time to travel: November to end of March

Other things to do:

Go camping at Lake Tutira
Soak in the hot springs in Morere

More info tocome

More info to come

Not much wind and wave here, but brilliant to explore the Marlborough Sounds by SUP or kayak. Be aware, there can be swift tidal rips around the islands and through the channels!

The Nelson / Tasman area is pretty sheltered from any major winds and waves. In rare occasions, you can get a small wave on some spots, but more often than not, it is flat. Hence it is a fantastic place for freeriding or taking the kayak or SUP out. Able Tasman National Park is famous for it’s golden sandy beaches, and Golden Bay has it’s name for a reason. 

Best time to travel: All year round

Other things to do:

  • Go hiking in Kahurangi National Park or Abel Tasman
  • Go canyoning
  • Don’t miss an evening at the Mussel Inn!

On the coast you can find world class waves, especially around Kaikoura, and good wave sailing around Christchurch. Strong Easterlies can blow in summer.

Inland is dominated by the Southern Alps and New Zealands highest mountain, Mount Cook. The scenery is stunning and countless lakes and waterways are dotted throughout the magnificent landscape. In summer, the thermal winds can get very strong and there is excellent freeriding, freestyling and speed sailing on many of those lakes. Be aware, the water is often glacier fed and cold on the lakes, even in the middle of summer.

Best travel time: All year round on the coast (though it gets cold, you need a good wetsuit), October – March for the inland lakes.

Other things to do:

Check out Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki
Soak in the Hot Pools in Hamner Springs

You still can find good surfing spots on the Westcoast. There is nearly always swell. Hence it is less than ideal for any flatwater activity. 

When it comes to windsurfing, it is uncharted terrain. Due to the nature of the coastline, it is dominated by big swell and onshore winds. But those who search will find.

To sum it up: It’s a stunning place to travel. If you find the opportunity to windsurf, take it, but see it as a bonus.

Otagos coastline is well known for an abundance of wildlife. You often spot seals, sea lions and penguins right from the beach. The Otago Peninsula hosts the worlds only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatrosses.

Dunedin has a vibrant surfing culture with fantastic breaks within easy reach. The sheltered beaches of the Otago harbour are stunning to be explored by kayak or Stand up Paddleboard, or take your windsurfing board and go for a blast. 

The inland lakes have breathtaking mountain backdrops. You can explore them with your SUP. Be aware, the water temperature is around 10-11 degrees Celsius all year round – dress appropriately! For windsurfing you find the best conditions on Lake Wakatipu. It works with the normal Northwesterlies as well as the thermals from the South. There are different spots to launch from, depending on the wind direction and how flat / how much wave you want.

Best time to travel: For water sports from late September to March, in winter go skiing!

Other things to do:

Royal Albatross Center on the Otago Peninsula

More info to come

Weather and Climate:

The weather in New Zealand can be described as a maritime climate which is influenced by the surrounding seas thus can change very quickly. The climate varies widely between the North and the South Island. 

There are plenty of websites to provide you with a good forecast for wind, waves, tides and the general weather. 

Apart from internationally known websites like www.windguru.cz (our goto wind forecast) and www.predictwind.com we mainly use the following pages:

Swellmap Swell maps for NZ

Windsurf.co.nz webcams on several beaches around Auckland

Surf2surf webcams nationwide

Metservice New Zealand’s official weather website

Metservice – Tide information

Metvuw Victoria University Weather forecast

NIWA – Weather forecast

NIWA – UVI forecast

NIWA – New Zealand climate overview

The northern half of the North Island has got a fairly mild climate and even in the middle of winter you will be cosy in a 4/3. In summer there can be days up North when boardshorts are enough and other days when you want to wear a 3/2. The further you go south, the colder it gets. Wellington to Christchurch normally requires some sort of steamer, in summer a 3/2, in winter a 4/3. For those who feel the cold more, maybe even with booties.

Further south than Christchurch, it’s getting seriously cold in winter. Summers are ok, but you want a 4/3 most of the time, in winter a 5/3 or 5/4 with hood and booties.

The inland lakes in the South Island can be a bracing surprise as many of the lakes are glacier fed. The air gets reasonable warm, but the water temperature reaches barely over 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) in the height of summer. Be prepared to wear a warm wetsuit, in winter you may prefer skiing or snowboarding!

Accommodation:

There are plenty of opportunities for accommodation anywhere in New Zealand. It is easy, and with a little research traveling New Zealand is hugely rewarding.

For more information, visit:

Freedom Camping New Zealand

Department of Conservation – Places to Stay

Those who prefer a solid roof over their heads can stay in hotels and motels (mainly in cities and towns).  Hostels can be found anywhere, and often Eco hostels are in really cool out of the way locations. AirBnB, Book a Bach and renting Holiday Homes are also very popular in New Zealand.  You can expect to find accommodation with locals nearly anywhere in the country.

Another fantastic and very popular way to explore the country is by campervan. As Kiwis love their camping, you will find campgrounds everywhere. With a self-contained van you are even allowed to stay a night in many beautiful places as a freedom camper.

Getting around:

NZ roads are often narrow and windy. Please factor this into your travel times and take your time.

A rental car or campervan is possibly the most practical way of getting around as a windsurfer, as there is little chance of renting windsurfing gear anywhere other than in Auckland. We can supply soft roof racks which fit on nearly any car so you can transport your gear easily.

Safety:

New Zealand can be considered a very safe country for travelling and watersports.

Other than the normal hazards that come with the sport (such as rips or changing weather), there are not many known shark attacks or any other nasty creatures in the water. There are no snakes in New Zealand and spider bites are very rare (often more of a myth then reality).

Be careful in the sun, even if it is cloudy, we have very intense UV and you will burn unprotected.  We recommend you apply SPF30+ waterproof sunscreen summer or winter, sunny or cloudy.

Other things to consider:

New Zealand is a remote island nation with unique bio-diversity. Hence it is very particular with biosecurity to protect its native species and primary industries.

There are very strict rules what you are allowed to bring into the country. All camping and outdoor equipment needs to be meticulously clean. To avoid unnecessary delays and trouble at immigration, please make sure all of your equipment is free of sand, grass and seeds from your last destination. Or even better, rent from us!